Allow me this not-very-bold prediction: The Moore, Okla., tornado is going spawn debate over whether climate change will increase the frequency of these deadly storms.
Some say “yes.” Others aren’t so sure. NOVA, the acclaimed PBS science series, examined it in a recent installment that aired Wednesday on KACV-TV. You can view it online at pbs.org/nova, the link to which is posted here: http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/nova/earth/oklahoma-tornadoes.html
The Moore tornado left 24 people dead. It was an F5 twister that blasted a mile-wide swath through the city just south of Oklahoma City. The discussion has turned, as it usually does in cases like this, to whether climate change is causing the frequency of these storms to increase, or whether it is increasing the violence of the storms.
NOVA reports that 2011 was the worst tornado season in history, and that year included the Joplin, Mo., twister that killed 158 residents. Scientists are grappling with trying to predict the ferocity of these storms, when to expect them and trying to provide advice on how to avoid tragic outcomes.
The debate, of course, also turns on whether the climate change is manmade or whether it’s part of the Earth’s natural cycle.
NOVA does its usual good job of examining the science of an event such as the Moore tornado. Take a look and judge for yourself.