Patch Poll: Is Violent Weather Linked to Global Warming?

We are enjoying great warm weather, but tornado season has started.

What a wonderful weekend it was, weather-wise. Temperatures were in the 80s, and it is not yet spring. What kind of weather is in store? Apparently warm weather and tornadoes. 

AccuWeather.com reports an active severe weather season is anticipated in the U.S. for spring with the most widespread warmth since 2004.

"As far as the forecast for the spring of 2012, we do feel like it's going to be a mild spring for most of the nation from the eastern Rockies into the Ohio Valley and Great Lakes area," Paul Pastelok, expert long-range meteorologist and leader of the AccuWeather.com Long-Range Forecasting Team, said. "At least two-thirds of the nation could wind up with above-normal temperatures."

An above-normal number of tornadoes are forecast for this season with water temperatures in the Gulf of Mexico running above normal for this time of year. The active severe weather season follows a deadly year with a near-record number of tornadoes in 2011.

Typically, 1,300 tornadoes strike the U.S. a year. There were nearly 1,700 tornadoes in 2011, falling short of the record 1,817 tornadoes set in 2004. Illinois already suffered a devastating tornado March 1 in Harrisburg.

"Areas that seemed to miss out on frequent severe weather last year may see an uptick this year," AccuWeather.com Expert Senior Meteorologist Dan Kottlowski said.

January was an unusually violent month for tornadoes in the country: 70 twisters have been reported. And more could be on the way.

This January is the third-highest in January since accurate tornado records began in 1950, Greg Carbin, warning coordination meteorologist with the Storm Prediction Center in Norman, OK, told USAToday. Since 1950, only January 1999 (with 212) and January 2008 (with 84) saw more tornadoes.

The pattern that led to the stormy January is forecast to continue, which could cause another savage storm season this spring. The climate pattern, called La Niña, tends to produce large tornado outbreaks from January to April across the USA. La Niña refers to cooler-than-average tropical Pacific Ocean water that affects weather and climate around the world. La Niña is forecast to continue into the spring, according to the Climate Prediction Center.

"The spring [temperatures] will start out well above normal through the Great Lakes but may head into a back-and-forth pattern for April and early May, more of a typical spring," Pastelok said. "Snow chances will be limited through March with a small chance for a couple of events in April."

Overall, despite some cool periods and chances of snow, most of the Great Lakes will end up with above-normal temperatures this spring. Chicago and Milwaukee will have above-normal temperatures and near-normal precipitation.

