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Posted on Fri, Mar 16, 2012 : 7:08 p.m.

Is global warming to blame for intensity of recent tornadoes?

By Cindy Heflin


The back of Wendy Martin's home shows heavy damage after a tornado hit the Huron Farms neighborhood in Dexter Thursday.

Angela Cesere |

Southeast Michigan had four tornadoes this week, including one that destroyed homes and cut a swath of destruction in the Dexter area. In the previous 51 years there have only been eight.

The tornadoes this month, combined with a near-record number of tornadoes across the country in 2011 as well as record-breaking warmth could lead some to wonder whether all these extremes are a result of global warming.

Not so fast, says “There is no strong evidence to support severe weather becoming stronger, more frequent or more widespread during the past 50 years in the United States as a result of climate change,” AccuWeather meteorologist Meghan Evans, wrote in a blog post Friday.

National Weather Service research meteorologist Harold Brooks told Evans modern communication methods by which weather news is shared instantaneously all around the globe could be coloring our perception of the frequency of severe weather.

“If you think back 100 years ago, a tornado that happened 10 or 20 miles away, you might not even be aware of it,” Brooks said.



Sun, Mar 18, 2012 : 10:19 p.m.

Absolute global warming would eliminate strong frontal boundaries which in turn cause more turbulence which causes more and unusual tornadoes. The stronger contrast in airmasses would be in Central of Northern Canada for that matter.

Robert Rhodes

Mon, Mar 19, 2012 : 2:03 a.m.

No. Think of the Jupiter with more banding and planet sized cyclones with more chemicals or Venus with motion of clouds noticed best at polar vortexes.

Soft Paw

Sun, Mar 18, 2012 : 6:25 p.m.

If a tornado hit Dexter 25 years it would have torn up some crops and maybe a farm house or two. Now the whole area is developed so naturally there is more damage.

Robert Rhodes

Wed, Mar 21, 2012 : 1:56 a.m.

"Lynn McCall and his family were cleaning up the remnants of a trailer full of items that was destroyed on property he owns southwest of North Platte. "We've got a real mess," he said. "There was still a lot of their stuff stored in that trailer ...." ... McCall said the original farmhouse at the location was destroyed by a tornado in 1927, and a tornado in 1990 did little damage" ("North Platte tornado an EF3"; By Nancy Gaarder, world-herald Staff Writer;, 3/19/12).

Robert Rhodes

Mon, Mar 19, 2012 : 1:59 a.m.

Yet, we are not seeing more waterspouts that would suggest you are indeed correct. Also making your statement incorrect, the empirical evidence of a church being destroyed by a tornado 100 years ago in the middle of nowhere in the South, rebuilt, and then being destroyed ~5 years ago by another tornado in the middle of nowhere indicates pockets of AGW due to the hand of man.

Robert Rhodes

Sun, Mar 18, 2012 : 7:23 a.m.

Umpsha and extremist Republican and Christian leader from behind - Fred Upton will give the tornado victims Great Lakes full of grass carp instead of FEMA funding ... but, with a blank check from the EssoKochs- "'Yes, we plead guilty … 'Skeptics will proudly celebrate … Climate Depot takes full responsibility for the fate of your children and grandchildren from any future man-made climate catastrophe" ("Australian PM warns skeptics 'are too 'dangerous to ignore' and are 'holding the world to ransom'", By Marc'legal terrorist' Morano, Climate Depot Editorial, whistlesuckers - perfuming the stink at icecap on or about 11/6/09).


Sun, Mar 18, 2012 : 1:45 a.m.

My two cents worth follows - Most comments best read in various South Park character voices...

G. Orwell

Sat, Mar 17, 2012 : 8:32 p.m.

I think global warming was responsible for U of M's loss to Ohio yesterday. The players weren't use to the sudden warm weather and they wanted to go outside to party. This theory is as good or better than Al Gore's. I think I should get a Nobel Prize. Even Obama got one and we are involved in more wars than ever.


Sat, Mar 17, 2012 : 7:06 p.m.

"If you think back 100 years ago, a tornado that happened 10 or 20 miles away, you might not even be aware of it." How am I supposed to do that? I'm nowhere near that old.


