German PIK Scientist/IPCC Lead Author Claims La Nina Is Warm – And Caused By Global Warming

Levermann claims La Nina is warm. (Photo credit: PIK)

The usual German media outlets today feature the usual scientists who are out in force spreading the dreck science that global warming is leading to more weather extremes, and La Ninas.

These “scientists” are from the usual source: the alarmist Potsdam Institute For Climate Impact Research (PIK).  Amazingly, one of these scientists even claims that the current La Nina is warm, and caused by global warming. 

The interviews come on the heels of Der Spiegel’s report late last week on a paper appearing in Science that shows just the opposite has been true in history: Warming leads to milder climates, which lead to human prosperity.

German Stern magazine did an interview with PIK scientist Anders Levermann, who is a lead author on the IPCC 5th Assessment Report on the subject of sea level.  Here’s his comment on the media-ballyhooed weather extremes we’ve been hearing about:

Certain is: In a rapidly warming world, we will experience more frequent stronger extreme weather events like flooding, droughts and high winds.”

Everything is caused by global warming – even the “record snowfalls in Germany”. Other than sci-fi reports from reinsurer Munich Re, I have yet to see one scientific report that links these weather events to global warming. In fact Accumulated Cyclone Energy last year reached a record low.

On the Australian floods, Levermann attributes them to warm waters around Australia, in combination with the current La Nina, which he says:

Together with the La Niña climate phenomena, which provides a warming of natural origin, the warmer water temperatures lead to the worst rainfalls in a 100 years. The higher ocean temperatures in turn are very likely a consequence of global warming.”

[Update: To be fair, Levermann here most likely meant: The higher ocean temperatures near Australia (and not the Pacific in general) in turn are very likely a consequence of global warming. I guess he wants to say the La Nina pushed the warm water to Australia, and this water is warmer than usual because of warming. The statement he makes above  is very misleading, to say the least].

On weather extremes in Germany this winter, Levermann serves up this observation (fantasy):

In any case one has to say that the snowfall of last winter was unusual. Also this winter was a record winter when compared with the past 100 years. Such 100-year records are tumbling one after the other, and it’s going to happen even more often in the future.”

Rahmstorf says there’s a connection (but he doesn’t see it yet)

The online Handlesblatt also features an interview with PIK Prince of Panic Stefan Rahmstorf about the same weather extremes. The Handelsblatt asks Rahmstorf if it is connected to global warming:

The planet is getting hotter and wetter. 2010, together with 2005, was the warmest year since measurements began, and it was also the one with the most precipitation. Also the increase in devastating floods can be explained by global warming says Stefan Rahmstorf of the Potsdam Institute For Climate Impact Research (PIK).”

Stefan Rahmstorf (Photo: PIK)

Everything today can be attributed to global warming. The theory is unfalsifiable. If it happens, it’s because of global warming. Anf if it doesn’t happen (droughts), that too is because of global warming.

The Handelsblatt then asks Rahmstorf if the floods in Australia and Brazil are not the results of the La Nina? Here’s Rahmstorf’s reply:

Of course these events are, in the forefront, traced back to La Niña. But the change between El Niño and La Niña is a cyclic phenomena occurring every three to seven years. But that does not explain why this year records which have stood for 100 years  have been broken. There are experts who believe that the fluctuations between El Niño and La Niña are more severe. Right now we are having an Extreme-La-Niña. In 1998 we had the most extreme El Niño.”

His colleague Levermann suggests it’s because of global warming. Note that Rahmstorf cites some experts who say so. But what does Rahmstorf himself believe? Handelsblatt:

 But I do believe that it’s still too early to robustly show there is indeed a change.”

This has been typical of Rahmstorf and PIK lately, having it both ways. Notice how he starts by claiming that the extremes are due to global warming, and that the ENSOs are getting more extreme too. But then he says he can’t robustly show a connection between global warming and ENSO extremes. It’s there, it just can’t be shown.

Just another day at the PIK. Doing all it can to link everything to global warming.

35 responses to “German PIK Scientist/IPCC Lead Author Claims La Nina Is Warm – And Caused By Global Warming”

  1. Juraj V.

    Truth is, that cold la Nina pushes warm water to the Australian coast. But there is nothing special about recent Australian flooding:
    The last one was even bellow the 1974 one. One thing is clear – GW reduces floods in Brisbane area.

