After last months outbreak of tornadoes across the south - the largest number of tornadoes in a single outbreak in US history -- 304 according to NOAA -- many folks are talking about not replacing downed trees and/or cutting down the surviving trees as they see them as a danger. However, according to research, that would be a big mistake as it would actually give tornadoes a huge advantage and put human life at even greater risk.
Similar to wetlands' beneficial quality of absorbing a hurricanes energy and reducing it's impact on areas further inland, forests have a similar affect on absorbing the energy of tornadoes.
Also, an urban forest creates evaporative cooling which reduces the urban heat island affect - energy that feeds a supercell.
And if the increase & severity of tornadoes has anything to do with climate change, then forests ability to store carbon are beneficial from that perspective as well. A win, win, win.
A tornado is literally just the tail-end of a huge supercell, swirling monster of a storm that soars up to 50,000 feet into the sky -- what we see on the ground is the tip of the iceberg.
When a funnel cloud on the ground encounters a densely forested area, the energy of the funnel cloud is often actually dissipated by the forests, enough to break up the funnel.
Humans have an amazing ability to manipulate the environment to our benefit, however sometimes what we think is a good thing - in this case, cutting down 'dangerous' trees, we are actually creating an environment that feeds supercells storms even more energy, via increased urban heat islands -- and eliminating a natural wall of defense against the energy of tornadoes.
Therefore, we must not only be replacing the trees downed by the recent storms but we must also build up dense forests within and surrounding our communities to help blunt the energy impact of tornado outbreaks on us and on future generations.
So get out this weekend and plant some trees, and support the great organizations around the nation and region that work hard to buildup our forest canopy - National Arbor Day Foundation, American Forests, and Trees Atlanta & for a list of other non-profit tree planting organizations around the country, click here.
Blue Smoke Coffee donates to American Forests to offset our carbon footprint -- American Forests plants a tree for every dollar donated. To date, an estimated 500 trees have been planted as a result of Blue Smoke's donations.
And in when purchased in Atlanta, Blue Smoke's Canopy blend benefits Trees Atlanta, which has been working for 25 years to protect & restore Atlanta's forest Canopy -- Blue Smoke can be purchased in Atlanta at these fine, locally owned stores: Candler Park Market, Savi Urban Market, & Return to Eden.