The climate crisis has reached a new level as March 2022 saw more tornadoes than in history, leaving scientists concerned over a dangerous increase in early-spring tornadoes – by a lot!
March 2022 sets records for most tornadoes in US history
As climate change continues to create record-shattering conditions for flooding, hurricanes, severe storms, wildfires, and more, add another record of concern to the list – the most tornadoes in March of any year since record-keeping began in 1950.
The average for tornadoes had long been about 80 in March.
But starting in 2016, the number of March tornadoes began to climb, reaching 93. The activity in the three prior years was far below average: 13 in 2015, 25 in 2014, and 18 in 2013, according to NCDC, CNN reported.
In 2017 the number of tornadoes in March shot was the third-highest level in history with 187, over double the average.
In 2018, a below-average dip of 62 tornadoes. But after that, March has seen 100 tornadoes or more every year since. In 2019, 145 tornadoes. In 2020, 101 tornadoes. In 2021, the second-most active year saw 191 tornadoes.
Now, in 2022, the number of tornadoes reached a disturbing new threshold, soaring past 200 for the first time in history, tallying a total of 214 tornadoes, and beginning to approach triple the average number for March.
Scientists: Climate change altering weather patterns
Scientists highly suspect that the factor playing a major role in the timing and location of severe weather is the climate crisis. Scientists believe the changing climate is altering the typical atmospheric patterns of moisture and instability.
“Our future projections of how severe weather may change in the future are really showing two things,” Victor Gensini, one of the country’s top tornado experts, told CNN. “They kind of show an earlier start to the severe weather season – so more severe weather in February, more severe weather in March – and then also sort of this eastward increase.”
Severe weather seasons are starting earlier
The number of tornadoes is ramping up, but the start of tornado and hurricane seasons is beginning sooner. As a result, what used to be peak levels are occurring sooner, which might mean that even higher levels of intensity could occur during peak months as well.
The same trend has been seen in the Atlantic hurricane season. For the past seven consecutive years, the Atlantic hurricane season has kicked off in May ahead of its official start date of June 1.
The National Hurricane Center (NHC) said it would start issuing its Atlantic tropical weather outlook updates on May 15 rather than June 1. Despite this, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) said it had no plans to change the start date last year, the Clarion Ledger reported.