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Tornado Outbreaks On The Rise, Leave Scientists Perplexed

First Posted: Dec 03, 2016 03:30 AM EST

A single tornado can cause a lot of damage. Imagine having many of them in just a matter of days. Over the past week, a group of about three dozen tornadoes struck the Southeast. Now, scientists are left perplexed as they try to figure out what is happening.

In the latest report by the Weather Channel, seven people were killed during a multi-day outbreak of potentially fatal storms and tornadoes that left a path of destruction. Three individuals in a mobile home were killed in Alabama when a big tornado touched down in Rosalie. Another one in the home was severely injured.

A similar scenario occurred in Tennessee as four individuals were killed, at least 12 others were injured during the tornado bout. Other states like Mississippi, Georgia, South Carolina, Florida and Louisiana reported twisters and severe weather conditions.

Could It Be Because Of Climate Change?

A new study by researchers at the Columbia University revealed a disturbing conclusion about the worst of these outbreaks. With the worsening outbreaks of tornadoes, they found a link between these severe weather conditions and climate change.

Published in the journal Science, the researchers looked into what might be causing the trend. Scientists who study climate change suspect that the warming temperatures may have an effect on how many tornadoes will form.

Scientists who study climate suspect that warming temperatures may affect how many tornadoes people get. After all, warmer, wetter conditions are like priming the tornado pump. However, Michael Tippett said that based on the findings of the study, he is not seeing a connection between climate chance and these bigger outbreaks.

"This study raises new questions about what climate change will do to severe thunderstorms and what is responsible for recent trends," Tippett, study author, said in a press release by Phys.org.

"The fact that we don't see the presently understood meteorological signature of global warming in changing outbreak statistics leaves two possibilities: either the recent increases are not due to a warming climate, or a warming climate has implications for tornado activity that we don't understand. This is an unexpected finding," he added.

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