Spiegel Calls Recent Extreme Weather Claims “A Climate Bluff”. Data Show “No Recognizable Increase”!

Parts of Germany have been hit hard by unusually harsh downpours, flooding and thunderstorms over the recent days, prompting some alarmist scientists to barge into TV and radio studios to announce it’s due to human-made climate worsening.

Now Spiegel science journlalist Axel Bojanowski comments on this behavior in a commentary titled: “Heavy rains in Germany: The storms and the climate bluff“.

Bojanowski tells readers that the long-term data do not support any links to climate change (let alone man) and that the recent climate doomsday headlines made with every occurring weather anomaly seem to have become “knee-jerk” reactions by German media outlets.

Bojanowski blames both the media and scientists for hyping the extreme weather events. One example he cites is Stefan Rahmstorf of the alarmist Potsdam Institute: Bojanowski writes:

Rahmstorf – a sought-after sound-bite provider for weather catastrophes, told on TV: ‘Also in Germany it is shown that the thunderstorms-heavy rains have increased significantly.'”

But DWD national weather service data show “no trend”

The Spiegel journalist gives some examples of statistical acrobatics recently seen in the media and provided by loose scientists with the aim of producing the desired things-are-getting-worse appearance.

But unfortunately for Rahmstorf and the sensational media, there are still some journalists out there who do their homework and check the facts to make sure the public doesn’t get fed misleading information. Bojanowski cites data from Germany’s own DWD national weather service:

The Deutsche Wetterdienst DWD thus does not wish to give weight to short-term fluctuations: ‘Indications to more frequent occurrences of heavy rains in the last 15 years,” said the DWD when asked to comment, were only “interesting when thinking about possible developments.'”

Bojanowksi cites the DWD further:

‘A trend is climatologically not detectable,’ confirms the DWD when asked to comment. But this simple message is not getting reported to the public during storms.”

To dispel the false claim of more intense and frequent heavy rainfall events, Bojanowski provides a DWD chart that clearly shows no trend change whatsoever in heavy precipitation events in Germany:

Zahlen des Deutschen Wetterdienstes: Kein Trend bei Starkregen in Deutschland

The chart goes back to the early 1950s and shows no trend in the number of days in Germany with more than 30 mm of rainfall. Source: DWD, via Spiegel.

Clearly the German media, and scientists such as Stefan Rahmstorf, seem to be loosely pushing some other agenda: one that appears more sensational and threatening. The reality and observations, however, show that the recent weather is completely normal bad weather.

Even the German Ministry of Environment confirms there is no trend in severe weather. Bojanowski discovered this in some simple research:

There is no recognizable increase in heavy rain events in Germany; that’s the result also for summertime: ‘The number of days with a precipitation amount of 20 mm and more in the summer is practically unchanged,’ the report writes.”

The Spiegel journalist concludes that although the models project heavier and more frequent rainfall events in the future due to warming, he says the data so far in Germany do not show this happening.

This is not good news for the already severely reeling credibility of the media outlets that are unable to resist the urge to promote the yellow climate doomsday stories.


24 responses to “Spiegel Calls Recent Extreme Weather Claims “A Climate Bluff”. Data Show “No Recognizable Increase”!”

  1. David Johnson

    It really is amazing how Alarmists, Greens and other self interested groups keep spouting this arrant nonsense about extreme weather. It is just wilful ignorance or outright lying

  2. sod

    The article is simply wrong.

    Reader comments explain some of the problems:

    These massive events (strong rain, but also tornados or the fires in canada) happen at times with extreme temperatures. The connection is simple to see

    “Ein Test Ihrer Aussage: gestern trat in Hamburg ein Tornado auf. Die Tagesmittel-Temperatur in Hamburg-Fuhlsbüttel betrug 19,7 °C. Die Durchschnittstemperatur zwischen 1891 und 2016 ist 15,7 °C, zwischen 1951 und 2016 15,8 °C. Die Temperaturunterschied betrug immerhin 4°C und ist größer als die Standardabweichung von 3 °C.”

    Bojanowski also does not understand even the most basic statistics.

    “Der Autor des Artikels ist statistischer Laie (und Sie sind es auch, weil Sie das nicht erkannt haben).

    Allgemein wird in der Statistik ein “Nachweis” erbracht, indem man einen Signifikanztest durchführt d.h. man setzt sich ein Akzeptanzniveau, ab der man einen Trend nicht mehr für zufällig hält. Dabei sind Werte von 90 oder 95% Wahrscheinlichkeit, dass es nicht zufällig ist, üblich.
    Eine Meßgröße wie “Anzahl Starkregentage pro Ort” ist hier denkbar ungeeignet, weil man sehr kleine Mittelwerte und sehr große Standardabweichung hat. Das hat zur Folge, dass selbst ein “visuell unübersehbarer” Trend hier nicht das Signifikanzniveau erreicht, ab dem er “nachweisbar nicht zufällig” ist.

