While much of the weather-related news updates for the United States have been focused on the recent devastating tornado activity in Missouri and Minnesota, it is clear from the numerous tornadoes recently in places like Alabama, Washington DC, and Massachusetts, where tornadoes are uncommon, that no place in the US is safe this summer from the increased storm activity and extreme weather patterns. And tornadoes aren’t the only problem.
According to a recent New York Times article, the hurricane season is expected to be extreme this summer. The article goes on to state:
This flurry of hurricane activity comes as part of an observable spike that started in 1995. The spike is attributable to warmer than usual ocean temperatures, though scientists are not in complete agreement on what those warmer temperatures mean, said Jeff Masters, the director of meteorology for Weather Underground, whose analyses are followed along the Gulf Coast like the sports pages.
While many scientists describe this as one of the multidecade hurricane cycles that can be observed back to the 19th century, others say that the warming ocean temperatures are in fact a result of noncyclical climate change.
“Is this really a cycle or not, or are we fooling ourselves?” Dr. Masters asked.
Neither answer is particularly good news for coastal residents: the cycles, if that is what they are, can last 40 years or more, and this one is only at year 16.
Clearly, however, the increase in extreme weather patterns in general across the United States indicates that this may not be cyclical. For example, this past April shattered US records in terms of number of tornadoes during that month. The previous record for US tornadoes in April was 267. This past April, the US saw a total of over 600 tornadoes, an unprecedented number. This only begs the question: when will connections start being made between the human impact on the earth, climate change, and extreme weather patterns in the minds of every-day Americans? Until that day comes, and Americans start taking responsibility for the devastation they are bringing to the planet (we are literally killing ourselves, as this year has already broken records for the deadliest tornado season at 522 deaths) extreme weather patterns will continue to wreak havoc throughout the United States.