Monday, June 3, 2013

On The Origin of Tornadoes - 2

In the first post of this series Dredd Blog pointed out how publicly unsure the chief climatologist at Climate Central was about what could be determined about tornadoes in the context of "climate change."

Regular readers know that Dredd Blog prefers the description "a damaged Global Climate System" to what they call "climate change".

It was also pointed out in the first post that Dredd Blog considers the pabulum spoken by the chief climatologist at Climate Central to have been more the politics of tornadoes than it is the science of tornadoes.

In today's post, we will begin to take a look at some history of tornadoes, with a purpose of discovering when they originated.

When looking back into the historical era of the Industrial Revolution, which began circa 1750, then looking further back beyond that into the historical past, the data concerning tornadoes soon becomes utterly bereft of anything that could be called scientific.

It becomes more or less a form of folklore.

Yet, that chief climatologist we mentioned in the first post, at Climate Central, was eager to say "We live in a country that has always seen extreme weather."

A term that is utterly meaningless because "extreme" simply means the worst and the best in a list of conditions.

So yes, we have always had our worst weather and our best weather (the extremes), but we do not need a scientist to hold our hand like we are scared kids when we talk about "boogie man weather."

For example, the country with the best climate on Earth will have its worst weather and its best weather, which are the extreme weather events of that climate --no matter how much like paradise those "extreme" events are.

It says absolutely nothing of the catastrophic weather events of recent months and years, even though it was dishonestly brought up in that context.

Thus, the Dredd Blog labeling of it as "political", which is the first phase of propaganda (All Weather is Local - 4), is as kind as we can be at the moment.

That is because it leads in a wrong direction, and that is not a scientific way of proceeding on anything (see graphs).

To underline this scenario, let's look at what is said to be one List of Worst Tornadoes:
As tragic as it is to lose lives from natural disasters like tornadoes, these are the worst tornadoes in history, each claiming hundreds of lives in a matter of minutes. From the most recent, current cyclones to those of the past, sadly, this list has them all. With death tolls reaching tragic proportions, these are not only the worst cyclones environmentally, they're also the deadliest.
Oklahoma Tornado (2013)
2  The Daulatpur-Salturia Tornado (1989)
3  East Pakistan Tornado (1969)
4  Madarganj to Mrizapur Tornado (1996)
The Tri-State Tornado (1925)
6  The Manikganj, Singair and Nawabganj Tornado 1973)
7  The Valetta, Malta, Tornado (1951)
8  The Sicily Tornado (1851) - "few details of what actually happened"
9  The Narail-Magura Tornado (1964) "details ... quite unclear"
10 The Comoro Tornado (1951)
11 The Madaripur-Shibchar Tornado (1977)
(List of Worst Tornadoes). Notice that only two of those on that list happened in the U.S., so those records are questionable in the sense that:
The reason the heart of the North American continent bears the brunt of these most powerful of twisters lies with its unique topography. Only in North America does a solid land mass stretch from the sub-tropics to the arctic with no mountain barriers to inhibit the mixture of air masses originating from these two regions.
(Wunderground, Weather Extremes, emphasis added). That site records a list of F-5 tornadoes going back to the year 1900, with the worst being the "Tri-State" tornado of 1925, which is also listed as number 5 in the "List of Worst Tornadoes" above.

But, as was pointed out in the first post of this series, the Industrial Revolution is the era which began the damage to the Global Climate System, so we can expect to encounter a beginning of the rise of tornadoes sometime after the Industrial Revolution began --because that "revolution" damaged and still damages the Global Climate System.

The damage that began to happen then was caused initially by burning fossil fuels to power industrial engines and machines, namely coal, which began about the mid 1700's.

Thus, a century of scientific record keeping is missing with tornado records in the sense that the oldest tornado in the two lists above is 1851.

The further back the records go, concerning tornadoes, the more that conflicting details will show up, and the more records begin to declare that there are "few details of what actually happened."

The record is better in the U.S. in terms of the late 1800's (Tornadoes In The Past), which we need to remember is within the time frame of the Industrial Revolution.

Let's note also that, with regard to tornado generation, it is true that "no mountain barriers to inhibit the mixture of air masses" exist in the central U.S., which is said to be why the central U.S. has the most tornadoes on Earth (see Wunderground, "Weather Extremes", quote above).

However, jet streams traditionally have tended to prevent the catastrophic mixing of air flows that tend to generate tornadoes.

Further, we can now say that as the polar icecaps melt, the jet streams are disrupted, and since there are no mountain ranges, the few jet stream protections can also vanish because such changes "to the course of the jet stream affect weather patterns for the entire planet" (Arctic Sea Ice Decline).

Thus, we can say that the documented increase in tornadoes is a function of a damaged Global Climate System which is further affected by the polar ice melt.

These observations and knowledge help us get closer to finding the origin of our current abundance of tornadoes.

A recent scientific paper used Moore's law to do a reverse calculation back into time, yes, back billions of years:
If we plot genome complexity of major phylogenetic lineages on a logarithmic scale against the time of origin, the points appear to fit well to a straight line (Sharov, 2006) (Fig. 1). This indicates that genome complexity increased exponentially and doubled about every 376 million years. Such a relationship reminds us of the exponential increase of computer complexity known as a "Moore’s law" (Moore, 1965; Lundstrom, 2003). But the doubling time in the evolution of computers (18 months) is much shorter than that in the evolution of life. What is most interesting in this relationship is that it can be extrapolated back to the origin of life. Genome complexity reaches zero, which corresponds to just one base pair, at time ca. 9.7 billion years ago (Fig. 1).
(Life Before Earth, PDF copy, page 3, emphasis added). No doubt calculating back in time 9.7 billion years using, among other things Moore's Law, is "exciting and courageous", and it can even pass peer review.

Therefore, using the same law and the same type of data ("logarithmic scale - straight line"), we can calculate the mean, then project backwards to a likely time that tornadoes originated in modern times.

We will try that application of the data in the next post of this series, using the data from the graph at the top of today's post, which covers scientifically and carefully recorded tornado data from 1950 through 2011.

My guess is that the origination we are looking for is sometime not too long after the Industrial Revolution began (the stories of being pushed off the edge of the Earth in the seaman's tall tales prior to that time will not be given much weight).

Check in next time for the math.

The next post in this series is here, the previous post in this series is here.

Lyrics to Telegraph Road by Dire Straits is here.

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