    Nebenbei: Um zu beurteilen, ob sich das Problem starker Niederschläge in den letzten Jahrzehnten verschärft hat, sind andere Meßgrößen wie “Regenmenge pro Starkregenereignis” oder “Niederschlagsrate in Liter/h” wahrscheinlich geeigneter als “Anzahl Starkregentage””

    But we could of course also look at a scientific article on the subject:

    Obviously the number of “strong rain” events is increasing. But the effect is stronger in certain places and in certain seasons. Bojanowski was simply misleading you folks!

    1. Kenneth Richard

      “These massive events (strong rain, but also tornados or the fires in canada) happen at times with extreme temperatures.”

      According to the peer-reviewed scientific literature, fires have decreased in frequency since the Little Ice Age ended. Precipitation extremes are less common now than they were in previous centuries. And there have no trends in tornado frequency or intensity in the last several decades.

      And a warming of perhaps 0.1 C overall in the last 19 years does not appear to constitute “extreme temperature” change.

      Perhaps this scientific paper – which shows that warming makes storms *less* intense – could aid in your understanding.
      Our work illustrates a major constraint on the large-scale global atmospheric engine: As the climate warms, the system may be unable to increase its total entropy production enough to offset the moistening inefficiencies associated with phase transitions. This suggests that in a future climate, the global atmospheric circulation might comprise highly energetic storms due to explosive latent heat release, but in such a case, the constraint on work output identified here will result in fewer numbers of such [extreme weather] events. Earth’s atmospheric circulation thus suffers from the “water in gas problem” observed in simulations of tropical convection, where its ability to produce work is constrained by the need to convert liquid water into water vapor and back again to tap its fuel.

      Incoming and outgoing solar radiation couple with heat exchange at Earth’s surface to drive weather patterns that redistribute heat and moisture around the globe, creating an atmospheric heat engine. … On a warming Earth, the increase in perceptible water has been identified as a reason for the tropical overturning to slow down, and studies over a wide range of climates suggest that global atmospheric motions are reduced in extremely warm climates. Models forced according to a climate change scenario [future global warming projections] also exhibit this behavior in their tropical circulation. … The evolution of W [work output] in response to anthropogenic forcing indicates a trend of -0.038 W/m-2 per 100 years per the 10-year running mean.

      Editor’s Summary: Global warming is expected to intensify the hydrological cycle, but it might also make the atmosphere less energetic. Laliberté et al. modeled the atmosphere as a classical heat engine in order to evaluate how much energy it contains and how much work it can do (see the Perspective by Pauluis). They then used a global climate model to project how that might change as climate warms. Although the hydrological cycle may increase in intensity, it does so at the expense of its ability to do work, such as powering large-scale atmospheric circulation or fueling more very intense storms.
      A comparison with North Atlantic and Western Mediterranean paleoclimate proxies shows that the phases of high storm activity occurred during cold periods, suggesting a climatically-controlled mechanism for the occurrence of these storm periods. Besides, an in-phase storm activity pattern is found between the Western Mediterranean and Northern Europe. Spectral analyses performed on the Sr content revealed a new 270-year solar-driven pattern of storm cyclicity. For the last 3000 years, this 270-year cycle defines a succession of ten major storm periods (SP) with a mean duration of 96 ± 54 yr. Periods of higher storm activity are recorded from >680 to 560 cal yr BC (SP10, end of the Iron Age Cold Period), from 140 to 820 cal yr AD (SP7 to SP5) with a climax of storminess between 400 and 800 cal yr AD (Dark Ages Cold Period), and from 1230 to >1800 cal yr AD (SP3 to SP1, Little Ice Age). Periods of low storm activity occurred from 560 cal yr BC to 140 cal yr AD (SP9 and SP8, Roman Warm Period) and from 820 to 1230 cal yr AD (SP4, Medieval Warm Period).

    2. R2Dtoo

      Take a hike Sod. I have lived in Western Canada of nearly 50 years. We have wet springs and dry springs, warm springs and cold springs. We also have forest fires somewhere in Canada every year. The Ft Mac fire resulted from low snowfall and little spring rain. It also started because of poor forest management practices. If Ft. Mac hadn’t been built where it is, the fire would have been just as bad, but a lot less destructive to human activities. It probably wouldn’t even had made the news. It wouldn’t have happened at all if some idiot human hadn’t started it! So quit trying to push your agenda with a perfectly natural event that hurt a lot of folks.