    PIK is trumpeting warmest evah SST ring around Australia for any November.

    1. ArndB

      # ”Truth is, that cold la Nina pushes warm water to the Australian coast. “

      The dominant factor is the cold Humbolt Current. In my book “Climate Change and Naval War “, Chapter 2_12 , p. 23, (2004/05) it was already indicated that Dake Chen et. al concluded that the motion of the pool is causing changes in the atmosphere and not vice versa (Chen, Dake; Cane, M.A.; Kaplan, A; Zewblak, S.E.; Huang, D.; ‘Predictability of El Niño over the past 148 years’, NATURE, Vol. 248, 15 April 2004, p. 733-735.)

  2. Bruce of Newcastle

    “he says he can’t robustly show a connection between global warming and ENSO extremes”

    Hmm, back in April of last year Joe D’Aleo showed a robust connection between La Nina’s and the cold phase of the PDO, which we are now experiencing.

    He also pointed out that the cooling effect of the low solar cycle #24 would further accentuate the PDO cooling.

    I wonder if PIK has ever thought to model the effect of these two strong cooling patterns. Maybe all that snow they are buried under has distracted them from doing this.

  3. ArndB

    Hardly ever read something more shocking as Anders Levermann in FAZ 30 Dec. 2010 (*) : “Climate scientists predict up to the year 2200 an increase in temperature by eight degrees.”
    AND: “Die Wand, auf die wir zufahren, liegt im Nebel, aber sie ist da!“ „The wall on which we ride is in the mist, but it’s there!”, (Google translation) ,(*) , and in this blog.
    Irresponsible stupide!

  4. DirkH

    They just don’t make the alarmists anymore like they used to.
    Are all quality alarmists already on the Biodiversity scare?

    In other news: Hulme and his Tyndall Centre want to stop the UK from drilling for shale gas.

  5. Dana

    The problem is that you want a simple, black and white answer, but the global climate isn’t simple.

    As the planet warms, the atmosphere holds more water vapor. As a result, on average you get more intense storms (and thus more flooding). But clouds will tend to precipitate more quickly, so other regions will experience droughts. Here is the IPCC map projecting future precipitation changes in a warming world – note that some areas are wetter, others are dryer.

    So we see increased floods in some areas, increased droughts in others. Then when people who haven’t taken time to understand these complexities see predictions of more floods and more droughts, they assume there must be a contradiction and scientists must be ‘covering all the bases’ so that “the theory is unfalsifiable”.

    The problem here is not with the AGW theory, it’s with those who don’t understand the AGW theory.

    1. ArndB

      # Dana! Do you know (or any one else) how much water the atmosphere has in store at any time during one year ?

      Do you know that the whole atmospheric water in the atmosphere is replaced (completely) every 10 days, or 35 time in one year?

      What matters is water! Leonardo da Vinci (1452-1519) said : “Water is the driver of nature”. Or : Climate is the continuation of the oceans by other means: See:

      The problem is not CO2 but the water and the oceanic condition that provides the water to the atmosphere is what matters , and we should ensure that we do not interfere in the marine environment that may effect the interchange with the atmosphere, as should have be observed since the Rio Summit 1992 –IMO-:
      calling to apply rigorously the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea.

    2. Mas

      “The problem here is not with the AGW theory, it’s with those who don’t understand the AGW theory.” 😉

      Nevermind kooky Hansen has the answer

      ‘The nation’s most prominent publicly funded climatologist is officially angry about this, blaming democracy and citing the Chinese government as the “best hope” to save the world from global warming. He also wants an economic boycott of the U.S. sufficient to bend us to China’s will.

      According to Mr. Hansen, compared to China, we are “the barbarians” with a “fossil-money- ‘democracy’ that now rules the roost,” making it impossible to legislate effectively on climate change. Unlike us, the Chinese are enlightened, unfettered by pesky elections. Here’s what he blogged on Nov. 24:

      “I have the impression that Chinese leadership takes a long view, perhaps because of the long history of their culture, in contrast to the West with its short election cycles. At the same time, China has the capacity to implement policy decisions rapidly. The leaders seem to seek the best technical information and do not brand as a hoax that which is inconvenient.”‘

      Perhaps the US should sack this traitor and let him peddle his lies in China.