Kurt Dorr March 19, 2012 at 10:03 PM
If elected officials feel compelled to "do something" about climate, we recommend supporting the excellent scientists who are increasing our understanding of climate with well-designed instruments on satellites, in the oceans and on land, and in the analysis of observational data. The better we understand climate, the better we can cope with its ever-changing nature, which has complicated human life throughout history. However, much of the huge private and government investment in climate is badly in need of critical review. Every candidate should support rational measures to protect and improve our environment, but it makes no sense at all to back expensive programs that divert resources from real needs and are based on alarming but untenable claims of "incontrovertible" evidence.
Kurt Dorr March 19, 2012 at 10:04 PM
Claude Allegre, former director of the Institute for the Study of the Earth, University of Paris; J. Scott Armstrong, cofounder of the Journal of Forecasting and the International Journal of Forecasting; Jan Breslow, head of the Laboratory of Biochemical Genetics and Metabolism, Rockefeller University; Roger Cohen, fellow, American Physical Society; Edward David, member, National Academy of Engineering and National Academy of Sciences; William Happer, professor of physics, Princeton; Michael Kelly, professor of technology, University of Cambridge, U.K.; William Kininmonth, former head of climate research at the Australian Bureau of Meteorology; Richard Lindzen, professor of atmospheric sciences, MIT; James McGrath, professor of chemistry, Virginia Technical University; Rodney Nichols, former president and CEO of the New York Academy of Sciences; Burt Rutan, aerospace engineer, designer of Voyager and SpaceShipOne; Harrison H. Schmitt, Apollo 17 astronaut and former U.S. senator; Nir Shaviv, professor of astrophysics, Hebrew University, Jerusalem; Henk Tennekes, former director, Royal Dutch Meteorological Service; Antonio Zichichi, president of the World Federation of Scientists, Geneva.
Kurt Dorr March 19, 2012 at 10:04 PM
I had to break the article above up into smaller bites in order to post it.
Billy Gallagher March 19, 2012 at 10:29 PM
For a scientist, Mike, you really are exposing your self in a bad way. You totally missed my point in that there is not ONE religion in the world, therefore only a consensus within each group of believers in a particular 'kind' of religion. There is no 'fact' that proves one religion is 'better' or more accurate than another. Same when it comes to global warming/climate change/whatever term you science deniers are using these days. Your policies are policies of economic self destruction and when we had $$ to waste on this kind of wild goose chase, well, that was one thing, but Mr. Obama has tripled our national debt in 3 or 4 years and frankly, we don't have the cash, man.
Lois Lane March 19, 2012 at 10:44 PM
Whew Kurt, thanks for clearing that up, for a moment I thought you might have amazing words per minute typing skills!
Doremus Jessup March 19, 2012 at 10:53 PM
The "Australasian Climate Research Institute" is listed on the Australian Business Register as a trading name of William Kininmonth - a known Australian climate change skeptic. [2] It is based at his private residence in Kew, Australia. It has no website, phone number or existence separate from Kininmonth. Kininmonth contributed to the IPCC's Assessment Report 4 on both Working Groups 1 and 2, his credential on the listing for WG II are as a representative of 'Australasian Climate Research'[1]
Doremus Jessup March 19, 2012 at 10:57 PM
Claude Allegre...Asbestos In 1996, Allègre opposed the removal of carcinogenic asbestos from the Jussieu university campus in Paris, describing it as harmless and dismissing concerns about it as a form of "psychosis created by leftists".[6] The campus' asbestos is deemed[by whom?] to have killed 22 people and caused serious health problems in 130 others.[7] [edit] Gravity In 1999, the Canard enchaîné, and subsequently several other media, published Allègre's claim, initially stated during a radio interview, that, if one drops a pétanque ball and a tennis ball at the same time from a tower, they will reach the ground at the same time. Allègre claimed that there was a popular misconception to the contrary, and that schoolchildren should be made to understand that two objects always fall at the same speed. The Canard responded that this was true only in a vacuum, and not in all cases as Allègre had said. The latter responded in turn, maintaining his initial statement. Georges Charpak, Nobel prize for Physics, intervened to explain that Allègre was wrong; the latter maintained his statement yet again.[6][8]
Doremus Jessup March 19, 2012 at 11:02 PM
"Jan Breslow, head of the Laboratory of Biochemical Genetics and Metabolism, Rockefeller University." Doesn't sound like a climate scientist to me.
Doremus Jessup March 19, 2012 at 11:03 PM
