Global warming to blame for Midwest tornadoes and thunderstorms?

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Michael Bastasch DCNF Managing Editor
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Global warming has been blamed for dozens of devastating tornadoes and thunderstorms that ravaged America’s Midwest this weekend.

Former United Nations adviser and economist Jeffrey Sachs tweeted out Sunday night that the severe storms that hit Illinois on Sunday were the result of human-induced global warming.

Weather tragedy in Illinois. Research shows human-induced warming is likely to lead to more severe thunderstorms.

— Jeffrey D. Sachs (@JeffDSachs) November 18, 2013

Today’s tornadoes in Illinois were very uncommon in number and severity for the month of November. Not unprecedented, but very uncommon.

— Jeffrey D. Sachs (@JeffDSachs) November 18, 2013

Sachs, now the director of the Earth Institute at Columbia University, also said that Typhoon Haiyan, which ravaged the Philippines earlier this month, was partly caused by energy policies. He tweeted out that fossil fuel companies and climate deniers had “blood on their hands.”

“We’re causing this because there are more and more of these storms, because of the way that humanity is changing the world’s environment,” Sachs told MSNBC’s Morning Joe. “This kind of event will happen more frequently unless we change the way we run our energy system. This is what humanity is doing. This is very, very hard to come to grips with.”

Climate liars like Rupert Murdoch & Koch Brothers have more & more blood on their hands as climate disasters claim lives across world.

— Jeffrey D. Sachs (@JeffDSachs) November 10, 2013

However, Sach’s claims of extreme weather being driven by global warming run up against mounting evidence that weather has not gotten more extreme as more greenhouse gases are emitted from burning fossil fuels.

“Hurricanes have not increased in the U.S. in frequency, intensity or normalized damage since at least 1900,” University of Colorado scientist Roger Pielke testified before the Senate. “The same holds for tropical cyclones globally since at least 1970.”

“It is misleading and just plain incorrect to claim that disasters associated with hurricanes, tornadoes, floods or droughts have increased on climate timescales either in the United States or globally,” Pielke said.

Tornadoes and thunderstorms swept through the Midwest Sunday, devastating whole towns and leaving six people dead in Illinois.

The Chicago Tribune reports that thousands of Bears fans were forced to evacuate their Soldier Field seats and take cover inside the stadium or behind its massive stone colonnades.

“Weather doesn’t get more extreme than this in Illinois very often,” said Matt Friedlein, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service.

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