    3. DirkH

      sod 9. June 2016 at 4:15 PM | Permalink | Reply
      “The article is simply wrong.
      Reader comments explain some of the problems:

      These massive events (strong rain, but also tornados or the fires in canada) happen at times with extreme temperatures. The connection is simple to see

      “Ein Test Ihrer Aussage: gestern trat in Hamburg ein Tornado auf. Die Tagesmittel-Temperatur in Hamburg-Fuhlsbüttel betrug 19,7 °C. Die Durchschnittstemperatur zwischen 1891 und 2016 ist 15,7 °C, zwischen 1951 und 2016 15,8 °C. Die Temperaturunterschied betrug immerhin 4°C und ist größer als die Standardabweichung von 3 °C.””

      So a day deviated from the average more than one standard deviation. Well shag me silly. We’re doomed!!!!!

      1. DirkH

        What’s the percentage of events in a Gaussian distribution that are more than one standard deviation away from the mean, 16%?
        So, sod, if you throw a dice and get a six, are you jumping up and down from joy because of this once-in-a-lifetime event?

        1. Mindert Eiting

          A joke by a Dutch comedian (Herman Finkers). His mother lived in a home for the elderly and he paid a visit to her. ‘What day do we have?’, she asked. ‘It’s Thursday, mom’. After a while: ‘that’s very special, Herman’. ‘Why is that so special, mom?’ ‘Well, usually it is not Thursday’.

  3. Kenneth Richard

    Not just for Germany, extreme weather events are globally *less* common now than they’ve been in the past. At least according to 2016 peer-reviewed science. Below are 8 sample papers.–an-enduring-conundrum-for-wise-policy-advice-2167-0587-1000155.pdf
    It is widely promulgated and believed that human-caused global warming comes with increases in both the intensity and frequency of extreme weather events. A survey of official weather sites and the scientific literature provides strong evidence that the first half of the 20th century had more extreme weather than the second half, when anthropogenic global warming is claimed to have been mainly responsible for observed climate change. The disconnect between real-world historical data on the 100 years’ time scale and the current predictions provides a real conundrum when any engineer tries to make a professional assessment of the real future value of any infrastructure project which aims to mitigate or adapt to climate change. What is the appropriate basis on which to make judgements when theory and data are in such disagreement?
    Attribution of extreme weather and climate events overestimated by unreliable climate simulations
    [U]nreliable climate simulations are prone to overestimate the attributable risk to climate change. Climate model ensembles tend to be overconfident in their representation of the climate variability which leads to systematic increase in the attributable risk to an extreme event.
    The reconstruction shows that significantly longer and more frequent wet and dry periods were experienced in the preinstrumental compared to the instrumental period [∼1900–2010].
    ‘Tipping points’ (TPs) are thresholds of potentially disproportionate changes in the Earth’s climate system associated with future global warming and are considered today as a ‘hot’ topic in environmental sciences. In this study, TP interactions are analysed from an integrated and conceptual point of view using two qualitative Boolean models built on graph grammars. They allow an accurate study of the node TP interactions previously identified by expert elicitation and take into account a range of various large-scale climate processes potentially able to trigger, alone or jointly, instability in the global climate. Our findings show that, contrary to commonly held beliefs, far from causing runaway changes in the Earth’s climate, such as self-acceleration due to additive positive feedbacks, successive perturbations might actually lead to its stabilization.
    Extratropical cyclones cause much of the high impact weather over the mid-latitudes. With increasing greenhouse gases, enhanced high-latitude warming will lead to weaker cyclone activity. Here we show that between 1979 and 2014, the number of strong cyclones in Northern Hemisphere in summer has decreased at a rate of 4% per decade, with even larger decrease found near northeastern North America.
    Bayesian age–depth models, derived from eight AMS radiocarbon dates, suggest that the frequency of typhoon strikes was 2–5 times greater from 3900 to 7800 cal. yr. BP compared to 0–3900 cal. yr. BP. Possible explanations for this variability in the typhoon record are that typhoons were more frequent and/or more intense in Southeast Asia in the mid-Holocene because of climatic changes associated with the Mid-Holocene Warm Period or that the record reflects site sensitivity changes resulting from a mid-Holocene sea-level highstand.
    [T]he net effect of climate change has made agricultural drought less likely and … the current severe impacts of drought on California’s agriculture have not been substantially caused by long-term climate changes.
    Consistent with reported declines in pan evaporation, our calculated potential evapotranspiration (PET) shows negative or small trends since 1950 over the United States, China, and other regions, and no global PET trends from 1950 to 1990. Updated precipitation and streamflow data and the self-calibrated PDSI_pm all show consistent drying during 1950–2012 over most Africa, East and South Asia, southern Europe, eastern Australia, and many parts of the Americas. … [T]hese regional drying trends resulted primarily from precipitation changes related to multi-decadal oscillations in Pacific sea surface temperatures

    1. sod

      your first paper clearly shows what is wrong with this approach:–an-enduring-conundrum-for-wise-policy-advice-2167-0587-1000155.pdf

      Basically it uses a random list of random indicators randomly picked around the world, to contradict weather effects of climate change. The problem is, that those picks were not random.

