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Eric Holthaus Called Out For Cheating

September 27, 2017

By Paul Homewood



An experienced meteorologist, Michael Mogil, has taken exception to a particularly deceitful tweet from Eric Holthaus, who also claims to be a meteorologist:





There’s data and there’s statistics. There’s also the misrepresentation of these.

We all know that statistics themselves don’t lie, but the people who use statistics may intentionally or unintentionally do so. A Tweet late yesterday by Eric Holthaus (@EricHolthaus) was the most recent example to catch my eye. With the Atlantic Ocean region bustling with intense hurricanes at this time, it would be easy for some people to draw an incorrect conclusion from Holthaus’ data (Fig. 1) – i.e., that intense hurricane activity is escalating. But that’s not necessarily what is happening.





While Holthaus’ initial post was misleading (and implied that NOAA data supported the trend line), it is important to recognize that the hurdat (hurricane data) values are the “best” historical hurricane data that scientists may have. However, hurdat contains known errors and omissions and is only as good as the observations that were used to generate the data set. Holthaus continued with additional comments and a link to the Geophysical Fluid Dynamics Laboratory (GFDL) suggesting that climate change was either the culprit now or would soon be the culprit – “Additional context: There was likely undercounting pre-1960. We expect more Cat 5’s in the future, if not already.”

First, research conducted by some scientists (e.g., Ryan Maue, Matt Bolton, and myself) indicates that the long-term global hurricane trend is “steady” and that hurricanes are not becoming more intense. Then, one must recognize that there has been a dramatic change in global observing and forecasting systems since the mid 19th century.





In fact, it wasn’t until the latter part of the 1800’s that hurricane warning offices were established and it wasn’t until the mid 20th century before the National Hurricane Center was created. Hurricane hunter aircraft were not employed until the 1940’s and the first weather satellite didn’t arrive on the scene until 1960. Since 1960, satellite observation systems have evolved to be highly powerful, high frequency, and high resolution observing tools (Fig. 2). These satellites can now see entire ocean basins; in earlier years, point ship and island reports were all that meteorologists had available. To say that “There was likely undercounting pre-1960,” would be an understatement.

The bottom line is that the data table and reference links offered by Eric Holthaus are misleading. Such data and associated statistics need to be viewed with a consistent (or at least a clearly stated discussion of the) data and how it was obtained. Apples must be compared to apples!


In fact the deception is even worse than Mogil states.

The period 1961-90 marked the cold phase of the AMO. It is widely known and accepted that fewer intense hurricanes tend to form then.

For Holthaus to omit this vital piece of information, in an attempt to persuade people that Cat 5 hurricanes are trending up, is dishonest.





It is also worth restating Chris Landsea’s research, which considered how recent Cat 5 hurricanes would have been classified using mid 20thC monitoring capabilities.

Out of ten recent Cat 5s, only three would have been similarly graded in the 1950s, and only two in the 1940s.




Of course, Eric Holthaus knows all of this. (Either that, or he is utterly incompetent). Which raises the question, why is he engaged in this scam?

Although he may be a meteorologist, his day job seems to be as a writer for the far left Slate magazine.

Holthaus’ own Twitter account seems to be full of left wing rants.

If he wants to abuse statistical data for political purposes, that is his decision. But it surely destroys his reputation as a scientist.

  1. Jack Broughton permalink
    September 27, 2017 10:48 am

    More evidence that “Scientists, experts and consensus” are just tools of unscrupulous journalists and politicos. Also, more evidence of people abusing statistics and factual information by picking what they want: this is not science it is politics! Sadly, any doomsayer gets press coverage and is used to add to the hysteria that is climate change fear.

  2. September 27, 2017 11:28 am

    Propagandists always try to hide the ifs and buts.

  3. September 27, 2017 11:56 am

    Reblogged this on Climatism and commented:
    “If he wants to abuse statistical data for political purposes, that is his decision. But it surely destroys his reputation as a scientist.”

    What other falsehoods does Holthaus spread, with an obligatory free pass from the warmist mainstream media? The sad story of post-modern, activist “climate science”.

    • Sheri permalink
      September 27, 2017 1:08 pm

      I have always maintained that any scientist who becomes a TV or print “scientist” has thrown his credentials out the window. He is now a propagandist, nothing is left of the scientist. That goes for Bill Nye (IF he ever was a scientist). Machio Kaku, his buddy David Sukuki, all doctors that have TV shows, etc. They are NOT scientists in any way, shape or form. They are mouths for the government propaganda machine. Other dictators and governments used scientists for propaganda—why would it be any different now?

      • Ben Vorlich permalink
        September 27, 2017 3:33 pm

        To modify an old adage.
        Those than can – do; those that can’t – teach; those that can’t teach become internet/media scientists

  4. AndyG55 permalink
    September 27, 2017 12:45 pm

    What happens is that activists like Holthaus become so full of themselves, and so egotistically arrogant, that they think no-one else is in their league or knows as much as they think they know.

    They think they can get away with basically any lie….. just “because” they are.

    • johnrmcd permalink
      September 30, 2017 10:56 am

      Dunning Kruger? Maybe?

  5. September 27, 2017 1:36 pm

    Reblogged this on Climate Collections.

  6. September 27, 2017 1:52 pm

    Reblogged this on WeatherAction News and commented:
    It adds to an impressive cannon of fanaticism;

    Really, you can’t make this up. Eric Holthaus, the guy who said he’d get a vasectomy to solve climate change, cried about it after reading the AR5 IPCC report and gave up flying to save the planet, because that would somehow prevent hurricanes, is now hoping the Caribbean will get whacked by one.

    His rationalization?

    It will solve the drought

  7. September 27, 2017 10:40 pm

    If you haven’t noticed
    “Greens lie, it’s what they do”,

    … believing they are on a higher purpose from God or something

  8. HotScot permalink
    September 27, 2017 10:58 pm

    Clinging to the wreckage.

    The residents around the Gulf of Mexico/Florida/The Caribbean etc. will be acutely aware of the absence of hurricanes over the last 12 years. They will also recognise many of the unique circumstances of the flooding, including the topographical and historic failings of city officials, building where they shouldn’t, with what they shouldn’t.

    These ‘scientists’ seem to forget that their audience isn’t confined to the hysterical media. There are real people, billions of them, affected by disasters at one time or another, who very well appreciate the inconsistent and unpredictable nature of these events.

    They are the people likely scoffing at nut job prophets of doom because they are uniquely placed to witness events over generations.

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