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More Disinformation From UEA’s Prof Williamson

September 12, 2017

By Paul Homewood


h/t Joe Public


From the failed Independent:


The horrifying weather that has swept over the Atlantic is just a light example of things to come, according to researchers.

The Americas have been hit by three destructive hurricanes in recent weeks: Harvey, Irma and then Jose. That is not simply a coincidence, say climate experts – instead, it is a demonstration of global warming in action.

Scientists have already warned that the response to the recent hurricanes shows how terrifying unprepared the world is for the kind of extreme weather events that will become more and more common as the Earth gets hotter.

But they warn also that the combination of the hurricanes is a particular warning about the damage being done to the environment. What’s more, the weather effects that usually slowed the damage caused by such a run of hurricanes is likely to stop – meaning not simply that we will get more dangerous hurricanes, but they are more likely than ever to chain together in this way.

"Perhaps Harvey was happenstance, and Irma could be coincidence," said Philip Williamson, NERC Science Coordinator at University of East Anglia. "But Jose following close behind has to be climate change in action. Damaging hurricanes, cyclones and typhoons occur in tropical parts of the world, at the time of year when the sea is warmest. So if the world gets warmer still, the risk increases – it’s as simple as that.


Philip Williamson seems to make a habit of misleading the public, for instance a Spectator article a couple of months ago. Maybe that is the purpose of his job, whatever it is that a Science Coordinator is supposed to do.

He has also attempted to shut down debate on climate change by making complaints to the press regulatory body IPSO, something that has backfired on him more than once.



As to the core of his argument, if a sceptic had pointed out that the record breaking dearth of major US hurricanes in the last 12 years was caused by climate change, the likes of Williamson would immediately have accused him of cherry picking.


But what about the longer trends?

We already know that US major hurricanes are not getting more common.



As for the wider Atlantic basin, NOAA’s ACE calculations again show little change, other than the dip in the 1970s and 80s, when the AMO was in cold phase.


Significantly, the above analysis only begins in 1950, as reliable measurements from hurricane hunter aircraft only began in the late 1940s. (Even then, hurricane strengths were frequently underestimated).

We also know that there were more major US hurricanes in the 1940s than any other decade. It is therefore highly likely that an extension of the ACE back to 1940 would show levels higher than currently.

Williamson’s implication that three hurricanes so close together is unheard of is nonsense anyway.

Back in 1780, there were three killer hurricanes in October alone, including the deadliest of all time.


In 1893, five hurricanes made landfall in the US between August and October, three of them major ones.

In 1915, four arrived in August and September.

Of course, these are only US landfalling hurricanes. There were many more which avoided the US.

For instance, in 1933 the US was hit by three hurricanes in September alone. Two had peaked at Cat 4 prior to landfall, and the other Cat 5. But in addition to that, the infamous Tampico Hurricane, another Cat 5 monster ploughed into Mexico with winds of 160 mph in September as well:

  • Hurricane 8 – Cat 5 – Landfall Texas Sep 5th
  • Hurricane 11 – Cat 4 – Landfall Florida Sep 4th
  • Hurricane 12 –Cat 4 – Landfall N Carolina Sep 16th
  • Tampico – Cat 5 – Sep 22nd


There are no doubt many other examples of similar frequency. And the reasons are much more complex than the simplistic theory he advances.

Does Williamson know any of this? Is he deliberately misleading the public? Or is he just incompetent?

Perhaps he would like to enlighten us.

  1. Curious George permalink
    September 12, 2017 8:38 pm

    Nice to know that Professor Williamson is “experts”.

  2. Ben Vorlich permalink
    September 12, 2017 8:40 pm

    Seems unlikely but still possible that Jose is going to make landfall in the USA, was Williamson counting his chickens?

  3. Bitter&twisted permalink
    September 12, 2017 9:14 pm

    More fake news from “experts” at the University of Easy Access (UEA).
    The same “experts” that brought you Climategate.

  4. September 12, 2017 9:33 pm

    This attrubution may be intuitively appealing if one looks at a non random small sample of storms but a very different picture emerges in a long term trend analysis.

  5. September 12, 2017 9:34 pm

    This Williamson seems a bizarre sort of cove. What do we really know about him, and his past scientific pronouncements ? Any scientist I have known of deals with evidenced facts, not a whole load of baloney. He’s clearly not worth his salary, whatever that might be.

  6. Bruce of Newcastle permalink
    September 12, 2017 9:47 pm

    Someone might gently suggest Prof. Williamson read about 1954.

    1954 Atlantic hurricane season

    pCO2 has risen by about 100 ppmV, or 30%, since then.

    • AndyG55 permalink
      September 13, 2017 4:27 am

      The thing is, that these so=called “professors” should already know about hurricane history.

      This guy is either NOT FIT FOR his position as professor……

      or is being WILFULLY DECEITFUL, and should be immediately sacked.