      We got a strong theory warmer air, more water –> higher temperature, more rain. (remember occam’s razor?)

      You do not throw it out, because a few data points do not fit in.

      And indeed, if you look at many indicators ( number AND strength of rain) and by looking at different regions and different seasons, you will find the pattern that supports the theory.

      1. yonason

        “Basically it uses a random list of random indicators randomly picked around the world, to contradict weather effects of climate change. The problem is, that those picks were not random.” – sod

        The only thing that’s random about it are the confused thoughts in your empty head.

      2. DirkH

        sod 9. June 2016 at 10:36 PM | Permalink | Reply
        “We got a strong theory warmer air, more water –> higher temperature, more rain. (remember occam’s razor?)”

        Why would a warmunist of all people cite Occam’s razor.
        Warmer means more moisture, more rain, overall a faster turnaround of the atmospheric steam engine to move MORE HEAT FASTER to the stratosphere where CO2 radiates it to space. the normal COOLING MECHANISM of the planet, preventing overheating.

        So what? Warmunists also claim that the dreaded 2 centigrade warming will lead to more deserts. Well, they’re antiscientific because they’re predicting EVERYTHING so warmunism cannot be falsified and is therefore a cult, not a science.

    2. David Johnson

      An excellent list which thoroughly and scientifically eviscerates SODs wailing claims of armageddon

  4. Ron C.

    Mike Hulme does a good job explaining the motivations for attributing x-weather and the limitations of today’s science to do so.

    1. yonason

      OK, I saw the fist link on the site has some interesting material, and a video by Prof. François Gervais .
      I tracked down another fellow, Carl-Otto Weiss, who has a video saying about the same.

      Both are associated with the Schiller Institute, whoever they are. So I clicked on that link and discovered to my disappointment that it’s essential an arm of the Lydon LaRouche propaganda machine. Those guys are no less frightening than the UN.

      So, even if it turns out that the science isn’t bogus, it doesn’t matter. their association with LaRouche has poisoned it.

  5. yonason

    Nice website. Apparently I didn’t have it bookmarked yet. Thanks.

  6. Graeme No.3

    Australia has had a severe coastal storm down the east coast recently.

    Beach erosion threatening houses at one beach side suburb – “sign of climate change”from the usual suspects. Except previous storms 1967, 1945 and 1925.

    Launceston in Tasmania threatened by flooding (it is at the junction of 2 rivers).
    No flooding, because of levees and flooding “not as bad as 1929”. Still didn’t stop a few gullible sods from moaning “climate change”.

    If sod really knew anything about climate he would realise that storms in Europe get worse in cooler climate times.

    1. yonason

      see “Greens behind Sydney beach disaster” (last article down on page) here:

      1. AndyG55

        Building in a proven storm erosion spot, probably isn’t all that intelligent 😉

  7. gallopingcamel

    There were floods before we started driving SUVs including the “Great Drowning” in 1362:

    1. Mindert Eiting

      A north-west storm and high tide, pushing North-sea water to the south-east, and the absence of Delta Works explain a lot. After about 1980 these explanations disappear and get substituted by the explanation that the events are caused by climate change. The last word does not matter and so the new explanation says that climate causes weather (only after 1980). This may illustrate the progress of climate science and the rapidly increasing quality of our journalists.

      1. DirkH

        …Journalists, politicans and (warmunist) scientists.
        I recently found out about the rapid speed with which humans mutate. So that explains the rapidly diminishing intelligence of our ruling caste – and the emergence of the dumbest leftists ever.

  8. DennisA
  9. Till
    1. sod

      “Bojanowski explains his article and headline:”

      Thanks a lot for that Link. Rahmsdorf says basically exactly what i said above:

      “Da stimmen wir wie gesagt überein: der Anstieg der Niederschläge ab 30 mm ist nicht signifikant. Wie oben erläutert sind die Niederschläge ab 30 mm allerdings auch kaum relevant für die Extreme, die wir gerade erlebt haben. Ein Journalist hat hier eine Kurve hervorgehoben, die zu seinem bekannten Weltbild passt. Wir forschen seit Jahren auf diesem Gebiet und haben wesentliche Beiträge zu Extremniederschlägen in den führenden Fachjournalen publiziert, ich stehe zu dieser Fragestellung in Kontakt mit international führenden Wissenschaftlern wie Geert Lenderink und Peter Berg, und ich habe daher oben eine etwas ausgewogenere Darstellung des Forschungs- Diskussionsstandes zum Thema versucht.”

      Bojanowski has picked out a single datapoint (30 mm events), which support his view. He ignores physics and basically bases his entire claim ion the fact,, that the changes so far are not statistically significant on that one indicator. H is using one hell of a trick, again.

      Look at what the monitoring report he cites has to say about strong rain events starting on page 19: