Weatherman Slaps Down Newsman: Today’s Extremes Nothing New

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?

Frank Abel:

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.

8 responses to “Weatherman Slaps Down Newsman: Today’s Extremes Nothing New”

  1. Edward.

    This is anecdotal evidenced opinion PG, I would have to check the rainfall/sunshine records but in England, we had some lovely early summer days in June and early July and then it was a normal English summer, not really cold, not really warm and as usual quite wet (esp in the North West).

    The cooler nights are here, September has been cool (ish), it is a capricious month, it can be great and warm but usually is damp and cool… change there!
    Maritime climate and as in Britain so too in Germany then?

    BTW snow in the Scottish highlands recently is quite unusual (for September).
    I feel this winter will be cold by comparison with the early noughties but not as bad as 09/10, we shall see….as I have said -a really cold one and we can put the AGW scam to bed.

    The Germans (already the people in den Straßen – perceive a massive EU scam- they don’t want to believe their senses… can the EU have lied to us!?!) will see to that (I do hope) but………….. then, I don’t like the real cold (being a limey)…….And! – ONE MUST be very careful for what one wishes for.

  2. DirkH

    Typical 70ies summer here in N Germany, cool phase of the PDO, what do you expect. The Germans are silent about AGW ATM but a lo of them fume about the nuclear power reactor lifetime extension. They give me flyers with pictures of 9/11 to awaken associations with jets crashing into a nuclear reactor.

    Little do they know that it’s a tough business hitting the reactor on ground level with a passenger plane that is not build for StuKa fighting.

    So let’s see. Stock up if you’re in a village. If a snow catastrophe comes it will come quickly.

  3. Jeff

    Hi Pierre! Great site! I don’t have television so I am somewhat insulated from Main Stream Media to be heavily influenced (or informed). NOAA has said we are headed for the hottest year on record, but, all I read about is how cool it has been in many parts of the world. By that I mean we have had 1-2 heat waves in North America this summer, but thats it. Here in south central Ontario our summer has been cool (tho’ not as cool as last years) and short. My tomatoes died for the third year running because of cold or cold influenced disease. The Arctic’s summer was cool and short also. My friends in the UK say the same thing regarding their summer. The southern hemisphere just experienced a rather severe winter. Rains in Pakistan would indicate cooler temperatures would it not? Now I read your comments that summer wasn’t much for Germany either. Outside of the Russian heat wave has there been any ‘out of the ordinary’ excessive heat periods to sway the data?

    I understand these anecdotal comments are not scientific, however if there have been limited extreme occurences of heat, and yet we are on pace for a new temperature record then the implications are that the temperature raise has gone virtually unnoticed by the populace.

    The second thing you could perhaps clarify for me is the UN definition of heat wave. In my readings I found a statement (but can’t find now) of how the definition of heat wave was changed around 2001. If I remember correctly a heat wave is now considered any ‘prolonged’ period where the measured temperature exceeds the historically average temperature by 5 celsius degrees. If this is the case then a temperature reading of -17C would be considered a heat wave if the average temperature for the day is -23C !

    Lastly, my guess is that ocean arseidification, mollusc melting, isn’t sexy enough to captivate attention so the Next Big Thing will be biodiversification. What with less than 2 million species known and as many as 100 million estimated (I assume by computer models) to be out there, there is abundant and fertile grounds to spread the BS far and deep. I myself have personally applied for $17 million in UN grants to protect Sasquatch, Yeti, Kraken, Mokele-mbembe, Chupacabra, Bunyip, Unicorns and Nessie. So far I’ve only recieved $4.7 million in funding, but, I have been told I can reapply for the monies if I put the words “Climate Change” in the grant application title.

    All the very, very best……. Jeff

    1. DirkH

      According to Lomborg it’s about 30 million animal species; 20 million of which are beetles. These are simple estimates; most beetle species are confined to a small territory. I guess they mutate quickly or something – so they have a pretty overwhelming number of species.

  4. spangled drongo

    Thanks Pierre. Eastern Australia has had a wet September and a cool one as well. The Met Bureau are telling us that we have had record rainfall for the state of Queensland for the month but unless they had the same number of rain gauges in the same places for the last couple of centuries, I wonder how would they know?

    1. Bernd Felsche

      Western Australia has had a dry winter. It’s usually the wet season.

      But it’s not the “failure” of rains in one year that cause a “disaster” in a civilization. We can store food and we can transport and trade food. I don’t try to grow bananas in my back yard, but I have far too many grapes for my own consumption; from just a single vine. They’re table grapes, not wine grapes. There wouldn’t be enough of the latter. 😉

      There’s only so much rain to go around and I guess that the circulation patterns are in favour of precipitation on Eastern Australia. That’s a serious impediment to Western Australia’s secession from the People’s Democratic Socialist Republic of Australia.

  5. Jeff

    Sorry to be completely off-topic Pierre, but you wrote some time ago about seals dying with curving sliced wounds. If you haven’t commented already here is the most likely reason

    All the best…. Jeff

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