Senior Meteorologist Demolishes, Mocks Alfred Wegener Institute Claims Of “Unprecedented Antarctica Ice Loss”

UPDATE: Klaus-Eckart Puls’s rebuttal is also confirmed by MIT. When observations clash with runaway assumptions…

Puls, K.E.  EIKE

Veteran German meteorologist Klaus-Eckart Puls. Photo: EIKE

Antarctic Melt Alarm by the AWI …at -93°C!
By EIKE meteorologist Klaus-Eckart Puls
(Translated, edited by P Gosselin)

On August 10, 2010, a new record cold was measured in Antarctica [1]: -93.2°C. Thus the previous record of -89.2°C set at the Vostok Research Station on 21 July 1983 was smashed by 4°C. The annual mean temperature in Antarctica at ice sheet at elevations of 2000 to over 4000 metres range from -30 to -50°C, and the trend is downward [2]. Now the Alfred Wegener Institute (AWI) has announced in a press release [3]: “A record retreat in the ice sheets“. Can ice sheets melt at such record low temperatures? Has the AWI discovered some new physical law?

In the AWI release the following amazing thing can be read:

Researchers from the Alfred Wegener Institute (AWI), Helmholtz Centre for Polar and Marine Research, have for the first time extensively mapped Greenland’s and Antarctica’s ice sheets with the help of the ESA satellite CryoSat-2 and have thus been able to prove that the ice sheets of both regions are momentarily declining at an unprecedented rate.”

These ice sheets mainly located in Greenland and Antarctica and are mostly around 3000 meters thick. On the Greenland ice sheet the annual mean temperatures are about -20°C, and -40°C in Antarctica. Antarctica is a huge polar continent, and Greenland is an island (peninsula) with a latitude range of 10°- 30° from the Pole and borders on the Arctic ocean. This is one explanation for the considerable temperature and climate differences. While Greenland has marginally lost ice during the summer over the last 20 years, the change in ice volume in Antarctica is very much in dispute [4] and hardly measureable with the needed accuracy (Fig. 1).

Figure 1  Trends in ice ice mass [5].

Only a small part of Antarctica has lost mass

Contrary to the claims made by the AWI, there are also satellite evaluations concluding that there has been a positive ice mass gain in Antarctica (Fig. 2):

Figure 2  Antarctic ice growth. [6]

Interesting in the release are the AWI claims about the “somewhat hidden” limitations for Antarctica:

The rate of loss for the West Antarctic Ice Sheet has tripled for the same time period


The scientists observed the most rapid elevation changes…at the Pine-Island-Glacier in Western Antarctica.”


But: while the glaciers in Western Antarctica and on the Antarctic peninsula are shrinking, the ice sheet of Eastern Antarctica grew– however at such a minimal amount that the growth was unable to compensate for the loss on the other side of the continent.”

Firstly, here once again the Antarctic Peninsula and Western Antarctica – where the Pine Island Glacier is located – are being used as the poster child for the dramatic ice loss and for climate change. Unfortunately it has long been known that the ice calving and the melting there are related meteorological reasons: cyclic changes in the West-Wind-Drift (storms) and with associated sea currents [7]. The result: Almost the entire Antarctic continent has gotten colder over the past 30 years. The only exception is the Antarctic Peninsula.

West Antarctica and Antarctic Peninsula melt due to cycles

This is because the Antarctic Peninsula in located in the west wind zone of the southern hemisphere. This southern hemisphere wind belt is subject to stochastic cyclic atmospheric pressure variations, as is the case with all other global wind systems. This is analogous to the northern hemispheric North Atlantic Oscillation NAO). In the southern hemisphere it is known as the Antarctic Oscillation (AAO).

At the site “Wetter-Lexikon” (Weather Dictionary) [8] it is defined as:

The Antarctic Oscillation (AAO) is the fluctuation of the atmospheric pressure between the 40° south and 65° south latitudes. That means that this oscillation is defined by atmospheric pressure difference over the South Pole and the South Tropical regions. The strength of the AAO has an impact on the wind regime at the middle and upper latitudes of the southern hemisphere. The AAO influences the climate over a large part of the southern hemisphere, for example Antarctica, Australia, and the southern parts of South America.

