How Pacific Ocean Temperatures are related to Tornado Locations?

Scientists have found a clear link between surface temperature of Pacific Ocean and the locations where tornadoes occur in the United States. Scientists were able to establish the above link after examining 56,457 tornado-like events, occurred between 1950 and 2011.

After analyzing data of six decades, a researcher at the University of Missouri was of the belief that when surface temperatures of Pacific Ocean were higher than average, 20.3% more tornadoes occurred that were measured as EF-2 to EF-5 on the Enhanced Fuijta (EF) Scale. The scale enables to measure the strength or violence of tornadoes based upon their intensity to cause damage.

It was also found that when the surface temperatures were cooler, more tornadoes occurred in southern states, like Alabama, Tennessee, Illinois and Indiana.

The study was conducted by Laurel McCoy, an atmospheric science graduate student at the MU School of Natural Resources, and Tony Lupo, professor and chair of atmospheric science in the College of Agriculture, Food and Natural Resources.

McCoy said that routes of jet streams are influenced while passing over the Pacific, as a result of difference in sea temperatures. He added, "Tornado-producing storms usually are triggered by, and will follow, the jet stream. This helps explain why we found a rise in the number of tornadoes and a change in their location when sea temperatures fluctuated".