The BBC could have checked Wikipedia for the truth about Cyclone Pam

"Devastation after Cyclone Pam 14 March 2015" by Graham Crumb/ Licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons“Devastation after Cyclone Pam 14 March 2015” by Graham Crumb/ Licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 via Wikimedia CommonsInevitably quick off the mark after Vanuatu’s Cyclone Pam disaster were the climate ghouls to claim that this terrible event must have been caused by global warming. First up was the country’s president, Baldwin Lonsdale, who, although aware that the storm was on its way, had departed a few hours earlier to attend a conference on “disaster risk” in Japan, where he burbled to reporters that it was evidence of “climate change, rising sea levels” etc. Next, in a similar vein, came France’s President Hollande, due next December to host the mammoth global conference where they hope to agree on a treaty to halt this threat to the planet.

But equally inevitable was that the BBC would get in on the act. Thus Monday’s Today programme wheeled on Professor Tim Palmer, in charge of climate modelling at Oxford University, to confirm President Lonsdale’s worst fears. Such “incredibly intense” category five cyclones, he told John Humphrys, are “exactly the type of cyclone that is predicted by the climate models to increase under climate change, under global warming”.

When Humphrys suggested that we have always had cyclones, Palmer said that recent examples have seen “wind gusts that have never been measured before, 200-mile-an-hour winds”. When Humphrys asked him to confirm that they were indeed unprecedented, Palmer repeated that “these things have never been seen”.

Had Humphrys or the programme’s researchers spent a couple of minutes on Google, they might have seen from Wikipedia that the South Pacific has seen no fewer than 10 Category Five cyclones in the past twenty years alone. Paul Homewood was soon able to report on his Notalotofpeopleknowthat blog that, according to the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Pam’s measured wind speed was only 165mph. Of the five top South Pacific cyclones since 1989, this ranked it as only the equal fourth strongest: behind Orson and Monica, which hit the Australian coast in 1989 and 2006 with wind speeds of 180mph. This was also equalled by Zoe, which hit Vanuatu in 2002.

Cyclones in the South Pacific since 1997

There have been 9 category 5 cyclones in the South Pacific since 1997.

Way back in 1951, an even more disastrous storm killed 100 people on the island nation. Other scientific websites confirmed that Pam was way down the list of Pacific cyclones recorded in the past 60 years, with the wind speed of those hitting Japan in 1961 and 1958 as high as 215mph. As for Palmer’s claim that Pam was “incredibly intense”, with an atmospheric pressure of 896 millibars (mb), this again has frequently been exceeded, with those Japanese storms measured as low as 877mb.

Just as significantly, Homewood was able to cite a graph going back to 1948 showing that there has been no upward trend at all in the incidence of tropical cyclones. The Australian blogger Jo Nova (in a post headed “Playing politics with disaster”) produced a graph for New Zealand going back to 1875, showing that the most intense cluster of cyclone-strength storms was around 115 years ago, long before the global warming scare was invented. As for President Lonsdale’s plaint about rising sea levels, Homewood produced a graph from Vanuatu’s main tidal gauge, showing that in the past five years sea levels have actually been falling.

vanuatu sea levels

Monthly sea levels in Vanuatu peaked in 2009, since when they have fallen back to the levels of a decade ago (PSMSL)

The fact that the BBC should choose only to interview those it knows will support its own ludicrously propagandist “narrative” on climate change – regardless of the facts – is, of course, nothing new. At least on this occasion, Humphrys did end by asking whether these climate computer models had not sometimes been wrong. Sounding somewhat surprised to be asked such a heretical question by the BBC, Prof Palmer did admit that they are only “approximations of reality”. But he went on to suggest that, if only they were given even more money to buy even more powerful computers, the results might be even more accurate. Out in the real world we cynical observers could only emit a wearily hollow laugh.


Comments (6)

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    Paul Homewood would recommend against checking Wiki…

    [i]It has been well established for a long while that Hurricane Camille is the strongest Atlantic hurricane on record. Camille recorded sustained wind speeds of at least 195 mph just before making landfall on the Mississippi coast in 1969.

    I was therefore astonished to find that Wikipedia now show the maximum wind speed as 175 mph, thereby downrating Camille to only the 8th most powerful Atlantic hurricane.

    Now I can’t prove it, but I am 99.9% sure that Wikipedia were showing a wind speed of 195 mph only a year or two ago, and therefore have seen fit to revise their page.
    To make matters worse, the reference they quote for the figure of 175 mph is the report, The Atlantic Season of 1969. This report makes quite clear that, even at landfall, an appraisal of the character of splintering of structures within a few hundred yards of the coast suggested velocities approaching 175 kt (201 mph). The final reconnaissance flight into the hurricane, about 100 miles offshore, estimated even higher speeds of 180 kt (207 mph).

    The official NOAA record states:
    The actual maximum sustained winds will never be known, as the hurricane destroyed all the wind-recording instruments in the landfall area. The estimates at the coast are near 200 mph.[/i]

    My father lived through Camille and said he had never seen anything close to the utter destruction, he spoke of it often.

    This Wiki edit is just another attempt to make modern storms seem stronger.

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      Paul Homewood


      [i]Paul Homewood would recommend against checking Wiki.[/i]..

      True, Gator!!

      But I did also check the sources just to make sure.

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        I am sure you did, your research is always top notch, and that’s why I like quoting you.


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    I have my own experience with leftist lies about hurricanes.

    Leftists are great at rewriting history, and lying about current events. When Katrina hit, I watched daily updates of the death toll because I knew they would be exaggerated to make Katrina and Bush look worse than they were (as if they needed to), and they did. A body here, a nursing home there… and this went on for weeks. I kept a mental tally and remember getting up into the four hundreds, then suddenly there was reporting of over 1800 deaths, and I have seen later reports of up to 3500. When I started trying to put names and causes of death together with the death toll, the first thing I discovered was that [b]anyone who died during the storm, for any reason at all, was counted as a Katrina victim.[/b]

    There were [b]people who fell off ladders, had heart attacks, alcohol poisoning, car crashes, murders, and even a suicide 6 days after the storm[/b]. But they still did not surpass a few hundred deaths. Then I discovered John Mutter, a professor at Colombia University. Mutter claimed to have ‘interviewed’ families and public health department officials and came up with a number over 1800. A few other folks like me wanted to see the list of names so that we could verify his claim. [b]Mutter removed his death toll web page and refused to tell anyone who those 1800 victims were, and to this day, nobody can confirm his count[/b]. But that did not stop the press from touting his sick fairy tale as fact.

    It’s now in the history books, and it is a bald faced lie.

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      “over 1800 deaths, and I have seen later reports of up to 3500.” Aren’t these the same figures used to predict sea level rise in millimetres?

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    I remember that hurricane Sandy was a tropical storm moving up the coast until a low pressure system from the west joined up with it. A combination of high tide and the wind direction of the leading edge of Sandy compounded the damage. It was not a textbook hurricane. But why ruin a good story with details?

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