Senator Kerry Misinformed on Tennessee Storms, says SPPI

By | February 8, 2008

Senator Kerry Misinformed on Tennessee Storms, says SPPI

WASHINGTON–(BUSINESS WIRE)–SPPI questions Senator Kerry’s attribution of recent Tennessee tornados to “global warming.”

“Any literate school child can type into an internet search engine the words “tornado history in Tennessee” and “history of hurricanes in Florida” and immediately discover that Sen. Kerry appears climatologically not smarter than a fifth grader,” says Robert Ferguson, president of D.C.-based Science and Public Policy Institute.

On MSNBC, Kerry commented on recent storm events in Tennessee, blaming “global warming” for “more and more intense storms” and “changed” weather patterns. He decried that we just aren’t paying enough attention to “issues.” Perhaps Kerry should pay more attention to facts.

Several papers on SPPI’s website www.scienceandpublicpolicyinstitute.org examine the climate histories of Florida www.scienceandpublicpolicy.org/originals/hurricanethreat.html, Tennessee www.scienceandpublicpolicy.org/originals/tennessee_climate_change.html , Kansas www.scienceandpublicpolicy.org/originals/kansas_climate_profile.html and Kentucky www.scienceandpublicpolicy.org/originals/kentucky_climate_profile.html – all states that experience severe weather events.

Records show that the recent apparent increase in tornado observations can be explained by non-climate factors such as the expanded use of Doppler radar by the National Weather Service, an increase in the number of observers (or “storm chasers”), and an increase in the population density. Consequently, small tornadoes that were once missed are now being detected by radar and the larger observing network. The total number of violent tornados (F3, F4, F5) each year from 1950-2006 have actually declined.

Records also show that sudden “outbreaks,” as in Tennessee, are not that uncommon; the worst by far being the “super outbreak” of April 3rd and 4th in 1974, with 24 reported twisters (http://www.srh.noaa.gov/ohx/research/torcli.htm).
“Senator Kerry’s assertions are observationally unsupportable and scientifically vacant. Is Senator Kerry engaging the insensate practice of pressing a political agenda on the backs of the suffering and grieving?” asked Ferguson.

Contacts

Science and Public Policy Institute
Robert Ferguson, 202-288-5699
bferguson@sppinstitute.org