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May-June 2012

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Weather Front

Tornado Futures

While no one will ever be able to pencil in a tornado on their calendar, Michael Tippett and his colleagues have developed a tool for predicting general tornado activity a month in advance.

Tippett is a climate scientist at Columbia University's International Research Institute for Climate and Society (IRI). He and his team reviewed 30 years of data, looking for patterns between short-term climate trends and the occurrence of tornados. Their work revealed two parameters of rain and wind that correlated with monthly tornado activity.

KIMBRA CUTLIP is a freelance writer and former assistant editor for Weatherwise.

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