No, AOC - Tornados in D.C. Are Not Another Sign of Global Warming | Citizens Against Government Waste
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No, AOC - Tornados in D.C. Are Not Another Sign of Global Warming

The WasteWatcher is the staff blog of Citizens Against Government Waste (CAGW) and the Council for Citizens Against Government Waste (CCAGW). For questions, contact blog@cagw.org.


Rep. Alexander Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY), never lacking for a fun sound bite, released an anxiety-ridden Instagram over a tornado warning that was issued in Washington, D.C. at about 3:50 pm on May 23.

Welcome to Washington Congresswoman!  You will soon learn that severe thunderstorms during summer afternoons are practically a daily occurrence and tornado warnings are nothing new.

The amateur meteorologist, Rep. Cortez, immediately spun the tornado warning as one more sign that climate change is upon us, saying “the climate crisis is real y’all … guess we’re at casual tornado in growing regions of the country?”  The congresswoman is anxious for Congress to act immediately and adopt her Green New Deal plan.  It has been estimated this plan, according to American Action Forum, would cost a minimum of $52 trillion over 10 years and would bankrupt the nation, with no clear indication on how it would reduce emissions or lower the earth’s temperature.

But real meteorologists weighed in soon after AOC’s worried-filled announcement.  Ryan Maue, CEO of WeatherModels.com, tweeted he had, “no idea what she means with ‘casual tornadoes’ and how this line of severe thunderstorms is proof of any ‘climate crisis.’  It’s just weather in D.C.”

Another meteorologist, Roy Spencer, Ph.D., a weather and climate researcher at the University of Alabama, wrote an article about the destructive tornadoes that have passed through middle America.  He stated in his May 28 Fox News article that, “Progressive politicians like Al Gore, Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., and Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y., don’t hesitate to blame any kind of severe weather – even if it is decreasing over time – on global warming.”

He pointed out in his article that very few thunderstorms produce tornadoes.  The conditions required for tornadoes is a cool air mass colliding with a warm air mass.  This year, the weather in the western U.S. has been cooler by 2° F and winter has hung on much longer than usual.  The weather in the Central and Southeast U.S. normally consists of spring thunderstorms that have plenty of warm, moist air to draw up from the Gulf of Mexico.  This year however, that warm, moist air is butting up against a much colder mass of air from the West, providing perfect conditions for tornados.

Spencer also points that that “slow warming in the U.S. has been accompanied by fewer of these cold springtime air masses over the West.  As a result, based upon official National Weather Service statistics the long-term trend of strong (EF3) to violent (EF5) tornadoes has been decidedly downward, with 2018 experiencing a record low in activity.”

He also discussed the subject on WMAL, a local Washington, D.C. talk radio station and his presentation is worth a listen [at 36.35].  Contrary to Rep. Ocasio-Cortez’s remark that the entire nation is getting “casual” tornados, he said it is not unusual to have tornado reports around the country, even in areas such as New York and New England.  Since New York started tabulating tornados in the 1950s, the state has recorded 400 tornadoes and some of the most destructive tornadoes in New England occurred in the 1700s.  He noted that there has been a long-term, downward trend of severe tornados since the mid-1950s, a decrease of 50 percent, contrary to what global warming fear mongers would like for you to believe.     

During the interview on WMAL, Dr. Spencer was critical of former-NASA and climate doomsday scientist James Hansen, Ph.D., stating that when Hansen testified before Congress in 1988, due to then-Sen. Al Gore’s prodding, most scientists at the time could not support what he was promoting at that time.  The main problem, according to Dr. Spencer, is almost 100 percent of research funding comes from the federal government.  Unless there is a “crisis,” something that can be sold to Congress that must be studied, scientists do not get money.  As a result, the scientists look the other way and exaggerate their findings to get long-term financial support.

Dr. Spencer says while he believes some global warming is due to human activity, it has been greatly over exaggerated.  He discussed how the Trump administration has asked William Happer, Ph.D., a physicist and former professor at Princeton University, to join the National Security Council, put together a “red team” of scientists, and evaluate the Environmental Protection Agency’s Endangerment Finding regarding CO2 in the long term and review the climate science with a more even-handed approach, assessing what is true and what is not.

Spencer also remarked that the National Climate Assessment, a report produced by 13 government agencies that assesses the science of climate change, is “about alarmist as you can get,” which makes “baseless claims,” “exaggerations,” and “extrapolations about what is going to happen to the United States,” and is mostly written by known environmental activists that are not experts in the climatology.

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