Readers write: True rebellion?, weather patterns

Letters to the editor for the Jan. 2, 2017–Jan. 9, 2017 weekly magazine.

Bruce Robinson/UGC/AP
This image made from a video shows a tornado on Aug. 24, 2016, in Kokomo, Ind.

True rebellion?

Regarding election coverage in your Nov. 21 issue: Why the insistence that Donald Trump’s victory was a voter rebellion when more than 93 percent of incumbents were returned to Washington? That is hardly “draining the swamp.” 

Trump’s winning of the White House is unprecedented and historic, but as witnessed by the congressional results, certainly not a widespread voter rejection of the status quo.

Rick Soule

South Lake Tahoe, Calif.

Weather patterns

Regarding the Dec. 2 article “Is climate change behind the rise in extreme tornado outbreaks?” ( An ice age and a blizzard, a record drought and a hot summer day, the monsoon rains and a flash flood: climate and weather. Are each of these dual phenomena related? Sure. 

Does one predict the other? Not necessarily. Therein lies the difficulty with linking severe weather events, such as tornadoes, to climate change. 

Sure, climate change may increase the likelihood of such events, at least statistically, but that does not imply predictability. And linking climate change and weather is difficult to demonstrate empirically.

Climate change is a very real, human-driven phenomenon with potentially catastrophic and far-reaching consequences. However, we must be careful as scientists and journalists to not push the envelope too far, too quickly. 

Weather patterns, as any meteorologist would tell you, are incredibly hard to predict. This is especially true of severe weather, which by its very nature consists of rare and sudden events. The United States already has an incoming administration that doubts the legitimacy of climate change. Numerous articles such as this, while accurate, may delegitimize climate change in some minds. The last thing we need in this political atmosphere is to provide more ammunition to climate change skeptics.

Andrew Townsend

Austin, Texas

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