How Germany’s Climate Scientists Suddenly Changed Their Predictions Of Warm Winters…To Cold Snowy Ones

Sebastian Lüning and Klaus-Eckart Puls write the story of how renowned German climate scientists had for years predicted warmer winters with snow becoming increasingly more rare – before they turned on a dime and suddenly claimed global warming would cause colder winters.

Germany – A Winter Fairy Tale

By Klaus-Eckart Puls and Sebastian Lüning (translated, edited by P Gosselin)

Currently this 2012/13 winter in Germany and over large parts of Europe we’ve been finding lots of cold, snow and ice –  the fifth winter of this type in a row. Who can still recall the prognoses and claims of some alarmists of the established climate science community, like this one [1]?:

‘Winter with strong frosts and lots of snow like 20 years ago will cease to exist at our latitudes,’ said scientist Mojib Latif of the Max Planck Institute for Meteorology in Hamburg.”

This quote comes from an interview with SPIEGEL in the year 2000. The headline: “Good-bye winter: No more snow? In Germany bitter cold winters are now a thing of the past.”

However, perhaps Professor Latif meant this as a joke because the article appeared on April 1, 2000! In this regard, one could simply dismiss the comment – had that claim by Latif not been repeated by other climate scientists, e.g. [2]:

“The very mild winters of the last decades can be attributed mainly to the anthropogenic greenhouse effect. As a consequence, we are for example seeing a reduction in snowfall. When every 50-year-old was able to go skating as a kid almost every winter, kids today often have to wait many years for larger amounts of snow.”

Well, kids haven’t had to wait at all for the last 5 winters! If that weren’t enough, in 2005 Mojib Latif spoke out once again [3], this time making a 50-year prediction:

In 2050, no more snow in the lowlands; Mainz (dpa). According to climate scientist Mojib Latif of Kiel, winters in Germany will become warmer. Without future climate protection, ‘In 2050 there will no longer be snow in Germany – at least not in the lowlands,’ said the professor of the Institute for Ocean Sciences of the University of Kiel on ZDF television. The observed trend to warmer winters will continue on.”

So are we allowed to ask, where has this trend been for the last 5 winters? In a conference report of the Dow Jones News GmbH [4] the “…renowned climate scientist of Kiel Prof. Mojib Latif…” is quoted:

‘The scenarios discussed by scientists see a further warming of 1.4 to 5.8 °C on average by the end of the century. In Germany there will be no longer frost or snow by then; in hot climate zones there will be ‘desolation’.”

In the meantime, all these statements have since been contradicted: Nature is doing something completely different…the exact opposite! The first climate warmists to scramble to make a major forecasting adjustment already in 2010 were from the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK) –  and did so through BILD tabloid [5]:

The Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research sees the hard winters as being the result of global warming: Icy Arctic winds will be triggered by it and reach all the way to Europe unhindered due to climate change in the Arctic.”

‘Could be,’ may have been the first reaction of a BILD reader. However they likely immediately followed up with the question: Why do scientists always come up with such explanations after the fact? The alarmists used a sleight of hand, and magically and rapidly came up with a rabbit from a hat. [6]:

A new study shows the relationship between Arctic sea ice cover in the summer and winter weather in Central Europe. […] The probability of cold, snowy winters in Central Europe increases when the Arctic summer has little sea ice.

Did they ever have such a climate model before the cold winters of the last years? NO! This is precisely the point that WELTWOCHE magazine couldn’t help but notice [7]:

‘…are three cold winters… a coincidence?’… ‘Such winters are inconvenient not only for those who freeze in them, but also for those had announced warmer temperatures because of the CO2 emissions.’ … ‘The reality is, writes American climate scientist JUDAH COHEN, that we are not freezing despite climate change, but because of it.’ … ‘Such an explanation would be convincing only if it had not come afterwards. Indeed just the opposite had been announced for decades. We can recall DAVID VINER of the British Climate Research Unit. In the year 2000 VINER said that snowfall in Great Britain soon would be rare and a sensation. Children will not know what snow is.”

Former television meteorologist Wolfgang Thüne takes apart the entire matter by using factual meteorological aspects [8]:

“The AWI hypothesis published here [AWI press release] now says:

‘The available model calculations show that the air pressure difference when there is less summertime Arctic sea ice cover is less in the following winter, and thus allow cold Arctic air to plunge to the mid latitudes.’

If that were the case, then we should have had cold winters for the last 20 years because this is about how long we’ve been having relatively minimal sesa ice cover.

If this AWI hypothesis were indeed scientifically conclusive, then the North Atlantic Oscillation Index would have to have been negative for the last 30 years – but the opposite is true as the following graphic depicts: positive 22, negative 7, +/- zero 1! Even in the last 10 years it’s only fifty-fifty.”


