“The changes there are huge but almost certainly due to reporting changes,” said Harold Brooks, a scientist with the National Severe Storms Laboratory who studies tornadoes and other severe weather with hail or high winds.
Some areas are prone to the ferocious storms, but it’s impossible to know exactly when or where they will occur, making them difficult to count. If they pass quickly, do no damage, or occur in an area with few or no people, they may not be counted at all.
Even when they are spotted, the mechanism for reporting the storms is ad hoc.
Tornadoes recorded by the National Climatic Data Center are documented variously by trained spotters, newspaper accounts, utility workers, pilots, the general public, fire fighters, police and others.
Climatologists and meteorologists now benefit from tools such Doppler radar, but advances in technology may mean that weaker tornadoes are more likely to be reported.
Such circumstances make it difficult to say with any certainty whether the frequency of tornadoes has increased over time, or whether storm reporting has simply gotten better.
If people report tornados and population is increasing, then the number of tornadoes will increase just from population growth. I decided to try to estimate that relationship so I went to the NCDC, searched for tornado and clicked on Historical Records and Trends. Here is the first image I see:
Here is what the NCDC says about the lack of trend:
With increased National Doppler radar coverage, increasing population, and greater attention to tornado reporting, there has been an increase in the number of tornado reports over the past several decades. This can create a misleading appearance of an increasing trend in tornado frequency. To better understand the variability and trend in tornado frequency in the United States, the total number of EF-1 and stronger, as well as strong to violent tornadoes (EF-3 to EF-5 category on the Enhanced Fujita scale) can be analyzed. These tornadoes would have likely been reported even during the decades before Doppler radar use became widespread and practices resulted in increasing tornado reports. The bar charts below indicate there has been little trend in the frequency of the stronger tornadoes over the past 55 years.
Don't you hate it when the weatherman gets it wrong? Apparently, so does Kim Jong Un.
According to state-run newspaper Rodong Sinmun, the North Korean leader has been touring meteorological facilities in his country complaining that there are "too many incorrect" weather forecasts.
As further proof of the supreme leader's extreme displeasure, the Rodong Sinmun report includes photos of a red-faced Kim chastising what appear to be sheepish meteorological personnel.
The wording of the report is a little unclear at times, but it claims Kim's concerns about the weather relate to its potential impact on the economy.
Blaming outdated equipment and scientific method, the young leader stressed a need for accurate forecasts to protect people's lives and property from "abnormal climatic phenomenon" (sic) and to safeguard industries like agriculture and fisheries from natural disasters in a timely manner, according to Rodong Sinmun.
Seeing this post on Vox got me thinking - I wonder how housing prices vary in response to disaster risk when the risk is forecasted over a longer term rather than a shorter term? I've read a bit of the literature on the housing price response to hurricane risk and climate change-based flood risk (from a certain blogger here as well as my undergraduate advisor no less) and covered some basics but I don't think I've seen a comparative study.
It seems that short term risk predictions would be more likely to be internalized in the price. For one, disasters such as hurricanes seem to strike more often so they're often more salient in homeowners' minds. Additionally, many of the predictions often comprise of statements such as "more intense hurricanes are likely to hit X area over the next 8 years," which seems a little more digestable than "there is a 56.2% chance of having a huge earthquake somewhere in your relative vicinity over the next 50 years" which is how many earthquake studies read.
Given the housing prices in the San Francisco Bay Area, where I live, I find it hard to believe that climate change risk and earthquake risk are being appropriately priced into the housing stock around here. That being said, it is also entirely possible that there are governmental programs that are distorting risk pricing as well. Discount rates could play into this as well - I suppose many people will just discount away any risk beyond some threshold (see here for what economists tend to think about discount rates in comparison to observed discount rates).
If anyone has a good place to point me for articles comparing short run and long run distaster risks and how (or if) it is priced into housing stocks, I would be grateful for the reading!
Gov. Pat McCrory said Wednesday he’d like to improve salaries for all of the state’s educators eventually, including veteran teachers, community college instructors and university faculty. But he said that will depend on the state’s future revenue picture.
Immediately, he said, the focus is on raising base pay for early career teachers to $35,000 by 2016 – a plan he announced last month.
“There has been no strategy on education compensation for the last decade,” McCrory added. “It’s just been dealt with year by year, and the last five years with almost no pay raises. So part of our goal is to have a long-term strategy on how we compensate our teachers.”
Still, he cautioned, “We cannot make that commitment until we know the money is available.”
McCrory said the budget forecast isn’t even clear for the upcoming fiscal year and could be affected by higher Medicaid expenses and lower tax collections because of the recent winter storms. ...
UNC President Tom Ross said the university system is producing 8,500 additional degree earners now compared with 2007-08, yet spending 18 percent less to do it. The UNC system has sustained more than $600 million in recurring cuts during that period, he said. Part of the system’s budget request for next year includes money to keep top professors.
This is the second time Gov. McCrory has blamed the cold weather for not wanting to give raises to teachers and professors (here is a link to the first one). I've Google Scholared all sorts of "weather" and "taxes" combinations and can't find anything in the literature that suggests that bad weather affects tax collections in the long run. There is nothing on this in the short run either but there is anecdotal evidence that people don't spend much money when they are locked in the house due to bad weather. What might surprise you is that once people are released from their weather prison they go shopping and tax collections go back up!
It will be interesting to see how long the long term university faculty pay strategy takes to develop. In the interim, faculty are leaving for other jobs.
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