"Burt Rutan, aerospace engineer, designer of Voyager and SpaceShipOne" again not a climate scientist.
Doremus Jessup March 19, 2012 at 11:04 PM
James McGrath, professor of chemistry, Virginia Technical University, hmm not a climate scientist. Starting to see a pattern here.
Doremus Jessup March 19, 2012 at 11:11 PM
Henk Tennekes...This guy quotes the bible to support his scientific positions...In an interview in the Dutch paper De Telegraaf, Tennekes says he was ousted from his position at the Royal Dutch Meteorological Institute due to his skepticism over climate change. After publishing a column critical of climate model accuracy, Tennekes says he was told "within two years, you'll be out on the street".[6] According to Gerbrand Komen, a retired KNMI researcher, Tennekes' view on climate change played a minor role. More important were[7] Tennekes' personality and his solitary views on a range of subjects. As an example Komen recalls how Tennekes objected to the increase of computing power for medium-range weather forecasting, because he considered this unnecessary. According to Komen, Tennekes supported this decision by referring to biblical texts.
Paul March 19, 2012 at 11:26 PM
That was Time magazine, blowing up a story of basically a couple fringe scientists. At the time, the climate change organizations stated that the chances were that global warming was more realistic based upon greenhouse gas emissions. Thirty five years later, this is a documented scientific reality, with hardly any real dissent. Yet guys like you still point to a 1975 article in a magazine, when journals like Nature and Science have published reams of info on global warming since then.
Paul March 19, 2012 at 11:38 PM
While I have no doubt you saw a program on Acid Rain on 60 minutes in 1992, I can assure you that acid rain is a real problem and certainly was a real issue back in the 80s, before Sulfur Dioxides and Nitic Oxides were scrubbed from coal plants. The drastic decrease in these pollutants has significantly mitigated the problem. Read the report yourself. ..http://www.esrl.noaa.gov/csd/aqrs/reports/napapreport05.pdf The study of climate is pretty thorough. Maybe if 60 minutes does a program now, you'll belive in it? Because virtually ALL scientists who understand the issues do.
Paul March 19, 2012 at 11:39 PM
True. Science is based on data and provable hypotheses. The data and proof are pretty clear... THATS why there is a consensus, silly.
Paul March 19, 2012 at 11:42 PM
Is the large numbers of prominent scientists you claim to cite that deny global warming evidence that consensus matters? 'cause I've got ten scientists to every one of yours...
Paul March 19, 2012 at 11:46 PM
The real point to look at is published research. And over the last fifteen years, you know how many articles were published in major peer reviewed journals that rejected or significantly challenged the hypothesis of anthropogenic global warming? I can tell you that the answer is none. Not one. Thats about as much consensus as evolutionary theory.
Paul March 19, 2012 at 11:50 PM
Generally, TV shows dont prove anything in science. Paul Erlich was never head of a consensus - he was considered pretty wacky in scientific circles back then too. You need to understand consensus. It generally means people agree the data is valid and real, and this consensus is one that no one takes lightly - its taken forty years to build it among scientists. And yeah.. I'm a scientitst (not in climate though - but I know when to listen to experts)
Billy Gallagher March 20, 2012 at 12:11 AM
For those of you who insist on a man made ("anthropogenic" for those of you hanging out in faculty lounges musing on how evil the Western world is)...please lead by example and give up: Flying, driving, taking the train, riding a motorcycles, using a machine to cut your lawn, clear your snow, blow dry your hair (yea right), etc etc etc. We have done more to clean up the world and help mother nature in the past 25 years than ever. Why won't China and India sign on to the silly protocols that would curb their growth? Exactly. Why should we give up what we don't have. Again, I'll point to the lack of funding to chase this dream. I know that you would say that gas should be $9/gallon like Europe in order to discourage driving, but c'mon....the little guy has had to pay and pay to fund silly programs like this and frankly, we've had enough lecturing.
Paul March 20, 2012 at 01:04 AM
Yes, lectures are really complicated. Sorry for throwing that word, anthropogenic, in there. Those multisyllabic specific words really identify someone who doesnt know what they are talking about. Lets just make things simple and do whatever we want to do. Thats worked so well in the past. If you take time and brainpower to understand the issue, you'll realize that we cant afford not to do anything. In fact, we are already preparing for bad things - just ask the Armed Forces, who are factoring in global warming to their long term planning. Or cities all over the world, including Chicago, who are planning on planting less hardy tree species so in fifty to 100 years we will still have trees in the streets that can handle a warmer climate. Tell us... whats the view like with your head buried that far into the sand??
