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Trans-Nino Years Could Foster Tornado Super Outbreaks

September 13, 2013

One tornado can be damaging enough; severe weather systems that spawn hundreds of deadly tornadoes in super-outbreaks pose special challenges to the scientific and emergency management communities. Now, scientists have identified certain conditions in the Pacific Ocean that may lead to super-outbreaks over the U.S.’ tornado alley.

Researchers are trying to determine if Trans-Niño years, which mark the onset or ebbing of El Niño and La Niña, are the main culprits behind the deadly super-outbreaks. According to the study, fueled by a powerfully interconnected global atmospheric system, as sea-surface temperatures in the Pacific shift the Jet Stream’s course during Trans-Niño years, favorable conditions for violent weather in the United States are created. Follow as EARTH Magazine explores the implications this study has for citizens of tornado alley in the September issue.

EARTH Magazine offers even more in the full issue, available on the digital newsstand, including stories on developing mineral resources in Afghanistan, a reinterpretation of the Bushveld magnetic record and the secret lives of passive margins: http://www.earthmagazine.org/digital.

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Source: American Geosciences Institute



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