A potentially high-impact study sponsored by NOAA CPO’s Modeling, Analysis, Prediction, and Projections (MAPP) program titled “Influence of the El Niño/Southern Oscillation on tornado and hail frequency in the United States” was published online in Nature Geoscience on March 19.
This research by John T. Allen (International Research Institute for Climate and Society/Columbia University), Michael K. Tippett (Center of Excellence for Climate Change Research/Columbia University), and Adam H. Sobel (Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory/Columbia University) points to a relationship between El Niño/La Niña events and tornado and hail frequency during the winter and spring, providing a potential source for severe thunderstorm prediction months in advance.
More hail events and tornadoes tend to occur over the central U.S. during La Niña, while fewer occur during El Niño states; thus, the occurrence of El Niño or La Niña in winter could help forecast severe thunderstorm activity through the winter and early spring. CPO/MAPP’s support of this research serves as an example of OAR’s continuing efforts to advance the weather-climate connection.
To access this paper, go to: http://www.nature.com/ngeo/journal/vaop/ncurrent/full/ngeo2385.html.
Americans’ health, security and economic wellbeing are tied to climate and weather. Every day, we see communities grappling with environmental challenges due to unusual or extreme events related to climate and weather. In 2011, the United States experienced a record high number (14) of climate- and weather-related disasters where overall costs reached or exceeded $1 billion. Combined, these events claimed 670 lives, caused more than 6,000 injuries, and cost $55 billion in damages. Businesses, policy leaders, resource managers and citizens are increasingly asking for information to help them address such challenges.
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