New research shows how climate change may be shifting tornadoes

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INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. -- People in central Indiana are still cleaning up after Monday's sporadic tornadoes. But a new study out of Purdue says the center of tornado activity in the U.S. is shifting and climate change could be to blame.

This research comes as caretakers at the Union Lutheran Cemetery in Zionsville say they have no idea how they're going to cope with Mother Nature's wrath.

"In my opinion it's going to take us at least a month, a month to clean this mess up," Henry Medjesky said.

Headstones were damaged and graves buried beneath uprooted trees. Monday's storms left behind a mess they simply don't have the man power to clean up.

"We are looking for anybody with chainsaws, weed whackers, we could even use financial help, physical labor,"  Medjesky said.

A Purdue University research team is looking at their own data. Tornado records from 1984-2013 show our climate has gotten warmer and tornado alley has shifted east and south.

"From 1984-2013 we were somewhat surprised to find the new center was around Alabama and surrounding areas and there had been substantial declines in the traditional tornado alley much as 30-40%," Atmospheric Science Professor, Erine Agee said.

And for Indiana, we're seeing the same amount of tornadoes but more storms later in the year.

"That's averaging more tornadoes for Indiana for autumn. Folks in Indiana may remember the tornadoes we've had in say November. November 17, 2013, 30 tornadoes in Indiana that day," Agee said.

Researchers think climate change and more greenhouse gas emission could be to blame, but more research is needed.

"It's an unsolved scientific question at the present. We have the power of the statistics that say there's a change," Agee said.

Henry and his partner say in the meantime they're looking for solutions to put the cemetery back together again.

"We have some big stones out here. We don't have the equipment to pick them up and put them back where they belong and so I don't know what we're going to do."

If you'd like to help or contribute to the Union Lutheran Cemetery you can contact the caretakers at 317-403-1843