      • Old Englander permalink
        September 13, 2017 9:27 am

        Sorry, neither charge will stick. Ignorance and deceit are not disqualifications for academic positions. (Any more). The only test the University authorities are interested in is: “does he bring in grant money ?” If Yes, he’s obviously a great and outstanding scholar, no more to be said. So the modern game is: corner the grant money, by fair means or foul. The interesting question is: who controls the funds. More research needed …

      • Gerry, England permalink
        September 13, 2017 12:48 pm

        He could be a ‘confabulist’. He is convinced that what he is saying is true so he comes across as plausible and not lying. Think Tony Blair. A trick for those who want to lie is to visualize yourself living the lie so your answers to questions won’t be stuttery and unconvincing. In the Us a panel of Judith Curry, Roger Pielke and another true scientist were up against Mann. A dispassionate review had Mann as the most convincing because his statements were bold and confident even though he was lying of course. The other three gave truthful answers that were full of doubt as they considered what was truthfully known and what was still conjecture.

      • CheshireRed permalink
        September 13, 2017 9:11 pm

        How is this guy making claims that can be so easily refuted? These stats are in the public domain so there’s no excuse to claim catastrophe when the evidence shows straight up that there’s nothing unprecedented or unusual going on. Are they so used to pumping out propaganda that they think they can say and get away with anything?

  7. mikemUK permalink
    September 12, 2017 10:17 pm

    ” . . . when the sea is warmest”

    I seem to recall Judith Curry commenting re: Irma that sea temperature was approaching 2 deg. colder than would normally be expected to produce the conditions.

    Maybe UEA has stopped doing ‘research’ altogether and they just read the newspapers to formulate their ‘expert’ opinions; or perhaps Williamson simply got lost on the way to his Creative Writing class.

    • John F. Hultquist permalink
      September 13, 2017 12:28 am

      Would it be “creative writing” if nothing new is written?
      He has been copying and pasting other people’s dog’s breakfast.

  8. AndyG55 permalink
    September 13, 2017 4:25 am

    “said Philip Williamson, NERC Science Coordinator at University of East Anglia. ”

    UEA…….. It really is an IRKSOME NERC !!

  9. September 13, 2017 5:47 am

    What Williamson (and thus his employee, UEA) is doing is committing fraud.

    Fraud is what he is doing if he:

    (a) dishonestly makes a false representation, and

    (b) intends, by making the representation—

    (i) to make a gain for himself or another, or

    (ii) to cause loss to another or to expose another to a risk of loss.

    A representation is false if—

    (a) it is untrue or misleading, and

    (b) the person making it knows that it is, or might be, untrue or misleading.

    • Steve Borodin permalink
      September 13, 2017 10:43 am

      Seconded. Fraud all the way to the bank.

  10. martinbrumby permalink
    September 13, 2017 6:24 am

    One if the consequences of Blair promoting Polytechs to ‘Universities and increasing intake of students to 50% of school-leavers, has been to ensure that there are people prancing about calling themselves Professor, who would be more suited to flipping burgers somewhere.
    Add the shocking dumbing down of most aspects of society and the seemingly universal acceptance that telling blatant whoppers is fine if it is ‘in a good cause’.
    Then also add an almost universally ignorant and virtue signalling media.
    A recipe for the likes of Williamson & Wadhams being promoted as ‘experts’ by the Independent and the rest.
    Is there no-one left in the so called scientific community who finds this upsetting?

  11. Athelstan permalink
    September 13, 2017 7:19 am

    Another charlatan who calls himself a “professor”, certainly he [Phil Williamson] professes much about himself, [he reminds of that other loon Lewandowsky] his ignorance and prejudice is there for all to observe and risibly, proudly does he proclaim it – what a twerp. But gawd almighty, the gutter press give him his opportunity – whose fooling who here?

    Phil Williamson, his rambling arrant nonsense reads more like a greenpiss codex, with all its gobbledegook statistics, non sequiturs repeated ad nauseum. Come on, we’ve read this sort of alarmist drivel for the last 30 years and not by one iota has the warmist mythologizing changed ‘we’re burning up man’ it’s subtext sackcloth and energy rationing for the proles: same old, same old alarmunist sh*&.,/b>

    Talk about crap science, AND it’s not even original – Williamson you do the whole world of academia a disservice and then, maybe these days you are a typical example, of a know nothing talking nonsense on subject matter you know FA about, perhaps you and the university of easy access well deserve each other.

  12. rapscallion permalink
    September 13, 2017 7:45 am

    “Is he deliberately misleading the public? Or is he just incompetent”

    Both actually Paul – but in any event he’s just plain lying.

  13. Tim Hammond permalink
    September 13, 2017 7:50 am

    The ludicrous part is that his claim is obviously not science. Nobody had done any work, nothing has been produced, let alone peer reviewed, published and then checked and reproduced. So why does a newspaper publish opinion as if it is fact? And why does the same newspaper lambast sceptics as anti-science when it publishes non-science as if it is science?

    • September 13, 2017 8:27 am

      It’s not even a newspaper – it’s an ex KGB billionaire‘s plaything. He also notably employs the ex Chancellor of the Exchequer at the London Evening Standard.

