Experts say a warm winter in the South is likely to have fueled the recent tornado outbreak, which has been the most active ever.
According to the National Weather Service, there have been 478 reports of tornadoes this year in 25 states. At this point, only 2008 (523 tornado reports) and 2017 (503) had more.
Research is underway to determine if and how tornadoes will change as the world warms. More data is required. A picture of how the risks are changing in different parts of the nation is beginning to emerge, especially where social factors increase vulnerability to extreme weather.
Harold Brooks is a senior researcher at the National Severe Storms Laboratory of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. He believes that the mild winter conditions across the United States are partly responsible for the active start to this year.
Early spring is marked by an increase in atmospheric instability due to a warmer-than-normal winter. This can lead to severe storms and tornadoes.
Brooks explained that if you don't have cold fronts crossing the Gulf of Mexico, you only need a small amount of wind to bring warm moist air in. This has been an unusually mild winter. Cold fronts haven't reached the south. "The southern part of the U.S. wasn't particularly cold this winter."
Tornadoes in South are more common in cooler months, such as late fall and winter into early spring. This is also why the South may become more susceptible as the climate warms.
According to a study published in the Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society last week, supercell storms that can produce violent tornadoes will increase with global warming. According to research, these storms will also hit Southern states such as Alabama, Mississippi, and Tennessee more often in the future.