NewScientist coverWith a cover that makes Twister look like a heartwarming inspirational flick, the August 2 issue of NewScientist asks if global warming is to blame for the flurry of tornadoes earlier this year. Chris Mooney, author of Storm World: Hurricanes, Politics, and the Battle Over Global Warming, reports that 148 tornadoes hit the U.S. in February of this year, twice as many as the previous record-holding February (in 1971), and that May of this year saw a whopping 595 tornadoes.

But is there a scientific justification for the suggested link between climate change and increased tornadoes? “As politicians and bloggers stampede to link the 2008 tornado season to global warming, it remains questionable whether science can supply much justification,” Mooney writes. “[H]istorical records of tornadoes do not currently support the idea that global warming is leading to more tornadoes, or more intense ones. This does not mean that global warming is not affecting tornadoes, just that we cannot say either way.”

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