If an “expert” sits down for an interview with a leading media outlet, he should at least know what he’s talking about.
Unfortunately this was hardly the case for Georg Feulner of the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK) and Eicke Weber, Director of the Fraunhofer Institute for Solar Energy Systems in Freiburg, Germany, both giving recent interviews with leading German media outlets in an attempt to respond to Fritz Vahrenholt’s and Sebastian Lüning’s controversial book.
And both interviews ended with the scientists looking as if they lacked knowledge on climate change and the latest research.
In Feulner’s case, Lüning and Vahrenholt shred his claims in a report posted at WUWT, read here.
As far as Eicke Weber of the Fraunhofer Institute is concerned, in his interview here in Welt am Sonntag, he did himself no favors. The statements he made only revealed his knowledge has stunning deficiencies on the subject of climate science.
The following is by Dr. Sebastian Lüning, which I translated from the German – some editing for clarity. (Original German here)
Weber confuses the Milankovitch cycles with the primary solar cycles
Already at the very start, Weber confuses the Milankovitch cycles with the primary solar activity oscillations. To put it simply: While the arguments of our book “Die kalte Sonne” focus mainly on the primary energy output from the sun, Weber in the interview speaks of changes in the Earth’s orbital parameters! These parameters lead to changes in the amount of energy reaching the Earth because of geometric reasons (see page 80-82). These so-called “Milankovitch” cycles are measured in time periods of tens of thousands of years, and so play no real role in today’s decadal-scale climate change.
Weber believes CO2 led temperature during the ice age / interglacial transitions
Weber commits another classic error – probably leftover damage from Al-Gore’s Film “An Inconvenient Truth”. Weber attempts to put the blame on atmospheric CO2 for the transitions between ice ages and interglacials. This falsehood has already been chalked up by Al Gore, and is one of the reasons why a British High Court forbade the AIT film to be shown in classrooms uncommented. If Weber had read our book on pages 129-131, then he would have learned of the correct correlation between the two. High resolution investigations of the last 600,000 years show that the temperature first increased, and then CO2 followed with a lag of 800 years. The CO2 increase was obviously caused by the temperature increase, and not vice versa.
Observe the last interglacial 130,000 to 110,000 years ago. Temperature plummeted even as CO2 stayed at about 260 ppm.
Weber believes in the 10,000-year hockey stick!
Contrary to what was suggested in the interview by solar energy expert Weber, during the Holocene (the last 10.000 years, since the last ice age) the climate was in no way stable. Here the ominous Hockey Stick was doing its magic. The fact, however, is that the climate was neither stable during the last 1000 years nor the last 10,000 years (see book p. 68-75). The climate was characterised by millenium cycles, where temperatures were for the most part in sync with solar activity. It is only by hiding these facts and correlations that climate science has succeeded in marginalizing the sun as a factor in the climate equations over the years. The models cannot in any way reproduce the climate of the last 10,00o years.
Weber simply dismisses all other climate factors
Then came Weber’s decisive statement in his interview: “To me it’s moot to discuss how the 0.75° Celsius increase observed over the last 50 years has come about when we see the record levels that CO2 concentrations have reached.” Eicke Weber obviously does not care about the individual natural and anthropogenic climate factors in the current climate development. This is a bit astonishing as it is precisely this knowledge that is important for making climate models and determining how temperature will develop in the coming decades. For the Fraunhofer Director, it suffices to know that CO2 has reached a historical record level.
Here’s a short fact-check: Just how high is the current atmospheric CO2 concentration? Currently it is 0.039 percent. Over the greater part of the Earth’s history, CO2-concentration was significantly above that. This somewhat diminishes Weber’s use of the term “historical record high”. Here Weber suppresses the fact that the real climate discussion revolves around what is the correct value of the CO2 climate sensitivity (see book p. 220-225). CO2 by itself can produce a warming of only 1.1°C for each doubling. But the IPCC given values of up to 4.5°C, based on the poorly understood amplification effect of water vapour and clouds.
A normal reader of the interview most likely will not even notice Eicke Weber’s stunningly weak knowledge. But trust in our academic elite will however, be damaged for a long time to come.