Sat, Mar 17, 2012 : 5:53 p.m.

It is beyond comprehension that there are still so many global warming deniers. I guess the drill baby drill republicons have repeated their destructive mantra so often that it has become fact in the minds of many who prefer to stick their head in the sand.

Robert Rhodes

Mon, Mar 19, 2012 : 2:06 a.m.

It's only a small army of locusts that get paid to cruise the internet and destroy infrastructure to enable our extremist Republicans and Christians to enslave 99%.

Huron 74

Sat, Mar 17, 2012 : 5:38 p.m.

I have had my comments refused before because I criticised's new features. Let's see if this one gets through. This is obviously just a headline to grab attention. There will never be a consensus on whether or not human beings have changed the climate one tiny little bit. The earth's climate has been continually changing since Day 1. It always will. By the way, I always enjoy it when people mention Al Gore. He invented the internet too, remember? (No, it wasn't a bunch of engineers at Bell Labs, like you were told).

Robert Rhodes

Mon, Mar 19, 2012 : 2:07 a.m.

Yet deniers can only predict a free lunch as evidence of their scientific expertise.


Sat, Mar 17, 2012 : 2:09 p.m.

When objective people complain about a liberal bias in the media, I point to stories like this a (semi) proof. The reporter and therefore the publication asked a question that need not be asked, except for the fact it fits in with an agenda. The reporter might as well have asked "Are the tornadoes proof the world is ending in 2012" or "Tornadoes show god's wrath on us" or heck, even quote the Mayans. Those questions are equally plausible (and in some ways could even be connected to global warming if you think about it) but they are not questions liberal press asks because, well, they are questions that, even if true, cannot be ascertained and lead to divisiveness and therefore not asked because there is no point to them. The difference in the two theories is the liberal media will always ask the question that serves a greater agenda while not asking questions that get in the way of that agenda. When in fact, they should not be asking either.


Sat, Mar 17, 2012 : 3:42 p.m.

And in this case, forming the headline as a question that actually is answered "no" by reading the article serves only to confuse.

mike gatti

Sat, Mar 17, 2012 : 1:10 p.m.

Surprised to see so many non-global warming posts. Denying Global warning is a bad bet. If do nothing and it is real you doom humanity. If you do something and you are right and there is no global warming you are simply left with a cleaner planet.


Sat, Mar 17, 2012 : 7:10 p.m.

@Mike, you nailed it.


Sat, Mar 17, 2012 : 3:12 p.m.

very true. all we are saying is that climate change is an on going process that will not be change by man. check the history of the earth.


Sat, Mar 17, 2012 : 2:42 p.m.

If you spend a good chunk of the GDP of this country chasing a potential for global warming you destroy the country in the procees and then there won't be any country that gives a darn about the planet. The USSR wasn't too big to fail neither are we. On the other hand man has had to adapt to changes in climate for all of his existence and I'm sure we will do so in the future. There isn't enough money on this planet to pay for all of the initiatives the environmentalists would like to impose upon all of us. Maybe we should wait a few years, get our economic house in order, and then decide as a country which way we want to go before we drive the USA over an economic cliff..........


Sat, Mar 17, 2012 : 12:43 p.m.

Back in the 1970's there was a rash of tornadoes that ripped through Michigan and every year we get them in this state. Who writes articles like this? Next thing you know we'll have to find a volcano to throw sacrifices into. Fearmongering at it's best; people have always been afraid of the wether and the power behind it and people have taken advantage of that throughout history. By the way we tied a record yesterday for temperature that was set in the 1890's. That was quite a bit earlier than we supposedly started to impact the weather with all of us dirty humans................


Sat, Mar 17, 2012 : 1:05 p.m.

Global warming is about overall trends, not about one exception doubters can find to use as proof it can't be happening. (BTW, I would not call this causal, but the time frame you reference is during the Industrial Revolution.)


Sat, Mar 17, 2012 : 12:42 p.m.

The headline seems to be purposely distorted for the sole purpose of getting readers riled up. Mission accomplished.

Rob Henderson

Sat, Mar 17, 2012 : 12:50 p.m.

