Catastrophe-Obsessed Potsdam Climate Institute Logic: “When You Eat More, You Lose Weight!”

Right…and starvation leads to obesity.

The alarmists at the German Potsdam Climate Institute now claim global warming leads to colder and snowier winters, which lead to accelerated ice melt in Antarctica. In their latest blog article, Dr. Sebastian Lüning and Prof. Fritz Vahrenholt say this is like claiming eating more makes you lose weight.

New PIK logic from Potsdam: Heavier snowfalls causing glacier shrinkage (and when you eat more, you lose weight

Ricarda Winkelmann is standing on the ice, blond hair in the wind, the German Polarstern ice-breaking research vessel is clearly visible in the background. She’s beaming because she has finally arrived on the 7th continent, which holds a multitude of secrets. Her red parka keeps her warm and protects her. Luckily there are no polar bears here, and so there is no danger to the penguins.

That’s how one could interpret the attractive photo that the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK) included with its press release of 12 December 2012. The title: More ice loss through snowfall on Antarctica.  This is how the fight against climate change gets a nice look, and is fresh wind for the PIK climate machinery.

Let’s look more closely at the title: “More ice loss through snowfall on Antarctica“. Now the ice in Antarctica is suppsedly melting faster than ever. The blame for this is heavier snowfall? How intersting. But that just doesn’t seem very logical. Didn’t we learn at school that glaciers grow when it snows more? And when it snows less, then they shrink. Now suddenly this is supposed to no longer apply? Very peculiar. That’s like saying global warming leads to colder winters.

Let’s look at the PIK press release:

Stronger snowfall increases future ice discharge from Antarctica. Global warming leads to more precipitation as warmer air holds more moisture – hence earlier research suggested the Antarctic ice sheet might grow under climate change. Now a study published in Nature shows that a lot of the ice gain due to increased snowfall is countered by an acceleration of ice-flow to the ocean. […] Between 30 and 65 percent of the ice gain due to enhanced snowfall in Antarctica is countervailed by enhanced ice loss along the coastline,” says lead-author Ricarda Winkelmann.”

There’s a lot in the lines above. These mysterious claims are repeated elsewhere in other words, which we now examine.

First they explain why it is going to snow more in Antarctica in the future, namely because the air will become more humid because of the warming. That sounds plausible enough. And then a rather unusual claim pops up: Are the previous studies showing that growth of the Antarctic ice sheet suddenly wrong? This is what their unfortunate formulation suggests.

The last sentence of that part, however, finally brings clarification: “30 and 65 percent of the ice gain due to enhanced snowfall in Antarctica is countervailed by enhanced ice loss along the coastline”. Conversely, that means that 70 to 35% remains and thus causes the Antarctic ice sheet to grow. And this Antarctic sheet growth directly contradicts what the title of the study suggests: “more ice loss”.

Here we get the impression that this was poorly formulated on purpose in order to mislead the reader. This is deceptive to the highest degree. A correct title could have been, for example: “Antarctic ice sheet will continue to grow, but more slowly than previously expected.” Why wasn’t the title formulated clearly? Is the latest literature on the subject still not available in Potsdam? New ice measurements show that the Antarctic ice sheet is indeed growing (See our blog article “New ICEsat-Satellite data are in: Antarctic ice sheet has grown in mass“). Instead we read the following statement in the PIK press release, which completely misleads the layperson:

During the last decade, the Antarctic ice-sheet has lost volume at a rate comparable to that of Greenland.”

That has got to be a joke because it’s wrong from front to back.

In a recent study, Dutch scientists investigated the Antarctic ice sheet for the period 1979 – 2010. Here the entire value was examined for Western and Eastern Antarctica. The scientists were not able to find any significant trend. Ice mass as a whole hardly changed. The scientists led by Jan Lenaerts of the University of Utrecht published their results in the Geophysical Research Letters in February 2012. In Januar 2012 the Dutch team had already published a paper on melt in Antarctica for the period 1979-2010 in the Geophysical Research Letters. Here as well no trend was found.

So what could have possibly led to this deficient press release? What’s behind the poor formulation, omissions, and erroneous information?

Was it the irresistable urge to spread more fear about the climate danger? Could the fact that the study’s co-author Anders Levermannn is also a lead author on the sea level chapter in the next IPCC report also have something to do with it? Could it be that the study is a part of Ricarda Winkelmann’s doctoral thesis, which was supervised by Stefan Rahmstorf?

