In the German speaking part of Europe there is hardly a person who doesn’t know the name of Swiss meteorologist Jörg Kachelmann.
Jörg Kachelmann. Image cropped from here.
The famous German flagship public television meteorologist became even more famous when in 2009 he was held by German authorities for 132 days long on charges of rape. Kachelmann was eventually cleared of the charges in what later was determined to be a case of the fury of a woman’s scorn and Kachelmann becoming the unfortunate victim of an overzealous media feeding frenzy and betrayal.
But that was five years ago and in the meantime the entrepreneurial meteorologist has put the pieces back together and once again is becoming an increasingly public figure who likes to present himself as a folksy, non-nonsense sort of meteorologist. See his sites here and here.
Refuses to state his position on climate change science
As Kachelmann is a high-profile meteorologist who holds impressive practical knowledge and experience, many followers of the climate debate are naturally wondering where he stands on man-made global warming. Unfortunately he has steadfastly avoided that hornet’s nest.
However recently he gave an interview with the online MünsterscheZeitung – MZ – (Munster News). In the interview the online daily asked Kachelmann about all the rain and thunderstorms Germany had been seeing this summer, trying to prod him to blame it on climate change. But Kachelmann didn’t take the bait. Again he dodged direct questions about the climate debate.
“Usual boring climate question”
Yet, reading his replies in the interview, one sees some pretty clear signals on where he stands. For example Kachelmann plays down the MZ’s claim that this kind of weather “has never been seen before“, and if Germany should start getting used to more tropical-like rains in the future. Kachelmann responds:
That’s the usual boring climate question. Are we all going to die? I don’t know enough about it and don’t have an answer for this. Here you’ll have to ask the usual climate scientists. And depending on who you ask, you’ll get the answer. I’m a forecaster and I deal deal with 5 to 15 days maximum. And that’s it.”
The climate question has become boring, and it depends on who you ask on whether or not we are going to die. Sounds like Kachelmann thinks there’s consensus on the question.
Tornadoes in Germany not as rare as you think
When prodded by the MZ to acknowledge that a recent tornado touching down in Germany is really weird, Kachelmann here too refuses to play along, saying that tornadoes are “not as seldom as one thinks“:
Every year there are a few. They are not always seen, as there isn’t always someone there to record it with his mobile phone. But the weather situation on Sunday was clear: There was the possibility of tornadoes.”
Gradually we get the picture that Kachelmann doesn’t think much of the climate alarmism that gets attached to single extreme weather events.
Long-term seasonal forecasts – “moronic meteorology”
When it comes to long-term (seasonal) weather forecasting, Kachelmann goes on the offensive calling such forecasts “Vollpfostenmeteorologie” which I would translate as something like “moronic meteorology”. In short he regards these forecasts as something from morons. He characterizes seasonal forecasting:
It’s not serious to say in the springtime what the summer will be like. That’s moronic meteorology.”
Here Kachelmann recognizes the huge complexity, and thus the uncertainty that weather involves. Surely he must harbor the same when it comes to making decadal or 100-year climate forecasts for the globe.
Still, on seasonal forecasts I believe Kachelmann is being too harsh on his fellow meteorologists who do put out seasonal forecasts. Is it not a legitimate endeavor?
Many readers here know that Joe Bastardi, for example, makes a living in part by providing seasonal forecasts, and has proven to have a pretty darn good success rate.
Joe Bastardi has a different view of long-term forecasting
Kachelmann’s dismissal of these longer term forecasts prompted me to get Joe’s opinion on the subject. He sent me a reply by e-mail. Here’s what he wrote – speaking in general terms and not addressing anyone in particular. Joe writes:
Judge a tree by the fruit on it.
Here are the facts. I make a living doing this. People pay me to be right, not wrong. Given the amount of private and public competition out there, why would you pay me if I am wrong, not adding value. Those that can’t do, or won’t do, tend to trash those that do. I have a very happy and increasing client base and in the world of competition, people don’t pay money for losers for very long. We let our forecasts do the talking.
I admit when I am wrong. Usually though it corrects me for the next battle (example last year’s hurricane season showed us hemispheric was similar to 17-18 which we added to the winter analog in the states.
However I am well aware of being too cold in Europe last year, after nailing the previous 3 years. We have already used that to help us with this year, which our clients see. Now if I am wrong again, they will get antsy, but they are ahead of the game.. way head in Europe, cause of things before.
In the states. this streak can not get any better. But remember this is the 3rd of 3 winters (granted 12-13 started late) that I opined would be cold back in 2011. Given 16 hours a day looking at weather and not having a day off, the only thing I can say is perhaps I am just lucky.
You be the judge.”
Joe exudes confidence in his seasonal forecasting methods. Looks like he’s found the right tools.