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As another Tornado Season gets underway the scientific journal Nature reports on a new study showing a trend toward more violent storms as climate change amplifies extreme weather events making them more destructive.

Climate change brings stormier weather to the US

But changes in the atmosphere may also have other adverse affects for humans. For one thing, they seem to have markedly increased the risk of severe thunderstorms over parts of the United States.

At the EGU meeting, Eberhard Faust, head of climate risk and natural hazards research at the reinsurance company Munich Re in Germany, presented a study showing in the US, the annual economic losses from sizable thunderstorms — those that cause more than $250 million in damages — have doubled since 1970.

His team also found that storms have become more unpredictable. From 1990 to 2009, years with exceptionally large storm activity and high losses alternated frequently with relatively calm years. Year-to-year variation and average losses were significantly higher than they were between 1970 and 1989.

So as storms grow more violent and damaging the patterns of storms is getting more erratic with wider variations from one year to the next.
Insurance companies rate thunderstorms — which may include hailstorms and tornados — as the second biggest cause of weather-related losses in the US, behind hurricanes. In 2011, a record tornado season in the United States, overall economic losses from thunderstorms added up to US$47 billion. Of those, only US$27 billion were covered by insurance.
Climate Change is already exacting a heavy economic toll for our dependence of fossil fuels, and much of the burden of repairing the increasing levels of damage is falling directly on American households.  

Faust's team found that both convective energy and wind shear — the difference between wind velocity near the ground and at higher altitudes — have increased. The changes seem to make the formation of storm cells easier, they say.
As we change the climate in this vast experiment with our planet's atmosphere weather becomes more volatile, inflicts more and more damage to our country and its citizens. We need to seriously weigh at the declining benefits of fossil fuels as alternatives become more competitive, against the increasing costs of our appetite for fossil fueled dirty energy.      


                                            Joplin MO. 2011

Originally posted to Lefty Coaster on Sun Apr 14, 2013 at 12:05 PM PDT.

Also republished by Climate Change SOS, Holy $h*tters, DK GreenRoots, and Climate Hawks.

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