Maybe they published it to test drive the new "vote replies down" feature?

Old coach

Sat, Mar 17, 2012 : 12:10 p.m.

Most likely caused by public teachers just ask Rick and the boys


Sat, Mar 17, 2012 : 12:02 p.m.

Global warming...Drinking way too much koolaid folks..It's just another $$$ scam perpertrated on people who are dumb enough to believe in the psedo science that these chicken littles are trying to scare you does cause warts and acne..but thats another story...


Sat, Mar 17, 2012 : 11:12 a.m.

I absolutely believe global warming was responsible! I found a web site that listed everything attributed to global warming and believe these just as I believe it to be responsible for tornadoes. Acne, Black Hawk down, the Minneapolis bridge collapse, a decrease in circumcisions, and cannibalism are just of the few things global warming is responsible for. I'm sure if you searched the holy gore-an, there would be many more fascinating effects of global goreing. Woowoo, woowoo - see you at fantasyland in Disney World.

Albert Gazalooch

Sat, Mar 17, 2012 : 5:15 a.m.

The sooner we all switch to CFL's and buy Chevy Volt's, the less tornadoes we'll have. Right Mr. Gore?

Robert Rhodes

Sat, Mar 17, 2012 : 4:38 a.m.

Also in the specifically predicted Cleveland AGW region, "Lightning Most Likely Caused Refinery Fire, Marshal Reports" (by Dan Jovic;, 3/15/12).


Sat, Mar 17, 2012 : 4:03 a.m.

Why do we put restrictions on emissions?


Sat, Mar 17, 2012 : 3:27 a.m.

Further more on all your wild fires most are started by man not global warming.

Robert Rhodes

Sat, Mar 17, 2012 : 4:30 a.m.

AGW exports in the form of lightning ...


Sat, Mar 17, 2012 : 3:58 a.m.

Eh, what does the cause of a fire have to do with size, duration and frequency? No one has EVER said global warming STARTS fires: it's absurd to say they have. There have been many record droughts in the past 20 years, at least three regions in N. America and several more in Australia and Eurasia / Russia. This is because global warming INCREASES the intensity and duration of conditions which "convert" plant life to fuel. More fuel over large regions means ANY source of ignition will result in bigger, longer lasting, more devastating wild fires. See?


Sat, Mar 17, 2012 : 3:25 a.m.

If the greenhouse gases and increase in temperature are the cause of of the violent weather we are experiencing. how do explain the violent storms on jupiter,saturn an uranus. They sure aren't experiencing global warming.

Robert Rhodes

Sat, Mar 17, 2012 : 4:29 a.m.

Google me and Cardinal Pell and/or CMEs to prove AGW exports include CMEs.


Sat, Mar 17, 2012 : 3:52 a.m.

Um, perhaps because they are DIFFERENT PLANETS with entirely different physical parameters?? Perhaps because they have NO detectable species SPEWING billions of tons of COs & methane into their atmospheres which HAPPEN to be hundreds of millions of miles farther from the Sun?? Try Venus: that planet's atmosphere is MOSTLY CO2 - and that's what PROVES the heat-trapping mechanism of CO2. Over 96% CO2 atmosphere DIRECTLY results in a surface temperature of 860º F.


Sat, Mar 17, 2012 : 3:18 a.m.

RE: "There is no strong evidence to support severe weather becoming stronger, more frequent or more widespread during the past 50 years in the United States as a result of climate change," AccuWeather meteorologist Meghan Evans..." No "strong" evidence - doesn't mean NO evidence. Such statements are just plain shallow: the last 50 yrs. and particularly the last 20 years HAVE seen many climate-related records in regions around the world. Record floods, record heat waves, record wild fires and, spates of record snow fall, record daily high temps AND more important: increased (record level) NIGHT time temps. "...Brooks told Evans modern communication methods by which weather news is shared instantaneously all around the globe could be coloring our perception of the frequency of severe weather." -- A "truth" which is obviously unscientific and manipulative of public awareness & opinion. Just because there was no science infrastructure or fast communication 100 years ago DOES NOT mean scientific calculations haven't bridged the data gap. WHEN manipulated public opinion rules: we are up to our chins in idiocy. CO2: someone ought to learn a little chemistry before taking on this compound gas. ALL the scientific evidence shows that global temps have risen in train with (now unprecedented) levels of CO2. Moreover: The amount of CO2 absorbed by the oceans is so great that acidity levels worldwide are the highest in millions of years. Lowering PH affects all the BASIC sea organisms: the "bottom" of the food chain which supports ALL other oceanic vertebrates & invertebrates. Saying a cluster of tornadoes isn't proof of climate change doesn't prove anything in favor of ideology & business interest clap-trap EITHER. Climate science is a HUGE subject in which there are always variances from the basic premise. People who read or listen to right-wing propaganda all the time are NOT scientists.


