In the last two decades, tornadoes in the southern region of the U.S. have grown in numbers and in intensity. Now, researchers are trying to discover why these changes are happening so quickly.
Some researchers believe that climate change has led to extreme weather conditions that are resulting in more intense tornados, but scientists haven’t come to an agreement on why the number of tornadoes are growing.
A few days ago a huge tornado struck in Alabama and Georgia, killing at least 23 people, reports PBS, and destroying countless homes and businesses in the 30-mile region.
Tornadoes, researchers say, are hard to study and therefore to predict, because of their brevity and small-scale, when compared to other natural disasters. Whether climate change will play a key role in how frequently and intensely tornadoes will carry out in the future is uncertain to researchers.
Overall patterns from recent analyses, however, found that tornadoes are moving to the Midwest and Southeast, which could be problematic if they reach areas with greater densities of people, reports PBS. Furthermore, these small changes in tornado frequency and movement have coincided with warming ocean temperatures, which could indicate that climate change is causing these changes.
“Except no one knows for sure,” reports PBS.
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