A new study provides some of the first documented evidence that the risk of big, concentrated tornado outbreaks is on the rise. The lead author, Florida State tornado expert James Elsner, told me, “I think our results suggest a climate change signal on U.S. tornado activity.”

If these results hold up, it will be like an F5 twister hitting the contentious tornado-climate discussion. Or maybe it will be like multiple supertornadoes hitting it, kind of like the new movie, “Into The Storm,” which, coincidentally enough, opens Friday.

Dr. Kevin Trenberth, the former head of the Climate Analysis Section of the National Center for Atmospheric Research, emailed me that “the study is plausible.” Both Trenberth and another top climatologist, Dr. Michael Mann, agree that:

This latest study provides further evidence for what many climate scientists have already surmised: that climate change is substantially altering the atmospheric environment in which thunderstorms and tornadoes form, increasing risk of major tornado outbreaks when conditions are ripe.

Mann adds, “The findings, moreover, undermine the claim made by some contrarians that human-caused climate change will reduce tornado activity and risk.”

Source: Climate Progress