Sat, Mar 17, 2012 : 2:09 p.m.

So tell me what is your ideal tempature? we have only warmed up .76 degrees celsius in the last 100 years. If we drop about 5 degrees we will be in an ice age so what is normal? Another thing we can never heat up like venus. because of the earth is tilted unlike venus. FYI 20,000 feet about the surface on venus the atmosphere is almost the same as on earth including the tempature. further more unless we have mass extinction we can not lower our carbon out put by 85% in 2050. Just another pipe dream. You would do well to read about the history of the earth and all of the different changes in climate. Did yoy know that the sahara desert turns into a greenbelt every 25,000 years? Still think you can control the climate?

Robert Rhodes

Sat, Mar 17, 2012 : 3:13 a.m.

Deniers can't spell fool or slavery without "U" - "A). ... 2). ... What will be another mother of all catastrophes, the 93rd JCS-MADDD Model (3/11 - 17/12) with many watery nightmares will be unleashed all across Allah's good Earth that includes an increase risk for Valero's employees and equipment but will not impede the extremist Republicans and Christians' free pollution exports to help generate more catastrophic flooding, blizzards, other water-related catastrophes, and fireballs" ("GBRWE 3/11 - 17/12''s Extreme Planetary Warnings for Earthquakes, Volcanoes, and Solar/Terrestrial Flares from Human Activities"; Robert Rhodes, Supplemental; GBRWE 3/11 - 17/12, 3/10/12). "GBRWE 3/11 - 17/12 'regular' for global warming predictions: sports, rainfall, tornadic, hurricane, and stellar ecosystems with tectonic quantities ... by Robert Rhodes, The "Ozonator" ... B1). Weeks' Reporting Period of GBRWE 3/11 - 17/12. ... The Ozonator's global warming pendulum swings the other way to make a whole lot of every freezing, flooding, man-eating, and colliding infrastructure. ...flooding, killer hail and fog, wind ... tornado swarms ... rainfall/snow to hit in any one earthly place will be a titanic ~4" to ~4'+ of rain/snow or an unholy mix (extremes of all rain or all snow). ... NOAA's killer tornadoes (with waterspouts) are predicted to be largely unreported and actually range 20 - 400 were pro-life environmental evil is most profound and may also take two weeks to develop.... From American extremists' holy environmental racism from global warming, the still Brain-dead Ronaldus Magnus Model of Hatred and Greed & T-bags - tornadoes, blizzards, torrential rain, and other forms of lightning or something uglier will develop in titanic swathes within 2 weeks - a). Earth: ...Hunstville, Ontario - Cleveland - Huntsville, Al - Mobile, AL - Naples, Fl ... Luderitz - Walvis Bay - Huambo".

Robert Rhodes

Sun, Mar 18, 2012 : 7:28 a.m.

To be fair and balanced: -9 as of 230 am cst on 3/18/12 by those who only predict a free lunch from Heritage-types cesspool of $. With condolences, AGW earthquakes are much more definitive from out of control AGW dumping. SNRE '79 M geaux Blue

Unusual Suspect

Sat, Mar 17, 2012 : 2:33 a.m.

Actually, it's the differential between and the relative positioning of both warm and cold air masses that causes tornadoes. Is the warmer air getting warmer, or is it the colder air getting colder? The trend of considering global warming to be the cause of anything that happens - whether it's hurricanes, tornadoes, too much rain, not enough rain, more snow, less snow, fewer polar bears, more polar bears, the drift the Earth's magnetic poles, or Michigan losing in the first round of the NCAA tournament yet again - is just too funny.