The AAO index is computed from the atmospheric pressure differences. When the AAO is negative, then the cold high predominates over Antarctica. The polar east winds blow strongly around the South Pole. …. In the positive phase the west current shifts southwards so that more rain than normal falls in the southern part of South America and in Australia. Moreover mild air can reach down to the Antarctic coast.”

This means the Antarctic Peninsula can be affected!

This peninsula, including the South Shetland Island, is located in the west between 60°-75°S, and thus in the much feared cyclone zone of the Roaring Forties and Shrieking Sixties.

see caption

Figure 3: Antarctic Oscillation (AAO). [10]

Before about 1980 there was a dominance of meridional weather patterns, a time when zonal weather patterns predominated. That meant a strengthening of the westwind circulation and thus storm activity. At the same time milder air from the Pacific was led to the Antarctic Peninsula. Thus storms with mild air were led from the Pacific and resulted in ice meting processes. Moreover, higher waves mechanically broke up the ice. Here in recent times was the ice break at the Wilkins Ice Shelf at the west coast of the Antarctic Peninsula [9]. The causes are meteorological and have nothing to do with a “climate catastrophe”.

When it comes to climate, the Antarctic Peninsula is only 1% of the Antarctic area.

So where is the accelerated sea level rise?

Despite all the uncertainties mentioned above, the AWI still comes to the following result:

When one calculates both together, the volume of both ice sheets is shrinking by 500 cubic kilometers per year.”

This of course would have to lead to an acceleration in sea level rise which one could observe. However, there has been no detected sea level rise acceleration! A very thorough overview of the latest peer-review publications [11] in fact reaches the opposite result:

Numerous evaluations of coastal tide gauges over 200 years as well as the gravity measurements of the GRACE satellite deliver again and again a sea level rise of about 1.6 mm/yr. … Here…the trends are in agreement: The sea level rise has been linear for at least the last 100 years; there is no acceleration in sea level rise. A signal indicating man-made CO2 (AGW) is nowhere to be seen. This stands in stark contradiction to the claims and especially the alarmist prognoses of the IPCC and some climate institutes.”

Two other facts on ice that were glossed over (avoided?) in the AWI press release:

1. In Antarctica there is a “100-year record” maximum sea ice extent [12]:

The sea ice around Antarctica has steadily increased since satellite measurements began in 1979 and in June, 2014, (peak of the Antarctic winter) reached a new record with respect to total area.”

2. At its current condition, the Arctic sea ice will reach its low late-summer peak in September, and will be well above the minima of the last years:

Arctic Sea Ice Extent

Figure 4 [13]

AWI’s own Antarctic station has measured a cooling trend

Finally, in a release [14], the Alfred Wegener Institute (AWI) also itself announced a 30-year cooling trend at its Neumayer-Station (70°S). According to the definition of the World Meteorological Organization (WMO), this is a climate trend. The AWI wrote:

The meteorological observatory at the Neumayer-Station III is an official climate observation station of the Alfred Wegener Institute for Polar and Ocean Research…has been measuring daily the air temperature in Antarctica for 30 years.”

The AWI published the result in a chart with a linear regression trend (Fig. 5):


Figure 5: Temperature cooling trend at the NEUMAYER Station [14].

However the formulation used by the AWI to describe that cooling trend is quite peculiar (deceptive?):

A result of the long-term research: At the Neumayer-Station it has not gotten warmer over the last three decades.”

Indeed not! It has in fact gotten colder there. Why did they use the blurred formulation “not warmer” when the scientific finding on this AWI dataset is clear? Also at the Neumayer-Station there is an Antarctic climate trend showing cooling.

Most of Antarctica is cooling – not warming as the AWI implies

There are even more peculiar AWI formulations:

This development however is a regional change and the measurements from the Neumayer-Station III do not in any way represent the global climate changes.”

Here the question that comes to mind is: What is that supposed to be about?

Who could ever get the idea that a regional or a local temperature trend would allow conclusions to be drawn for global trends? Or should nobody get the idea that global warming” is not even global?

There are also other peculiarities in the AWI release:

Only at the center of Antarctica has it not gotten warmer.”

The Neumayer-Station (with its cooling trend) is located at 70°S, i.e. far away from the “centerof Antarctica. There it has gotten colder. Moreover the measurements and facts presented here and provided in the footnotes below contradict what the AWI is claiming: “Only in the center of Antarctica has it not gotten warmer“.