      More AGW scientific ‘integrity’ …

      ‘”In that regard I don’t think you can ignore it all, as Mike [Mann] suggests as one option, but the response should try to somehow label these guys a[s] lazy and incompetent and unable to do the huge amount of work it takes to construct such a database.

      Indeed technology and data handling capabilities have evolved and not everything was saved. So my feeble suggestion is to indeed cast aspersions on their motives and throw in some counter rhetoric. Labeling them as lazy with nothing better to do seems like a good thing to do.”

      SOURCE: email 1177158252

      Yeah, that’s the ticket, that’s how a real scientist defends his scientific claims …’

      1. DirkH

        He’s just jealous because they have black jails for dissidents and he hasn’t.

        1. Mas

          ‘Today the American Tradition Institute’s Environmental Law Center filed a federal Freedom of Information Act request with NASA, seeking records detailing whether and how ‘global warming’ activist Dr. James Hansen of NASA’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies (GISS) has complied with applicable federal ethics and financial disclosure laws and regulations, and NASA Rules of Behavior.

          This request seeks records of longtime, taxpayer-funded activist Hansen, in the knowledge that FOIA-released records and other documents show his GISS colleague, Dr. Gavin Schmidt, has edited the activist blog RealClimate on regular business hours when he is nominally working for the taxpayer. In fact, FOIA-released records indicate this third-party activism was considered part of Schmidt’s job, seeking to rehabilitate the discredited ‘hockey stick’ and otherwise promoting GISS’s activist line.

          The request for Hansen’s ethics-compliance records comes on the heels of his latest adventures in public advocacy, writing in the Chinese newspaper South China Morning Post to blame the United States for modern climate change and his ritually exaggerated claims of future catastrophe, as well as some by now typically nasty sneering at American democracy in a follow-up article published on his website (now taken down but surely produced, as FOIA records have already revealed that so much of his privately posted work has been produced, on taxpayer time).

          This is the latest in a long line of often radical behavior by Hansen that, were it engaged in by a government employee on the other side of the ‘global warming’ issue, would have resulted in discipline and possibly termination years ago. Dr. Hansen may state that he is speaking as a private citizen — in fora ranging from his testimony supporting lawbreaking in the name of global warming, to extreme public advocacy only tolerated, if even celebrated, because of his position with NASA — but the obvious truth is that he is trading on his platform as a NASA scientist to gain the wide audience he has (Hansen is an astronomer).

          “It seems that Hansen’s access to and use of the media has so cowed his NASA superiors that his office has been allowed to operate unencumbered by applicable ethics requirements which other NASA employees, not so darling to the media, must comply with,” said Christopher Horner, ATI’s senior director of litigation. “In fact, in public court pleadings filed in Competitive Enterprise Institute v. NASA, NASA recently revealed that Hansen’s office operated for years in violation of these obligations.”

          ATI’s requests build on that record, seeking specific records since 2004 relating to:

          * Required Approvals and Waivers for Outside Employment
          * Required Financial Disclosure/Conflict of Interest Disclosure
          * Internal discussion of possible or actual disciplinary actions

          ATI looks forward to NASA’s compliance with this request, in stark contrast to how it has recently treated other requests for GISS records, with expectation that NASA will provide the responsive records in the statutorily permitted period of time.’

  6. Beano

    AGW theory is just that – a theory – and reliant on computer models and altered climate data.

    Nothing beats history. Historically there have been worse floods in Australia’s history.

    1. Dana

      Evolution is “just a theory” too. So are germ theory, cell theory, atomic theory, and so on and so forth. A theory is the highest level that a scientific concept can attain.

      Historically there have been some really nasty forest fires. So I guess there’s nothing wrong with arsen.

    2. Nonoy Oplas

      Beano, AGW is not a theory, it remains a hypothesis, a proposition. A theory is never contradicted by data. Theory and data must conform with each other always. If they contradict, data must prevail, theory must give way and revert back to being a hypothesis, to be subjected to another round of tests. Current cooling data contradict AGW’s proposition and prediction.

