How climate change made the Mississippi tornadoes more likely

How Climate Change Made The Mississippi Tornadoes More Likely

A recent study by researchers at Northern Illinois University has uncovered a connection between climate change and deadly tornadoes such as the ones that ravaged Mississippi over the weekend. This discovery challenges the conventional wisdom that tornadoes are not affected by climate change. In this article, we will explore the study’s findings and how they relate to the frequency and intensity of tornadoes across the United States, particularly in the South.

Tornadoes and Supercell Storms

Supercell storms are precursors to tornadoes and are typically the result of a warm, moist atmosphere. Researchers analyzed data from the past 15 years and found that as the planet warms, supercell storms will increase in frequency and intensity, resulting in more tornadoes. The research also indicates that tornadoes will move eastward from Tornado Alley in the Great Plains, where they have been most active for decades, to states in the mid-South region, such as Mississippi, Louisiana, and Arkansas.

The Connection Between Climate Change and Tornadoes

Establishing a connection between climate change and tornadoes has been a challenge due to the size of tornadoes and the difficulty in measuring them. Unlike hurricanes, tornadoes require stronger winds, which are weakened by climate change. However, the latest research indicates that even with weaker winds, other factors resulting from climate change can make tornadoes more intense.

William Gallus, a professor of meteorology at Iowa State University, stated that the added ingredient of more heat and moisture due to climate change will influence what happens and could potentially lead to worse tornado outbreaks. Although there could be fewer days with tornadoes, those days could feature stronger or multiple tornadoes. This presents an ongoing problem for residents of the mid-South region where housing stock is less secure and the area is more densely populated.

The Impact on Mississippi

A recent series of lethal twisters tore through Mississippi, destroying towns like Rolling Fork and Silver City and severely affecting people in the capital city of Jackson. The study showed that supercell storms have increased across the United States but have had a greater impact in the South, particularly around the mid-South region.

“It’s not just the simple idea that the bullseye of most tornadoes is moving east,” said Gallus. “What’s bad is it’s moving into a part of the country where people tend to [be] more vulnerable to tornadoes. So the risk of injury and death is higher in those areas.”


The latest research conducted by Northern Illinois University has demonstrated that climate change can make tornadoes more intense and frequent, challenging the conventional belief that there is no connection between the two. As the planet warms, supercell storms will become more common and will move eastward, affecting residents in the mid-South region of the United States. Although the connection between tornadoes and climate change is still in its early stages, this research presents a new challenge for policymakers and residents to address the issue of climate change and its effects.