Yesterday I just happened to be listening to German NDR news radio (during my after-lunch snooze) and heard an interview with meteogroup’s Frank Abel, one of Germany’s better known meteorologists.Regrettably I can’t post the German interview audio due to copyright reasons. But you can get an mp3 audio clip e-mailed to you by calling Frau Renate Genz-Kreher, at the Hamburg studios, Tel.: (+49) 40/4156-2788. Just pick up the phone – I’m sure she speaks pretty good English
The NDR newsman starts the interview with a list of dramatic weather events that have occurred in northern Germany recently, then questions Abel if these events were something we’d have to get used to. Abel answered (paraphrased):
It’s really to early to say. Such events have happened in the past. A couple of months ago Austrian experts cautioned against premature conclusions on climate change and rainfall. It is quite certain that global temperatures are rising now but it is unsure how this impacts rainfall. We have to be careful not to spread too much certainty on the topic.
In a nutshell, all these reports claiming climate change leads to more frequent extremes are premature. There’s too much uncertainty out there.
The newsman then asks why northern Germany has had such lousy weather lately. Abel explains that it has to do with so-called 5B Lows. These are Lows that form in the Alps and move up to the Baltic Sea, which leads to warm moist air from southeast Europe colliding with much cooler air and thus results in heavy deluges. The same phenomenon happened in 2002, and in Poland in 1997 – all caused by so-called 5B Lows.
Of course the newsman doesn’t really care about that. He wants to here that it’s due to global warming. So he presses Abel.
Also for us here in North Germany it feels like it has rained harder than ever before. What has come down over the last few weeks is just unbelievable. Can you, as a weather expert, confirm this?
Abel agrees that it has rained a lot, and that August was one of the wettest months on the records, and then explains some of the geographic factors and goes into the current high water situation that people in some regions have to deal with right now. But he doesn’t deliver the goods. So the newsman persists:
So is it the changes in climate that are behind these heavy rains?
Abel refuses to say yes.
The situation is that nobody is really certain, and you have to be very careful…
The newsman interrupts:
Yes, but what do you think?
I can’t say. If you look back at the past, you’ll certainly find years and phases where you had similar conditions and people said ‘this has never happened”‘ Man has a relatively short memory for these things. Many have forgotten how we had similarly wet summers at the end of the 1970s.
It really sucks when the interviewee doesn’t cooperate. Next time the newsman will know better and invite a more reliable expert – like Prof Mojib Latif, who we now know will say anything. Damn meteorologists!
Don’t get me wrong, I don’t know what Abel’s position is on global warming…I’d say he’s a warmist, but not an alarmist. You’d have to ask him yourself (privately, off the record). He aint no Joe Bastardi – pretty sure about that.
I live in northern Germany and what do I think of the current weather? It was one of the shortest summers I can remember my 20 years here. We had about 3 weeks of hot weather from end of June to middle of July, and that was it. After that it was cool and rainy. This September has been really cool, with very few days getting up over 20°C. It’s rained a lot – but that’s what it does in northern Germany. That’s nothing new.