jimspice March 20, 2012 at 01:25 AM
There was never widely accepted "scientific evidence" for global cooling. Go do a bit of reading outside your comfort zone and you may realize your sources have been lying to you.
jimspice March 20, 2012 at 01:33 AM
"One of the main causes of warming is the increase of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere resulting from our burning of fossil fuels such as oil and coal and natural gas." ~Freeman Dyson (http://www.edge.org/3rd_culture/dysonf07/dysonf07_index.html)
Independence666 March 20, 2012 at 01:40 AM
Mike, those five figure scientists are likely scared to death that esposing an alternative opinion could get them ostrisized and end their career. They all know that going along with the conventional wisdom will keep them employed. There's not a whole lot of courage up there in the ivory tower.
Billy Gallagher March 20, 2012 at 02:57 AM
Less hardy trees handle a warmer climate better than hardy trees? What?? Please post some links for us chumbolones who wish to bone up on the military planning you refer to...and also, please, the City of Chicago's plans to plant other types of trees. Hey, I think the City should plan on how the won't have 50 shootings in one weekend again this year, but that's just me...i know, Paul, I know, you will say that if global warming would just go ahead and wipe us all out, we won't have to worry about 6 year old kids getting shot to death on their front porch. Let's put more of the tax dollars that we don't have into fighting the phantom of climate change vs. real life! Wow.
Ben March 20, 2012 at 04:19 AM
It's not quite true that "climate change can only be implicated in long-term trends in weather patterns." What is true is that all weather patterns are now being impacted by global climate change. No weather system is unaffected by it. What can't be said precisely is *how much* effect is due to global climate change.
Ben March 20, 2012 at 04:22 AM
I'm a little stunned at the uneducated comments here denying what scientists have known clearly for a while--and these comments are coming a metropolitan area. Maybe people just haven't looked at the science lately. A good summary is here: http://climate.nasa.gov/evidence/
Billy Gallagher March 20, 2012 at 04:56 AM
Ben, it's OK, your elitist 'metropolitan area' views are safe. I live in flyover country in rural Wisconsin. I've seen the reports that pig and cow flatulence are a threat to our climate. I think I am all for banning those gases and we should start right here and now.
Paul March 20, 2012 at 01:17 PM
Are you unaware of teh Google? Or do you just like to get spoon fed? The militarys plans are common enough - I dont need to point them out... you can find them with simple searches. Chicago is also a simple search.. http://www.popsci.com/environment/article/2011-05/preparing-climate-change-chicago-adapting-itself-warmer-weather
Billy Gallagher March 20, 2012 at 03:08 PM
OK Paul, now we know enough about you to simply stop the back and forth. You get your news and facts from Popular Science. We all remember seeing those whacy headlines at the news stands. But for those out there who may have forgotten, here are a sampling of not only headlines from Paul's favorite news source, but these are also ALL from the author of the article that Paul cites as cementing his belief that man, especially the USA, is to blame for todays and tomorrow's problems that may impact the world. Check these out: -A Smartphone That Detects Whether Its User Is Depressed -UK Report Suggests Soldiers Could One Day Plug Their Weapons Right Into Their Brains -Paint Your Roof With Working Solar Cells Made from Grass Clippings -A Massive Solar Eruption, the Strongest in 7 Years, Has Earth Bracing for a Radiation Storm ((-Ed note: This was last week, and all is still well here on Earth)) -Russian Space Authorities Determine Cause of Failed Mars Probe: America (of course!!!) -Video: Groombot Brushes Cat, Ushering in a New Era of Remote Robo-Petting -A Train to Space: All Aboard the 20,000-Mile-Per-Hour Low-Earth-Orbit Express And, Finally, a headline that makes sense: Canada Pulls Out of Kyoto Protocol, Making it the First Country to Legally Opt Out
Jim Pokin March 20, 2012 at 04:21 PM
Paul March 20, 2012 at 08:26 PM
Sorry, I got the first link that I saw. You'll note the main story was from the New York Times. I dont understand how my point... that Chicago has a long term plan to deal with climate change... is missed. I guess when you dont have any original thoughts, you have to attack the source. See, on Google. if you want to look things up, you get a list of results. Many of them will link back to a similar source. You seem a bit unfamiliar with it, so I thought I'd let you know.


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