      1. Dana

        Wrong. There is no current cooling data and AGW is unquestionably a theory.

        1. Rainer S

          Dana, I don´t want to be picky, but AGW certainly is not a theory.

          A theory would be characterized by a more or less complete formal description of the “Earth system”, and not only (quasi-)static but dynamic over a large time scale. In this framework, putting forward a proposition like “More Co2 is causing rising temperatures”, if properly set up and made testable, would be a hypothesis.
          Example from relativity theory. From the theory follows the proposition/hypothesis that (big) masses influence (“deform”) space around them. Test cases: Oddities in the orbital parameters of Mercury – the planet, not the element 🙂 – or the existence of gravitational lenses.
          And while you are mentioning evolution theory: For a long time it was quite a big problem to explain the apparently high speed of evolutionary processes, a preferred point of attack for ID fans. Since we know about epigenetics, the case for evolution is much stronger.
          Lesson from the last example: to spend more time on actual research than on reframing issues, moving goal posts or playing correlation and attribution games. As we are seeing, the latter is not working with the public any more.

          1. DirkH

            Formally, at any given moment, the current version of the GCM’s together with the more or less assumed historical forcing values (aerosols, vulcanoes, land use change…) constitutes the description of the AGW theory.

            So AGW as a theory is ever-changing, and will continually be changed by the GCM modelers.

            It is also not public or reviewable, as we do not get public real time access to the current versions of the GCMs.

            From time to time, we get a scientific paper from the AGWists, that’s how we know that they are there. They will give us a glimpse of their theory, but never the current state of the entire huge source code.

            They will time the release of such papers to be short enough before the IPCC report release to prevent sceptical scientists from writing rebuttals; this is how they operated in the past, and they will continue to do so.

          2. Dana

            Clearly you don’t want to be picky, because you have to be correct to be picky.

          3. DirkH

            “Clearly you don’t want to be picky, because you have to be correct to be picky.”

            Dana, if you think he’s wrong, you probably also think that you know where he’s wrong. So point us to the official current version of the AGW theory. Where is it?

            Part of that theory should be falsifiable predictions, as any scientific theory can make.

          4. Dana

            Go read the IPCC report.

  7. Edward.

    We’re losing sight of the goalposts here, this is post normal science at it’s best.

    The basic premise is MM CO2 e = global warming.

    This hackneyed red-herring is not even a theory, it is a flimsy back of an envelope…. half-assed idea, which has only seen the light of day because politicians desire it to be true, scientifically it is BS.

    Rahstorf (+ UN IPCC et al) saw this coming many years ago and the goal posts were duly dug up and re-located and a new moniker was revealed, yes – mmco2e now = climate change……… very damned convenient!!! So any calamitous weather event could therefore be blamed on mankind..blah blah blah.

    Yet the basic premise remains, CO2 is/will cause global warming…..err at some time in the future and to combat this massive but as yet unquantified threat, the western world must embark on a de-industrialisation that would dwarf even the WWII devastation wrought upon the world. All the time allowing China and Indian to industrialise and usurp western market share, thus whilst
    Europe/USA regress to the dark ages, China and the rest of the world go on their merry polluting ways and climate change appenz!
    If this madness wasn’t enough, it …..wait a minute – gets even more lunatic. If mankind could stop [tomorrow for instance] halt inputing
    CO2 into the atmosphere, what would happen??? Answer, we don’t effin know……….! Most likely scenario???……………..No effect whatsoever.

    The CO2 thing was never the issue, CO2 is a life giving gas, not a pollutant, this argument is about money, power and control, Rahmstorf and all, are only mirroring the cries of their masters and owners (EU politburo/corporate vested interests) , lapdogs all.

    WE are of independent thought and of a libertarian mould on this blog, trolls take your opinions elsewhere, because you cannot argue the science, for there is aught to conjecture.

    BTW, PG, great blog.

    1. Dana

      Yikes that was a bunch of nonsensical babble.

      1. Edward.

        You’d know all about it…………..

  8. Edward.

    Dr. Lindzen, has it:

    An eloquent rebuttal, as usual, a brilliant mind.

    1. Dana

      Too bad the article was full of falsehoods and misrepresentations. Par for the course for Lindzen, unfortunately.

