Moore is not ok

May 21, 2013

gA bit of ground fog and high overcast this early Tuesday on California’s north coast — and quiet, too.
Weather, though, ain’t the same everywhere.

Yesterday in Oklahoma: The preliminary rating of the tornado that hit Moore at 3:17 p.m. CT (4:17 p.m. ET) was put at EF-4, which means wind speeds from 166 to 200 mph, the National Weather Service said.
Latest reports indicate at least 91 people have died, with a lot of folks still missing — and at least 20 children dead after the twister completely flattened an elementary school.

And The Weather Channel this morning predicts the dangerous-shit weather will continue from Texas to the Mississippi Valley, Ohio Valley and into the Great Lakes carrying with it hail, damaging wind gusts and tornadoes.

(Illustration: John Stewart Curry’s ‘Tornado Over Kansas‘ (1929)  found here).

The twister that hit Moore was supposedly more than a mile wide at its base — that’s one big sonofabitch, and one huge destroy arc. In the last 24 hours, there’s been a shitload of videos on the Internet on the tornado, all catching some vital part of the CGI-like funnel cloud groping is destructive path across the landscape. Oddly frightening is the tiny bursts of transformers exploding in the twister’s path.
Reportedly, four different tornadoes touched down in Oklahoma during the onslaught, with others in Iowa, Kansas and western Illinois — big spawned devastation field.
One of the most graphic videos is a time-lapse look at the path of the Moore twister, found via ShortFormBlog — and as stated there, it’s both “…stunning and terrifying..”
And what’s even more terrifying is more of the same is coming down the twisted pike in the near-future, which really is now. In the wake of this a lot of people are scrambling about tying these kinds of weather to climate change, which is the reality of what’s real nowadays.
The folks at Grist  can’t say for certain the Oklahoma twister is attributed to climate change or not, but it doesn’t help:

But the science on tornadoes and climate change isn’t clear enough to OMFG about it just yet.
As Grist’s John Upton reported recently, the number of twisters has been roller-coastering up and down from year to year.
“It certainly feels like one of those boom-bust weather cycles that we expect from climate change.
But there doesn’t appear to be any evidence directly linking the recent tornado cycle to global warming.”

Post-Superstorm Sandy, we’ve entered a kind of fugue state when it comes to natural disaster, forgetting that there has been a long history of extreme weather events that sometimes have nothing to do with how much carbon is in our atmosphere.
For as disastrous as Sandy was, be honest: You relished pointing out that climate change connection.

We really like to find reason in chaos, though, and we also like to blame things!
At one point today there were several little kids trapped in the rubble of a building in Moore, Oklahoma that earlier today was their elementary school.
If we can’t blame climate change, who can we blame?
Maybe scientists will conclude that this really is the fault of that atmospheric carbon.
Maybe they won’t! For now, at least, the only thing I’ll be blaming for this mess is Sarah Palin.
Because, you know.

Grizzly-head Palin noodled off again: “Global warming my gluteus maximus,” she wrote in a post on her Facebook page, adding a small dose of politics to a picture of her youngest daughter Piper in the snow after graduation. “This is what ‘Grad Blast’ means in Alaska! We’ll move our graduation b-b-q indoors and watch the mini-blizzard from ’round the fireplace.”
You betcha!

Climate change and individual weather is a complex situation, one even the environmental brainiacs don’t understand, or can conclusively put on notice.
Via ScienceDaily in August 2007:

This information can be derived from the temperatures and humidities predicted by a climate computer model, according to the new study published on August 17 in the American Geophysical Union’s Geophysical Research Letters.
It predicts that in a warmer climate, stronger and more severe storms can be expected, but with fewer storms overall.

Less storms, but bigger one when they did form.
And this from Wunderground this past weekend:

So Brooks and others are looking at the ingredients that cause tornadoes.
But even that isn’t simple.
They look at two main factors: moist energy in the atmosphere and wind shear.
Wind shear is the difference between wind at high altitudes and wind near the surface.
The more moist energy and greater the wind shear, the better the chances for tornadoes.
The atmosphere can hold more moisture as it warms, and it will likely be more unstable so that means more moist energy, several experts said.
But wind shear is another matter.
Brooks and Stanford University scientist Noah Diffenbaugh think there will be less of that.
That would suggest fewer tornadoes.
But if there’s more moist energy, that could lead to more tornadoes.
One ingredient has to win out, and Brooks says it’s hard to tell which one will.
Diffenbaugh says recent computer simulations show the moist energy may overcome the reduced shear and produce at least more severe thunderstorms, if not tornadoes.
Given what’s happening lately, Brooks believes there will be fewer days of tornadoes but more twisters on the days when they occur.

One huge problem, however, is not nature — it’s human assholes.
And from the link to the John Stewart Curry artwork above, a comment: Many people from Kansas did not like the painting because they thought this painting made Kansas look like a dangerous place.
Dangerous are Oklahoma’s two US senators, Tom Coburn and Jim Inhofe — both are oil men and both climate-change deniers, Inhofe may be the biggest asshole in the Senate, with Coburn breathing hot air down his neck with a balanced budget:

CQ Roll Call reporter Jennifer Scholtes wrote for CQ.com Monday evening that Coburn said he would “absolutely” demand offsets for any federal aid that Congress provides.
Coburn added, Scholtes wrote, that it is too early to guess at a damage toll but that he knows for certain he will fight to make sure disaster funding that the federal government contributes is paid for.
It’s a position he has taken repeatedly during his career when Congress debates emergency funding for disaster aid.
Scholtes points out that Coburn was one of 36 Republican senators who voted against disaster funding for Superstorm Sandy in January.

Even as the planet goes to pieces, even more assholes appear.

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