Close this search box.

NOAA Hurricane Researcher’s study: Using 1940s observational methods, ‘only 2 of these [recent] 10 Cat 5s would have been recorded as Cat 5 if they had occurred during the late-1940s period’

By Paul Homewood

I see Michael Mann has been up to his tricks again!


Category 5 Hurricane Dorian tore through the Bahamas like a buzz saw last week, killing dozens of people and leaving a ruined, broken landscape.

It was the fifth Category 5 hurricane in the past four Atlantic hurricane seasons, joining other monsters such as Matthew, Irma, Maria and Michael, each of which left its own trail of death and destruction.

Is this part of a new trend? Could this be the “new normal”?

“I fear it’s worse than that,” Penn State University meteorologist Michael Mann said. “As we continue to warm the planet, hurricane intensities will increase further. There’s no new normal. It’s an ever-shifting baseline toward more destructive storms as long as we continue to burn fossil fuels and load the atmosphere with carbon pollution.”


Fortunately we don’t have to rely on Mann’s propaganda, as instead we actually have the facts:




While he makes a big play about the five Cat 5s since 2016, he forgets to mention that there were none at all between 2008 and 2015.

It is not uncommon to have two such storms in the same year, as we did two years ago with Irma and Maria. The same thing happened in successive years in 1932 and 1933.

And there were six Cat 5s altogether in the 1930s, compared to five since 2010. (Touch wood, there will be no more this season- the current outlook is hurricane free).

And, of course, this all assumes that we are comparing like with like. How many Cat 5s were missed in the pre-satellite period? The National Hurricane Center have attempted to re-analyse storm data from the past, but large gaps in knowledge still remain.

This is what leading hurricane researcher Chris Landsea, of NOAA’s National Hurricane Center, found in his 2012 paper, “On the Classification of Extreme Atlantic Hurricanes Utilizing Mid-Twentieth-Century Monitoring Capabilities”:


ABSTRACT: The present study focuses on the 10 most recent Category 5 hurricanes recorded in the Atlantic, from Hurricane Andrew (1992) through Hurricane Felix (2007). These 10 hurricanes are placed into the context of the technology available in the period of 1944–53, the first decade of aircraft reconnaissance. A methodology is created to determine how many of these 10 recent Category 5 hurricanes likely would have been recorded as Category 5 if they had occurred during this period using only the observations that likely would have been available with existing technology and observational networks. Late-1940s and early-1950s best-track intensities are determined for the entire lifetime of these 10 recent Category 5 hurricanes. It is found that likely only 2 of these 10—both Category 5 landfalling hurricanes—would have been recorded as Category 5 hurricanes if they had occurred during the late-1940s period. The results suggest that intensity estimates for extreme tropical cyclones prior to the satellite era are unreliable for trend and variability analysis.

To re-emphasise:

“It is found that likely only 2 of these 10—both Category 5 landfalling hurricanes—would have been recorded as Category 5 hurricanes if they had occurred during the late-1940s period.”

I strongly suspect that of the five recent ones since 2012, Matthew, Irma, Maria, Michael and Dorian, only Michael would have been recorded as a Cat 5, as it was the only one to make US landfall at peak strength.

Michael knows bugger all about hurricanes, or little else about climate for that matter. His claim to fame is his widely discredited Hockey Stick, itself based on shonky statistics..

Yet the media regularly turn to him for any matters related to climate change. It was only a few months ago that he appeared on the BBC’s Attenborough climate change programme, telling us how storms, floods and wildfires were worse than ever before. They were not and Mann had no especial knowledge about any of them.

If the BBC or US Today want to know about hurricanes, why don’t they talk to proper experts in the field, such as Chris Landsea?

Maybe, it’s because they won’t get the answers they want.