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Policy: Environment & Energy

Data shows dramatically less, not more, extreme weather in 2013

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Beltway Confidential,Mark Tapscott,Climate Change,Energy and Environment,Global Warming,Weather

Being the end of December, journalists are scrambling to come up with fresh content for their sites during the slowest news period of the year.

That's why readers encounter so many "Year in Review" and "Best of 2013" posts between Christmas and New Year's.

In that spirit, here's a YIR post that runs counter to a common theme in the liberal precincts of the mainstream media — there were fewer tornados in 2013, not more, as global warming advocates often claim.

Among the most prominent of such advocates is Senate Environment and Public Works Committee Chairman Barbara Boxer of California.

Here's what she during a May 21 floor speech following a devastating twister that killed 50 people in Oklahoma:

“This is climate change. We were warned about extreme weather: not just hot weather, but extreme weather.

"When I had my hearings, when I had the gavel years ago — it’s been a while — the scientists all agreed that what we’d start to see was extreme weather.

“You’re going to have tornadoes and all the rest. We need to protect our people,” Boxer said on the Senate floor.

“That’s our No. 1 obligation and we have to deal with this threat that is upon us and that is gonna get worse and worse through the years.”

Boxer's solution? A carbon tax on fossil fuels like coal, oil and natural gas. That's standard fare public policy among global warming advocates.

The problem is that 2013 is proving to be among the years with the fewest number of tornados on record, according to data compiled by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's Storm Prediction Center in Norman, Okla.

There have been 940 tornadoes in the U.S. between Jan. 1 and Dec. 23. Since 2000, the only year with fewer tornados was 2002, with 938.

The year with the highest number of tornados was 2011, with 1,894. There were 1,119 in 2012.

The May 20 tornado that destroyed much of Moore, Okla., was an EF5, according to NOAA, with winds around 300 mph.

That's the deadliest kind of tornado. The Moore EF5 was the only one of its strength level anywhere in the U.S. in 2013.

There were six EF5s in 2011, seven in 1974 and five in 1953, the first year for which NOAA has such records.

Bottom line? "Much to the chagrin of man-made global warming activists who want to tie every weather event to so called ‘global weirding', 2013 has turned out to be one of the 'least extreme' weather years in U.S. history," said Marc Morano, a global warming critic.

And it's not just in the tornado category in which global warming advocates appear to be off with predictions that weather is becoming more extreme.

Morano also points to the analysis of SI Organization, Inc., a company that does weather analysis for the Department of Defense.

According to an Oct. 18 SI analysis, "the good news is that weather-related disasters in the U.S. are all way down this year, compared to recent years, and, in some cases, down to historically low levels."

There were fewer wildfires in 2013, as well as fewer days with 100 degree or higher temperatures and fewer hurricanes.

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