Figure: North Atlantic Oscillation Index [9]


Whether it’s the cold winters in Europe or the global temperature development, climate scientists now find themselves with their models up the creek without a paddle. Global warming has stagnated for 15 years [10]:

….however it has long been known that the climate has developed differently than what was predicted: Warming has stalled for 15 years, the rising trend of the global mean temperature hasn’t continued since. The stagnation leads to the assumption that global warming has stopped.’ NASA concedes.”

This fact has been discussed a long time already in the English speaking media, and has now reached the German public [11]. This is very inconvenient because for a long time we had been hearing [12]:

“The warming is developing as predicted. The models were also tested in climates of the past. There’s no reason not to trust the models.”

That obviously can now be perceived in another way [13]:

‘The climate models are not consistent with the currently observed climate development’, said Jochem Marotzke, Director of the Hamburg Max-Planck-Institute for Meteorology.”

And Marozke [14]:

According to our first calculations, it would have to warm up a lot and abruptly in the coming years. But we do not trust these prognoses along the way. The simulations should have also seen the temperature increase stagnation – and that didn’t happen.”

Kevin Trenberth [15] wrote on 11 October 2009 [16] of hockey stick inventor Michael Mann:

The fact is that we cannot account for the lack of warming at the moment and it’s a travesty that we can’t.”

What did our colleague in Kiel say?

“…kids today often have to wait many years for large amounts of snow.”

So children, as you can see, also professors make mistakes – sometimes even 5 years in a row. Just look out the window!


Neither the winters nor the global temperatures are doing what the climate alarmists and models predicted. This is an embarassment for the established climate science community. However, malice is not warranted because scientific history has always been connected to being on the wrong path. Errors are permitted, but they must be corrected as quickly as possible when they are detected.

Now we have to look ahead and bring the proportion of the man-made and natural climate factors back into balance in the models. One thing is already clear: The sworn climate catastrophe is not taking place.

Figure: Winter temperatures in Germany over the last 25 years (DJF). Source: Josef Kowatsch. Data from the DWD German Weather Service.


[1],1518,71456,00.html; 01.04.2000

[2] DIE ZEIT, 27. März 2002, Nr. 14, DOSSIER, Das große Schmelzen hat begonnen: Abbrechende Eisberge, schwere Überschwemmungen und andere Folgen der globalen Erwärmung / Von Mojib Latif

[3] Leipziger Volkszeitung, 1./2. October 2005

[4] Dow Jones News GmbH Frankfurter Beratungsunternehmen 3c Climate Change Consulting GmbH, Bericht über die Konferenz am 28. und 29. März 2006 “Fachwelt entdeckt Klimahandel als Quelle für Investment und Finanzierung”

[5] BILD, 23.12.2010, S.7

[6] AWI, Presse-Mitt. 26.01.2012,

[7] WELTWOCHE, Frostbeulen der Erderwärmung, 1/2011, p.40

[12] Leipniz-Inst. Kiel, Mojib Latif, in : BILD , 20.09.07, p.13

[14] J. Marotzke, MPI HH, in: DER SPIEGEL, 27.02.2012, p. 113

[15] National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR) in Boulder, Co., USA

[16] Trenberth-Email, uncovered in the ClimateGate scandal 2009, email 1255352257*,  here quoted from: DIE WELT, 03.12.09, p.3


16 responses to “How Germany’s Climate Scientists Suddenly Changed Their Predictions Of Warm Winters…To Cold Snowy Ones”

  1. Mindert Eiting

    Thanks, Pierre, for this important contribution. Reminds me of a formerly alarmist acquaintance. In the winter, two years ago, she said with panic in her eyes that ‘they’ had now discovered that global warming caused not less, but even more severe winters. She considered it extraordinary craftsmanship to make such a bold prediction. From my dictionary: ‘fortune favours the bold’ and ‘faint heart never won fair lady’. After visiting a faith healer, she stopped to believe the whole story.

  2. Juergen Uhlemann

    What is a climate science? According to Richard Feynman definition of pseudoscience, it is just this. He didn’t match climate science with pseudoscience, but it is very clear that climate science is nothing else.

    How does science work?
    The climate scientists are just guessing and so far they didn’t come up with a scientific rule that matches nature. What the models of the climate scientists do is creating rules for the past events and then try to guess what the future will bring. Have these models prediction proofed right or wrong? You decide.
    Just think about the people that believed the had a perfect system to win roulette. The also used past events and tried to predict the future. Did they win? Maybe some but not the majority.

    I watched a program about the Romans the other day and learned that the Romans left when the weather got really bad. If you look how far north the Roman build their Hadrian’s Wall then you could guess that the climate must have been quite mild when the wall was build and quite severe when the Romans left. It shows that they had it warmer before it got colder and it doesn’t matter what the real temperature was.
    We’ve seen it getting warmer and we (maybe) see it getting colder and again it doesn’t matter what the real temperature was.

    Just the use of a very powerful computer system with some code is no proof of anything. Climate science is just like alchemy and no chemistry, yet.

