Now Even Tornadoes Are Used For Energy Spin 5/3/11
By Art Horn, Meteorologist
The Obama Administration is trying to force an energy revolution in America with no real notion of what collateral damage may result from its implementation. Attempts to develop our indigenous fossil fuel resources have been resisted while president Obama wants to spend even more of our money (that we don’t have) buying oil from other nations. This is a very strange policy since he says he is against using fossil fuels, well at least ours it would appear. Now a massive outbreak of tornadoes is being used as fuel to propel his energy revolution agenda farther down this strange and twisted path.
Global warming cheerleaders are beating the alarmist drum claiming that the recent deadly tornadoes are the result of global warming. As has happened so many times in the last few years, the alarmists are confusing weather and climate. On January 26th, 2011 Keven Trenberth of NCAR (National Center for Atmospheric Research) said “Given that global warming is unequivocal, the null hypothesis (default position) should be that all weather events are affected by global warming rather than the inane statements along the lines of "of course we cannot attribute any particular weather event to global warming". Now, not only are extreme weather events affected by global warming but ALL weather events are affected by global warming!
To the Chicken Little alarmists every significant weather event is looked at as unique and unquestionably caused, at least in part by the use of fossil fuels. There is no evidence that this is true but the general public has little or no historical context to judge these storms. If people are led to believe that the recent swarm of tornadoes is due to climate change our chances of utilizing our vast resources here at home will continue to incrementally fade. Our prosperity will continue to slip beneath the waves as we ship more of our borrowed money overseas for the same energy sources we have here.
Climate change hysteria that utilizes extreme weather events can even be used to rationalize rising gas prices. If the public is beaten over the head enough by news reports that recent tornadoes are the result of burning fossil fuels they might be more accepting of higher energy costs if they can be convinced those higher costs will lead to a better future, in other words “green energy alternatives.” This is without question the goal of Energy secretary Steven Chu. He is completely on board with the concept of jacking up gas prices to make so called “renewables” more attractive. In September of 2008 Chu said “Somehow we have to figure out how to boost the price of gasoline to the levels in Europe," That somehow is happening now. Gas prices in Europe are in the range of $7.00 to $9.50 dollars a gallon and we are heading in the direction.
When now president Obama was a candidate for the office he said “When I was asked earlier about the issue of coal…under my plan of a cap and trade system, electricity rates would necessarily skyrocket…even regardless of what I say about whether coal is good or bad, because I’m capping greenhouse gases, coal power plants, natural gas…you name it…whatever the plants were, whatever the industry was, they would have to retro-fit their operations. That will cost money…they will pass that money on to the consumers.” The main stream news media that wanted him elected gave him a complete pass on this statement. The notion that exteme weather events are the result of using fossil fuels to make energy is a deeply rooted, core belief of the president and his energy secretary. An outbreak of deadly tornadoes is another log on the global warming fire to sell this dangerous hypothesis.
Of course the traditional news media outlets can’t let a good crisis go to waste. Naturally they’re implying that using fossil fuels is causing all extreme weather. Tuesday, April 29th NBC news anchor Brian Williams was interviewing the Weather Channels Dr. Greg Forbes about the tornadoes. Williams said to Forbes, who works for NBC so he better toe the line “Let's be candid here. When you and I go home, you see friends and family, you get e-mail from people you know. People ask the same question: What's going on here? Is this something we have done? What has happened to the climate because it seems so much of what we cover is relentless weather-related tragedy?”
This is a very revealing statement by Williams because it’s true, much of what they cover is weather related tragedy but the “relentless” part is driven by the news network consultants. Since evening news program ratings began declining in the 1990s the networks have relied on consultants to find stories that will attract audience. Extreme weather and its human impacts was elevated to the top of the list as sources for stories that would facinate the viewers and tug at their heart strings at the same time. Always remember that it is not the content of the news that is as important as the numbers of people watching it.
Historical weather data strongly suggest that tornadoes today are no more frequent or deadly then they were many years ago. The number of reported tornadoes is higher today than past decades. This is due to a vastly improved reporting system, video cameras, storm chasers, hand help cell phone cameras and a larger rural population. In 1925 the United States population was just one hundred and sixteen million people, just 38% of what it is today and yet tornadoes killed many more Americans than today. Granted there were virtually no warnings but far fewer people were in harms way as well.
On March 18th, 1925 a massive 219 mile long, mile wide tornado killed 695 people across southern Missouri, southern Illinois and southern Indiana. Had there been today’s number of people living in those same areas the death toll might have been in the thousands even with better warnings. On May 7th, 1840 317 people were killed by the Natchez, Mississippi tornado. In St. Louis on May 27th, 1986 some 305 people were wiped out by a tornado. The “Dixie” tornado outbreak ravaged the south from April 23rd to the 25th in 1908. A total of 324 people were killed over the three day period. The March 28th, 1920 Palm Sunday tornado disaster struck the Midwest and Deep South killing at least 380 people in about 9 hours. Less than a month later another swarm of tornadoes swept trough Mississippi and Alabama from April 19th to the 21st killing another 243 people. Within a month tornadoes had taken the lives of 623 people. And don’t forget the population density in that area was far less back then. April 3rd, 1974 there were 310 deaths in the United States from the “Super Outbreak” tornadoes with another 9 people killed in Canada from the same twisters. The list goes on and on, never once mentioned by the media, it would make the recent outbreak look less related to global warming instead of just something that nature unleashes every few years in the Spring.
The reality is that there has been very little warming of the earth over the last 160 years. The earth’s global average temperature has increased 1.1 degrees Fahrenheit in that time. And the inconvenient fact is that the relationship between global temperature rise and increases in atmospheric carbon dioxide during that time is weak. Carbon dioxide has increased 110 parts per million since 1850. As a percentage of the atmosphere this represents an increase of only .01%. Nearly one quarter of that increase, 25 ppm (23%) has occurred since 1998 and yet there has been no increase of globally averaged temperature since then, a revealing trend. Over a longer period of time from 1945 to 2011 (66 years) carbon dioxide increased 82 ppm or 80% of the 110 ppm increase since the birth of the industrial revolution. During this time average global temperature has only increased 32 % of the time, the period from 1977 to 1998.
President Obama and Secretary Chu are either unaware of or ignore the fact that computer models are greatly over-predicting the amount of warming in the upper troposphere. These models are forecasting 2 to 3 times more warming than has been observed with real world measurements. This dramatic warming is the fingerprint that would prove that man made global warming is real but it is not there. And yet these predictions are what Mr. Chu and the President thinks we should use to completely dismantle our proven system of making energy and somehow replace with highly theoretical, unproven “renewables” that potentially could have a much worse impact on America than any climate changes in the next 50 years. Obama says he wants to eliminate fossil fuels as an energy source one day and then says he wants to fund exploration by foreign countries and then buy their oil the next. This strangely inconsistent policy can’t be good for our energy or economic future.
The truth is that deadly tornadoes have always been with us, after all the United States is the tornado capital of the world.