      Given that the The Independent would be ell and truly boarded up were it not for Lebedev’s support – one really does have to wonder at his motivation for keeping it going…

      Williamson’s antics must be perceived as useful by Lebedev’s minions…..

  14. September 13, 2017 9:35 am

    It’s not unusual…

    Three hurricanes form in the Atlantic for the first time since 2010

  15. HotScot permalink
    September 13, 2017 9:39 am

    Has anyone written to UEA’s Vice Chancellor complaining of this guys public conduct?

    • Rowland H permalink
      September 13, 2017 10:40 am

      Exactly as it is somewhat unlikely that he will read any of this analysis and comments.

      • Gerry, England permalink
        September 13, 2017 12:41 pm

        Given the ‘Climategate’ whitewashes, it is unlikely anything would be achieved.

  16. September 13, 2017 10:50 am

    Another claim people are making: Several major storms in a row for sure proves global warming/climate change. Well, no. Not according to Gerry Bell, the lead seasonal hurricane forecaster with the Climate Prediction Center, a part of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. He explains in a NYT article First Harvey, Then Irma and Jose. Why? It’s the Season. h/t GWPF Excerpts below.

    Hurricane experts say that the formation of several storms in rapid succession is not uncommon, especially in August, September and October, the most active months of the six-month hurricane season.

    “This is the peak,” said Gerry Bell, the lead seasonal hurricane forecaster with the Climate Prediction Center, a part of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. “This is when 95 percent of hurricanes and major hurricanes form.”

  17. September 13, 2017 11:16 am

    I have always wondered what constitutes “expert” status. That term is thrown around as a way to stop any discussion to the contrary. “Experts say”…..and we are all supposed to fall into complete agreement no matter what the topic. It is my belief that those who throw that line around should be required to back up their statement and say why they are qualified to be called “experts” on the topic at hand.

    • rwoollaston permalink
      September 13, 2017 12:07 pm

      An ‘Ex’ is a has-been, and a ‘spurt’ is a drip under pressure. I’m sure you’ve heard that one before. I do agree with your point, but ‘expert’ is now more or less a journalistic term, and as such becoming less meaningful.

    • dave permalink
      September 13, 2017 12:29 pm

      An expert AT something can be objectively defined and assessed. Thus you would expect an expert shot to be good at hitting targets with a rifle. And you would expect an expert surgeon to be good at opening up people and removing bits without killing them. And you would expect such experts to talk sense about what they do.

      An expert IN something may or may not talk sense. They need judging over time before giving them respect. Sometimes, they start out all right but become bigheads. Others are cheer-leaders or apologists for their bit of the ‘Establishment.’ You just have to listen to the tone to know.

      A few statisticians and psychologists do know something about how to evaluate ‘coincidences.’


      Click to access diaconis_mosteller.pdf

    • Gerry, England permalink
      September 13, 2017 12:40 pm

      In the book The Deniers, the final chapter is to look at the warmists to see what they have achieved compared to those labeled ‘deniers’. The answer was nothing. The dodgy Nobel prizes were not issued to one person although that has never stopped Mann claiming he is a Nobel prizewinner. On the other side many had won a Nobel prize or advanced science.

      By ‘experts’ the media really mean a person they believe has prestige. Hence Mann’s desire to be labeled a Nobel prizewinner. The trouble is that prestige and knowledge are not the same thing and those with knowledge often don’t seek prestige or the public limelight. With global warming it can result in you losing your job, your funding or being threatened if you go public so lots don’t.

      • September 14, 2017 11:53 am

        All of you have been making my point. The term “expert” is used capriciously by those of the media to “prove their point” and stop further discussion. It is laughable when you find out constitutes being labelled “expert.” Meanwhile, those such as Dr. Roy Spencer, a bona fide climatologist with a career of meaningful climate research. is ignored and not given the title “expert” by those not fit to wipe his academic boots.

        I have taken a statewide talk-show broadcaster to task for his use of the term “expert” way too often. He needs to say WHY he considers them an expert. It is insulting to the general public to expect them to bow and scrape just because someone is called an “expert” by someone of the media who knows absolutely nothing about the subject. When I hear “experts say…” I look outside to see if it is snowing.

  18. A C Osborn permalink
    September 13, 2017 11:44 am

    WUWT that did a pretty comprehensive take down of the 3 hurricanes at the same time here
    In fact there have been 4 a couple of times.

  19. Green Sand permalink
    September 13, 2017 12:08 pm

    The models are catching up!

  20. Steve P. permalink
    September 13, 2017 3:52 pm

    Perhaps the term “East Angliars” is appropriate for these folks?

  21. Robert Stitt permalink
    September 13, 2017 4:12 pm

    Hi. I don’t know where to post this but shouldn’t we(someone) start an anti global warming party? It would be brilliant calling out these liars daily in the media

    • Gerry, England permalink
      September 14, 2017 12:43 pm

      If you could get published of course. And don’t expect to get a mention on the BBC unless you kidnap Harribin.

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