    1. DirkH

      “Just the use of a very powerful computer system with some code is no proof of anything. ”

      It’s amazing what people believe when a computer says it.

      I should start exploiting that. I’m a programmer. Unfortunately, no climate science institutes in my hometown.

      1. Juergen Uhlemann

        I’m a programmer, too.

        I would love to see the source code of the various computer models.

        1. DirkH

          A whole lotta Fortran in all caps (including the comments, mostly)
          GISS, model 2.

          (found via


          This is an older model, from 1988 or so.

  3. DirkH

    Oh, and just to mention the ubiquitious signs of the Green Political Religion in Germany: Since the breakdown of my car I’m a frequent traveller on the German high speed rail (and rather pleased by the quality of service). Every one of my tickets proudly proclaims that I’m saving the climate by using the services of the Deutsche Bahn.

    (So does the company I work for – allegedly the products I help develop save the climate, so it says on posters. The company shall stay unnamed as it doesn’t matter anyway. Every new product saves the climate, as it is somehow more efficient, energy saving or what have you.)

    I probably saved the climate by driving to the pub on my bicycle this evening.

  4. Henrik Mahlberg

    The Swedish equivalent to the EPA notice public via an information campaign 2003 that if christmas gift sledge will not be used, GET USED TO IT!

    1. DirkH

      Obviously 30 million Kroner had to find new owners… Maybe the ad agency was owned by a relative.

      1. Henrik Mahlberg

        Probably your right…

  5. JC Smith

    “Global warming has stagnated for 15 years”

    P: I love people who are persistant. But facts can’t be errased by a wand and a statement. You need actual facts:)

    1. Paul V. Sheridan

      JC: Even if the squiggly lines at the silly site were credible (Not!), the blatant fraud oozes off its pages . . . but just so we’re clear, that HadCRUT thing . . . was that the “hide the decline” bunch? That, let’s see, oh yeah, that Phil Jones Climategate gang?

      THAT’S your reference?

      See you in Qatar.

  6. glenncz

    JC Smith say:
    P: I love people who are persistant. But facts can’t be errased by a wand and a statement. You need actual facts:)
    JCS isn’t necessarily completely incorrect. That NCDC graph show decadal averages. It is true that the 2000’s were the warmest decade globally for likely well over 500 years. That NCDC data is a high outlier when compared to the other data sets.

    Also, that linked graph is FAR from a fact. It is extremely hard to take the earths average temperature that’s why there is differences between the data sets, but the general trend is the same for all. There are all type of siting issues, dropped stations, urban heat effect and many other factors that make that chart very, very far from being a FACT. But the trend I can agree with.

    Even so. agreeing that temperatures the past 15 yrs globally were the high this century and likely for well over 500 years, the FACT is that the 4 major global temperature data set don’t show any appreciable warming or cooling for 15 yrs.
    That is the point the skeptics are trying to make. CO2 has increased by 30%, we are bombarded with news telling us the climate is different and getting worse, but overall, by any measurement, there has been no global temp change since 1998.

    Another FACT. I know that all warmers seem to believe that the global temperatures in 1880 were “normal” and any warming since is an anomaly caused by selfish, greedy man. But the consensus scientists (IPCC et al) only believe that warming since the 70’s is caused by CO2. That warming is only about .6C or 1F at most – and that is since the early warming period ended in about 1940. So we have 1F warming in 73 years. Read Lamb’s book on historical climate change, read Fagan’s historical climate books. (and Fagan clearly states he is no skeptic and Lamb also did not necessarily disagree with CO2 “theory” (far from a FACT). The FACT of the matter is that the climate has been in a continual state of change for as far back as we can study it. There have been huge regional temperature changes recorded in history (not necessarily by thermometer), for a couple thousand of years and even more dramatic changes before that. Sadly, there appears to be neither any awareness nor any desire to learn about the history of climate. Climate history is relegated to studies performed by interpretation of minute slices of tree rings, sediments etc data that is run through computer models. And the large majority of these studies are performed by scientists who are obviously political activists.

  7. glenncz

    Warmers like JCS think skeptics don’t know anything about science and believe we think that there has been no warming. They say we don’t “believe” in climate change. It’s simply ridiculous! Most educated skeptics who comment on these climate blogs know much more about climate than any warmer. We know that temperatures have always changed as has the climate. We don’t believe that the earths average temp should be the same as it was in 1880 in global temp data began to be collected. We know that in the 1970’s, after 30 years of temperature stability followed by a few colder years and horrific winters, the media, supported by many scientists believed that we were headed for a period of global cooling. That consensus did an about face in the early 1980’s as the earth appeared to be once again warming. Here is yet another study, that shows that the earths temperature during the MediEvil and Roman periods were likely higher than they are today. And this study confirms historical data. Again read Fagans book on the MediEvil warming if you want to learn about climate.

  8. Weekly Climate and Energy News Roundup | Watts Up With That?

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