Unusual Suspect

Sat, Mar 17, 2012 : 7:32 p.m.

mermaid, read it again. I didn't mention Dexter. You introduced Dexter into my comment, not me. The subject of my comment was global warming alarmists, not Dexter.


Sat, Mar 17, 2012 : 12:48 p.m.

Too funny? Yep, the people of Dexter are just rolling on the ground laughing.

Real Life

Sat, Mar 17, 2012 : 2:23 a.m.

If you ask a question like that, perhaps one should adopt a "global" view. Yes, we've had a mild winter, but it has been caused by the North Atlantic Oscillation over Greenland that has bottled up arctic blasts far to the north and funneled record cold temperatures to Europe, freezing sea ice as far south as the Black Sea. Yes, warmer temperatures more like April have brought April-like weather our way. But globally, temps are a different story. On balance, given the recent spate of solar storms reported in the media, would it be any wonder if we might have a slight global increase in temperature? Let's let science, not politicians and grant writers make the call.


Sat, Mar 17, 2012 : 4:10 a.m.

You omit that: the duration and intensity of these air mass & ocean current systems HAS BEEN abnormal and that they all can be considered to be driven by an increased "force" (i.e. trapped heat energy due to CO2 build up). Suggest you also try looking at solar science studies which show that increased sun spot activity affects Earth's atmosphere in a range from zero to a fraction of one percent. Besides: the current solar maximum WASN'T IN EFFECT the previous 11 years: when many of the weather records were topped AGAIN.


Sat, Mar 17, 2012 : 2:17 a.m.

Not sure about global warming, but it seems like tornado alIey is migrating east. I always though of states like Okalhoma and Iowa as the home of killer tornadoes, now it seems to be right down I-65.


Sat, Mar 17, 2012 : 2:15 a.m.

Is global warming to blame for intensity of recent tornadoes? Shame on you Cindy Heflin for this article and the disgrace you cause the great people of Washtenaw. This tragedy has no place to make a political statement like this. Global Warming is becoming a joke just like people who believe the earth is still flat.

G. Orwell

Sat, Mar 17, 2012 : 2:07 a.m.

Plus, anyone that believe CO2 causes AGW needs to brush up on their basic science. There is no scientific evidence CO2 causes global warming. Only claims to scare the public (20 feet sea level rises! Sky is falling.) to fool them into paying carbon taxes to Al Gore and friends.


Sun, Mar 18, 2012 : 10:16 p.m.

Thank you for presenting very accurate facts about the composition of CO2 in the Earth's atmosphere. Your facts are correct and CO2 is almost insignificant. The 2012 global temperature dropped a few tenths of a degree C. The Continental US has been the warm anomaly. The root cause is the mid latitude Pacific Ocean warm pool which has caused a far northward shift in the jet stream over the USA, plus is does not buckle as much (less of a north wind component-thus fewer cold intrusions) as a result of much more frequent storms slamming on shore over the West Coast (Pac NW Coast). Maybe should quote us.


Sat, Mar 17, 2012 : 6:17 p.m.

Increases in atmospheric CO2 levels cause less of the sun's radiant energy to be refracted back out into space. That is an indisputable principle. It is also indisputable that along with unprecedented increases in CO2, the earth's average temperature is increasing, and what was permanent ice on mountain tops and in artic zones is melting fast. Even if there was really any scientific question about man made global warming, the overwhelming evidence hitting us in the face should make us take preventative measures. I suppose those making obscene profits from oil sales will always be able to convince the ostriches that the status quo is best.

G. Orwell

Sat, Mar 17, 2012 : 12:19 p.m.

A few months back, warmists would attribute extreme cold weather to global warming. I guess the Venice channels freezing over and hundreds of people dying in Europe from extreme cold last month was also global warming. I forgot, they changed "global warming" to "climate change" since people were realizing that the earth was not warming anymore. What exactly does "climate change" mean? Climate has always changed. So, what caused the Ice Age? Lack of human activity? Or, is it a natural cycle as the earth and our solar system rotate around its orbits? How come none of the warmists will discuss the impact the sun's output has on our climate? The sun a very active star. Just last week, we had massive coronal ejections. Maybe that is what is warming the earth at at this time. To simply say high CO2 levels cause global warming is very irresponsible. There are many factors that affect the climate of the earth.