      At Skeptical Science, we may do a series on Lindzen after we finish with Monckton’s Myths. His intellectual dishonesty shouldn’t be left unchallenged.

      1. Viv Evans

        Too bad the article was full of falsehoods and misrepresentations. Par for the course for Lindzen, unfortunately.’

        Unless you can quote chapter and verse where Prof. Lindzen, in the quoted essay, uses falsehoods and misrepresentations, that sentence is nothing but a personal slur.
        It falls under the libel laws here in the UK, so someone might actually take you to court. So you better provide the followers of this blog with some evidence.

        1. Rob Honeycutt

          Viv… There are already three published papers showing where Lindzen 2009 is in error (Trenberth et al 2010, Murphy 2010, Chung et al 2010). The journal that published LC09 (GRL) took a bit of a hit for letting such a sloppy paper through. And LC10, their response to the critiques, is unlikely to be published because they don’t fully address the errors.

          This is how science is supposed to work. It doesn’t matter if Lindzen is underhanded in how he’s trying to present the data or not. Bad science gets filtered out for good science.

          There are numerous ways that Lindzen’s work doesn’t fit the broader science. He claims that climate sensitivity is ~0.5C. He’s basing that solely on tropical data in a global system (and cherry picked data as well). All the similar studies that take the entire globe into account show sensitivity much higher, well in the range of IPCC estimations.

          On another front, if climate sensitivity were 0.5C we could never possibly get the glacial-interglacial swings we’ve seen in the past million years. Lindzen doesn’t address this.

          Just reported the other day from UCAR, the last time the planet saw 1000 ppm of CO2 the global average temperature was 16C warmer than today. Again, this directly contradicts Lindzen’s assertions.

          From the article:

          “The study also found that carbon dioxide may have at least twice the effect on global temperatures than currently projected by computer models of global climate.

          The world’s leading computer models generally project that a doubling of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere would have a heating impact in the range of 0.5 to 1.0 degree C watts per square meter. (The unit is a measure of the sensitivity of Earth’s climate to changes in greenhouse gases.) However, the published data show that the comparable impact of carbon dioxide 35 million years ago amounted to about 2 degrees C watts per square meter.”

          1. Mas

            ‘Just reported the other day from UCAR, the last time the planet saw 1000 ppm of CO2 the global average temperature was 16C warmer than today. Again, this directly contradicts Lindzen’s assertions.’

            Go back further in time, say 450million years ago and you have the same temperature as today with 4000 ppm CO2 which shows the forcing relationship between CO2 and global temperature changes over many degrees c is extremely tenuous. In fact the global average temperature has not exceeded 22c even with 7000ppm CO2. Even in the time study of your article link the temperature of Earth went up over millions of years even though CO2 dropped from 2000ppm to 1000ppm. That’s the trouble when you don’t make an honest attempt to look at all the data, incomplete GIGO.


        2. Dana

          Viv, Lindzen’s article contains so many false, misleading, and dishonest statements that I could never cover them all in a blog comment. If you really want an example, here’s one that really ticked me off:

          “the greenhouse forcing from man made greenhouse gases is already about 86% of what one expects from a doubling of CO2 (with about half coming from methane, nitrous oxide, freons and ozone), and alarming predictions depend on models for which the sensitivity to a doubling for CO2 is greater than 2C which implies that we should already have seen much more warming than we have seen thus far”

          In order to make this 86% claim, Lindzen looks at all positive anthropogenic forcings and ignores all negative forcings. His number is probably correct, but he’s ignoring half of the picture (negative forcings like aerosols). That’s just despicably dishonest. Not to mention the fact that he’s ignoring the ‘warming in the pipeline’.

          That’s just one example in an article riddled with such intellectual dishonesty. No worries, as I said, once we’re done with Monckton we’ll probably take on Lindzen next over at Skeptical Science.

  9. John A. Jauregui

    Does anyone have the latest status of the Landscheidt Grand Minimum and its impact manifested as this winter’s severe weather anomalies and how this it might affect spring planting and summer crop production?

  10. John

    So this is all about 4 atmospheric CO2 molecule in 10,000 (or 400 PPM)? Think about that for a minute.

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