And let’s look to see if the German media bothered to take a close look at the press release. The Handelsblatt certainly did not (“Heavier snowfalls can lead to greater ice loss in Antarctica”). German prestige weekly Der Spiegel also chose a misleading title: (“Snowfall increases ice melt”).

And Die Welt was quite enraptured by the computer simulations that looked all the way to the year 2500. Unfortunately, however, the very same models could not even predict the global warming stop of the last 15 years.

(Text translated/edited with permission by P Gosselin)
Penguin photo above: Ben Tubby / Creative Commons License Namensnennung 2.0 US-amerikanisch (nicht portiert).


12 responses to “Catastrophe-Obsessed Potsdam Climate Institute Logic: “When You Eat More, You Lose Weight!””

  1. Juraj V.

    “Global warming leads to more precipitation as warmer air holds more moisture..”
    Alas, this was never measured.

    1. Juergen Uhlemann

      More precipitation leads to more clouds that block the sun. I’ve seen it last year in Ireland.
      “Met Éireann confirms summer was dullest, wettest and coolest in years”

      Ireland is also called the green isle because the grass grows so well. I can tell you that my lawn mower was not doing much work last year, as the grass didn’t grow that well as the ground was to cold most of the time. Insects were no problem last year an the birds, mainly crows, where fighting like hell. Sometimes I thought there is another Hitchcock movie created.

      Even the UK was effected “Summer ‘wettest in 100 years’, Met Office figures show”

      Amazingly, if this was the wettest in 100 years then it must have been 100 years ago at least the same wet weather. How is it possible, if 100 years ago the precipitation was lower because of a lower temperature?

      They promised us Mediterranean climate, but it overdue.

      If more precipitation create more clouds then the clouds will cool. If the cloud cools then the precipitation goes down. Also, rain cools the air as well. It looks to me like a zero-sum scenario. If it wouldn’t be a zero-sum scenario then the earth would have stuck in an ice age ort it would never go into an ice age.

      How do the ice ages in the earth history start or end considering A or B?
      A) How could CO2 rise if the planet is cold?
      B) How could the CO2 drop if the planet is warm?

  2. DirkH

    “And Die Welt was quite enraptured by the computer simulations that looked all the way to the year 2500. ”

    They don’t know anymore what to do with the computer power. They can’t use it to make the grid boxes smaller, as the statistical approach breaks down in that case, so they busy themselves confabulating half a millenium into the future now.

    Time to close those madhouses and make them work as waiters.

  3. Ed Caryl

    “Stronger snowfall increases future ice discharge from Antarctica. Global warming leads to more precipitation as warmer air holds more moisture – ”

    The whole article is based on false assumptions. The center of Antarctica isn’t warming, so any increase in ice mass must come from some other cause. Either ice loss is decreasing due to lower temperatures, or moisture is coming from somewhere else due to changes in atmospheric wind currents. The other operative word is “future”. Of course, if snow increases, ice loss will also increase EVENTUALLY, just as stepping harder on the accelerator will eventually make a car go faster, but this doesn’t happen instantly. In that time difference, sea level will go down, not up. Or am I pointing out the obvious.

    I contend that when all research is properly done, it will be shown that over hundreds of years there is little except cyclic changes to Antarctica, or anywhere else. Gaia breathes in synchrony with the sun. Her heartbeat is the ocean cycles. Man is one species of bacteria in her gut.

  4. John F. Hultquist

    The only worthwhile (entertaining) thing about this stupendously stupid thing is the photo used in its promotion. The selection of colors is well done. Ricarda’s rosy colored nose matches the color of the thing (?) on the right end of the ship. The orange colors of her coat and the ship also match. Her dark eyes match the top-back structures on the ship and the darkest water. Then there is the contrast of the yellow on green on orange. I expect to see this photo on the cover of Outdoor Photography. Send my regards to the photographer!.

    “Heavier snowfally can lead to greater loss in Antarctica”

    Missing word = ice
    ?! fally

  5. Curt

    So, if you raise the setting of your house’s thermostat in winter, all you are doing is increasing the heat loss from the house…

  6. Weekly Climate and Energy News Roundup | Watts Up With That?

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