As NewsBusters reported moments ago, ABC's "World News" on Monday did a segment attempting to tie this year's tornado season to global warming.
Quite comically, some of the fear-mongering tornado data in this report was contradicted by ABC News's own website Monday (video follows with partial transcript and commentary):
JIM AVILA: Tony Evans is helping his friend clean up today in Minneapolis after yet another destructive tornado in this, the deadliest season in 58 years.
TONY EVANS: We've been taking the Earth for granted, you know, now I guess it's paying us back.
AVILA: Hit by the big three tornado outbreaks of 2011. First, mid-April, 24 people die in North Carolina. Then Tuscaloosa, Alabama, later that month, ground zero for a line of tornadoes that killed more than 300. And now at least 116 dead in Joplin. Are we imagining it or are there actually more tornadoes this year? The answer is a dramatic yes. 1,000 and counting so far, compared to 500 in an average year. And these are of the deadly variety -- 50 killer tornadoes so far this year, more than double the normal 20.
I guess the folks at "World News" didn't read the report filed at their own website Monday:
Is the death toll in 2011 significantly higher than previous years?
Short Answer: Yes. The average death toll is normally 60 to 70.
Meteorologist Greg Carbin: "In the past decade the average annual death toll from tornadoes has been around 60 to 70 people. The average killer tornado claims about two lives and so what's going on this year is something well above that. ... We're now approaching about 500 fatalities for the year to date, just under that. That is something we have not experienced in this country in over 35 years and it still looks like we're still around the number nine as far as the deadliest year on record. So there have been many years in the past over the past couple of generations in which we've exceeded 500 fatalities in a year, it's just that they haven't occurred recently."
Readers are reminded that Avila claimed this was "the deadliest season in 58 years." The lead forecaster at the National Weather Service's National Severe Storm Laboratory said (with emphasis), "That is something we have not experienced in this country in over 35 years and it still looks like we're still around the number nine as far as the deadliest year on record. So there have been many years in the past over the past couple of generations in which we've exceeded 500 fatalities in a year, it's just that they haven't occurred recently
Somewhat different than what Avila reported, wouldn't you agree? But there's more:
Have there been more tornadoes in 2011 than previous years?
Short Answer: No, the tornadoes are just hitting populated areas.
Carbin: "There is no indication of an upward trend in either intensity or numbers. We've had a lot more reports of tornadoes, but most of those tornadoes are actually the weak tornadoes, the F-0. When you take out the F-0 tornadoes from the long-term record, there is very little increase in the total number of tornadoes, and we don't see any increase in the number of violent tornadoes. It's just that these things are coming, and they're very rare and extreme, and they happen to be hitting populated areas. So right now, no indication of an upward trend in the strong to violent tornadoes that we're seeing."
Avila said to his own question "Are there actually more tornadoes this year," "The answer is a dramatic yes." Yet the expert cited at ABCNEWS.com claimed, "There is no indication of an upward trend in either intensity or numbers."
It seems at ABC News, one hand doesn't know what the other is doing.
(H/T NB reader Jonathan Pryor)