With the excption of the Antarctic Peninsula (<1% of the Antarctic area) there is a cooling trend in Antarctica and it also includes the surrounding sea ice [15]:

Both the UAH and the RSS datasets [16] show that the temperature surrounding Antarctica has slipped a few tenths of a degree Celsius 0.1°C from 1979 to today. The temperature anomaly in both datasets has dropped below zero, i.e. below the long-term reference mean value.” 


Measurements in Antarctica show a secular cooling trend. The exception is the Antarctic Peninsula and a part of West Antarctica (approx. 1% of the Antarctic area). In 2010 a new all-time record cold was measured: -93.2°C. The sea ice floating around Antarctica reached “100-year record” daily highs in 2014. With these observations, how anyone could conclude there has been a record ice sheet retreat” [3]  remains a secret of the AWI.


[1]  10 Dec 2013

[2] trend-in-der-antarktis/ 24 Dec 2012

[3] www.awi._maps/  20 August 2014

[4] 12 October 2012 and September 10, 2012

[5]  (1)  6 July 2014

       (2)  10 July 2014

[6]  12 October 2012

[7] 24 Jan 2012

[8] Wetter-Lexikon;

[9] Eisberg voraus, and:


[11]  (a)  8 July 2014

(b)  14 July 2014

(c)  11 July 2014

(d) 9 July 2014

[12] 2 July 2014


[14] Meteorologisches Observatorium wird Klimabeobachtungsstation – 30 Jahre Temperatur-Messungen an der Antarktis-Forschungsstation Neumayer, 12 January 2012:

[15]  Die Temperatur im Bereich des antarktischen Meereisgürtels sinkt und die Meereis-Ausdehnung  wächst”, 11 November 2008;

[16] Anm.: UAH = University of Alabama in Huntsville; RSS = Remote Sensing Systems


15 responses to “Senior Meteorologist Demolishes, Mocks Alfred Wegener Institute Claims Of “Unprecedented Antarctica Ice Loss””

  1. bit chilly

    are the tax payers who fund this organisation aware of this ?

    1. DirkH

      Germans do not care how their taxes are spent; their media doesn’t report it; their parties don’t want to lower taxes and never talk about it.

      Instead, Germans demand a reduction of public debt. They do not know that Euros are debt money and that a reduction of debt would automatically destroy an equal amount of money.

      Well, they never learn that in school. So any public debate is completely bizarre.

  2. David Johnson

    Great article. Thank you

  3. Henning Nielsen

    Is it shameless hard-core alarmism which makes them continue with these fact-defying claims, or just alarmism on autopilot, following the herd?

    AWI and other doomsayers should soon start to consider their future use to a society which did not after all succumb to CAGW.

  4. Loodt Pretorius

    Only a global response and world governance can stop us being overwhelmed by the rising oceans, any deviation from this meme will be treated as a malaise and be sanctioned.

    Did you get permission from the Global Soviet Climate Council to publish this subversive propaganda?

    1. DirkH

      “Did you get permission from the Global Soviet Climate Council to publish this subversive propaganda?”

      Soviet is Russian for Council; so you might rather want to call it Global Soviet of Climate. Take care to omit articles.

  5. John F. Hultquist

    “. . . the ice sheets of both regions are momentarily declining at an unprecedented rate. ”

    I have to force myself to continue reading when I see “unprecedented” in a climate related report. When the statement is about ice volume the effect is double or triple. I have to stop immediately and remove anything within reach that can be thrown.

  6. Jeff

    “I have to force myself to continue reading when I see “unprecedented” in a climate related report.”

    I think they probably mean that it has nothing to do with the President, i.e. it isn’t Bush’s fault 🙂 ….

  7. L Michael Hohmann
  8. ES

    Alfred Wegener was an interesting man. Besides theory of continental drift and plate tectonics he also was studying the jet stream in 1930 in Greenland.

    The Meteorologist Who Started a Revolution:

    Alfred Lothar Wegener: Moving continents

  9. Papy Boomer

    Alfred Lothar Wegener doit se retourner dans sa tombe!

    (Alfred Lothar Wegener must be turning over in his grave!)

  10. Jimbo

    Showing evidence of an acceleration in the rate of mean sea level is always the problem. They can’t have unprecedented melt without showing the acceleration. Add to that the much posited thermal expansion. Pffft!

  11. Weekly Climate and Energy News Roundup #143 | Watts Up With That?

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