facebook
twitter
rss
account
search
search
 

Link found between Pacific Ocean temps and U.S. tornado activity

Oct. 18, 2013 at 5:38 PM   |   Comments

COLUMBIA, Mo., Oct. 18 (UPI) -- The types and locations of tornado activity in the United States is being influenced by ocean temperatures in the Pacific, atmospheric scientists say.

Researchers at the University of Missouri-Columbia, studying 56,457 tornadic events from 1950 to 2011, said they found a 20.3 increase in tornadoes rated EF-2 to EF-5 on the Enhanced Fuijta scale when Pacific Ocean temperatures were warmer than average.

In addition, they said, the tornadoes that occurred when surface sea temperatures were above average were usually to the west and north of tornado alley, the area in the U.S. Midwest that experiences more tornadoes than any other area.

Cooler sea surface temperatures saw more tornadoes tracked from southern states like Alabama into Tennessee, Illinois and Indiana, they said.

"Differences in sea temperatures influence the route of the jet stream as it passes over the Pacific and, eventually, to the United States," MU graduate student Laurel McCoy said. "Tornado-producing storms usually are triggered by, and will follow, the jet stream.

"This helps explain why we found a rise in the number of tornadoes and a change in their location when sea temperatures fluctuated."

"Now that we know the effects of [Pacific Ocean] cool and warm phases, weather forecasters have another tool to predict dangerous storms and inform the public of impending weather conditions," McCoy said.

© 2013 United Press International, Inc. All Rights Reserved. Any reproduction, republication, redistribution and/or modification of any UPI content is expressly prohibited without UPI's prior written consent.
Most Popular
1
Android phones to join iPhone in saying no to the police Android phones to join iPhone in saying no to the police
2
NASA launches project to get citizens involved in Mars exploration NASA launches project to get citizens involved in Mars exploration
3
Perth's first iPhone buyer immediately drops brand new phone on live TV Perth's first iPhone buyer immediately drops brand new phone on live TV
4
U.S. official warns of the multi-billion dollar cost of climate change U.S. official warns of the multi-billion dollar cost of climate change
5
Dogs are the favorite food of leopards in rural India Dogs are the favorite food of leopards in rural India
Trending News
Video
x
Feedback