tornadoWe have known for a while that global warming is making our weather more extreme, especially extreme heat, drought, heavy rainfall, and flooding. Now we have more predictions:

NASA scientists have developed a new climate model that indicates that the most violent severe storms and tornadoes may become more common as Earth’s climate warms.

Perhaps that is why we have been setting records for tornados lately. This is especially bad news for this country because, as the study notes: "The central/east U.S. experiences the most severe thunderstorms and tornadoes on Earth."

The full study, “Will moist convection be stronger in a warmer climate?” was published in Geophysical Research Letters (subs. req’d) earlier this month (here the abstract). The research has mixed implications for wildfires:

For the western United States, drying in the warmer climate reduces the frequency of lightning-producing storms that initiate forest fires, but the strongest storms occur 26 percent more often.

What does this mean?

"These findings may seem to imply that fewer storms in the future will be good news for disastrous western U.S. wildfires," said Tony Del Genio, lead author of the study and a scientist at NASA’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies, New York. "But drier conditions near the ground combined with higher lightning flash rates per storm may end up intensifying wildfire damage instead."

The bottom line: The weather is getting more extreme, human-caused global warming is the main reason, and if we don’t act soon to reduce emissions, we ain’t seen nothin’ yet.

This post was created for ClimateProgress.org, a project of the Center for American Progress Action Fund.