G. Orwell

Sat, Mar 17, 2012 : 12:04 p.m.

@TruBlu CO2 only makes up .038% of the atmosphere. Of that, human activities are responsible for only 1/3 or .013%. Furthermore, other greenhouse gases, such as, water vapors contribute far, far more to warming than CO2. So, why the hysteria over CO2. It is because it give control over nearly every aspect of our lives if they can control and dictate how much CO2 we are allowed to emit. People fall for this since they really do not know what CO2 is. Sounds scarier than water vapors. Finally, to believe that a naturally occurring and life giving gas is somehow dangerous is ridiculous. The more CO2, the faster plant life grows, and in return, release more O2. It is a self regulating global ecosystem.


Sat, Mar 17, 2012 : 4:18 a.m.

Who says there's no scientific evidence supporting C02's greenhouse gas effect?? WHO? The planet Venus has an atmosphere of 96% CO2 and it's PROVEN absolutely that CO2 is trapping almost all the solar radiation, raising Venus's surface temperature to 860º F. Carbon taxes: IF ever levied, would go to the U.S. Treasury, NOT to Al Gore. If you want to be taken seriously or as any other than a mouthpiece for ideological clap-trap, LEARN basic science.

G. Orwell

Sat, Mar 17, 2012 : 1:57 a.m.

According to the East Anglia University's raw data (not the massaged version) that was released two months ago, global warming ended in 1997. Google it. Al Gore lied. Case closed.


Sat, Mar 17, 2012 : 4:30 a.m.

Just so everyone KNOWS: The East Anglia University scandal has NOTHING to do with worldwide climatological honesty, accuracy or performance. Citing ONE example from the entire world's supply of university research TO SERVE POLITICAL PURPOSES is only proof the the dishonesty of the "conservative movement." Dishonesty among ideologues is famous: but they're the ones always slandering those who prove their propaganda to be unscientific and anti-scientific. Just coincidence??


Sat, Mar 17, 2012 : 1:30 a.m.



Sat, Mar 17, 2012 : 1:12 a.m.

It's sad that some people take the data in the blog post and twist it to suit their politics. What did the post say? 1) Global greenhouse gases are increasing, and resulting in an increase in the global mean temperature. 2) The science is still out on whether there is a direct link between GHG and severe weather. The point is that increases in global temperature will provide more of one ingrediant that severe weather like tornados needs -- more moisture in the atmosphere. But it might decrease a second ingrediant -- wind shear -- because of lesser contrast between areas of the atmosphere. But, the bottom line is greater temperatures will make it more likely that we experience severe weather earlier in the year -- because it is now more likely that we will get temperatures like we have seen in the last week during March.


Sat, Mar 17, 2012 : 12:56 a.m.

Many trillions of animals and plants were killed a few million years ago. Bet it was human induced global warming that did it.


Sat, Mar 17, 2012 : 2:58 a.m.

It was dinosaur flatulation.


Sat, Mar 17, 2012 : 12:30 a.m.

There is NO 'global warming'.


Sat, Mar 17, 2012 : 8:44 p.m.

Exactly how are you qualified to make this statement? You do realize that the VAST majority of people that devote their lives to the study of things such as earth climate agree that global warming is a reality, right? Because if you did not know this, well, you do now. You're welcome.


Sat, Mar 17, 2012 : 12:27 a.m.

Global warming, like homelessness is only an issue when a Republican is in the white house. But then, a Republican is governor of Michigan......


Sat, Mar 17, 2012 : 12:15 a.m.

I think firing Rich Rod made more tornadoes.

Chase Ingersoll

Sat, Mar 17, 2012 : 12:04 a.m.

There just seems something wrong about an article with such a headline being based upon: "... could lead some to wonder..." And Chicken Little wondered if the sky was falling, because a nut hit her on the head. Chase Ingersoll