Von Storch Blasts Climate Scientists: Not The “Keepers Of The Truth” – Says They “Oversold” The Science

This week’s newsstand, print-edition of FOCUS magazine (February 25, 2013, No. 9/13) has a 2-page interview with leading German climate scientist Professor Hans von Storch (HvS) titled: Climate Scientist Against Panic Spreading.


Hans von Storch

The sub-heading of the FOCUS article on page 92 reads:

Scientist Hans von Storch goes hard in his own way: He accuses climate science of hype and ‘methodical failure’.”

Here he is speaking about the IPCC scientists. The interview coincides with the official release of his latest book “Klimafalle“, which will hit the bookshelves tomorrow.

HvS says the focus of the climate issue is too much on the alarmists and those who claim it’s all humbug. His book attempts to move the discussion to the centre.

There’s little doubt that man-made CO2 emissions have caused the globe to warm since the industrial revolution, he tells FOCUS, but not all scientists say sea levels are going to rise 2 meters by the year 2100 and that hurricanes are getting more frequent.

He says the climate issue needs to be debated, and warns scientists against acting like they are the “keepers of the truth”.

At the center of the magazine’s 2-page spread are two juxtaposed images: the left one shows the divergence between the observed global mean temperature and the IPCC projections; the right image shows Chancellor Angela Merkel with Prof Han-Joachim Schellnhuber standing in the background. The text under the juxtaposed images reads “indeed the global mean temperature has stagnated for years” and that HvS’s book Die Klimafälle “criticises the alarmist view of the PIK” (Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research).

HvS has always been critical of scientists interfering in the political process. FOCUS asks HvS if Chancellor Merkel ought not have a climate advisor, to which HvS replies:

Just a single advisor? No.”

FOCUS then asks HvS about efforts by scientists to intimidate any media critical of alarmism, a practice Stefan Rahmstorf is infamous for:

That is a not taking one of the most important institutions seriously, namely the media. Anyone who behaves like that obviously views himself as the judge who knows how media reporting is supposed to be.”

FOCUS then describes the IPCC’s embarrassing Himalayan error, asking HvS how it is that some scientists can claim to be infallible? HvS attributes it to a “circle-the-wagons mentality” within the climate science community, and even blames the political discussion in the USA “which has a very aggressive skeptics’ scene that extends all the way into Congress and has influence on policy-making.”

On the 15-year temperature stagnation, HvS still does not believe it disproves in the AGW theory, but concedes:

As the scientific community, we were just not prepared for the temperature not rising for a decade as CO2 concentrations rose. We had not thought enough about the possibility of falsification. […] We concentrated too much on looking ahead and said: Great! Everything fits our explanation. For many colleagues asking questions was frowned upon because this ‘could provide the climate skeptics with ammo‘. And that is a methodical failure.”

On Mojib Latif’s prediction that Central Europe would soon hardly see snow, HvS says criticism of the models here by skeptics is “completely legitimate” and adds:

Us climate scientists oversold. We said we had to announce the basic truth, and not to overload the people with too many details. Thus the problem arose because climate science did not understand its own role.”

In summary, HvS, a warmist, is calling for a fundamental correction in the way climate science goes about its business.

But one ought not think that HvS criticizes only the alarmists, he has plenty of criticism for the skeptics in his book as well.

Hans von Storch photo credit: European People’s Party, licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic license.


14 responses to “Von Storch Blasts Climate Scientists: Not The “Keepers Of The Truth” – Says They “Oversold” The Science”

  1. Edward.

    Interesting stuff from Hans von Storch.

    However, I have to disagree with even his basic premise; “There’s little doubt that man-made CO2 emissions have caused the globe to warm since the industrial revolution, he tells FOCUS,”


    Not at all, since the LIA the sun has warmed the earth, CO2 whether it is man made, or as we all know it is mostly not man made CO2 – CO2 it is a minor player.

    1. Juergen Uhlemann

      Yes, CO2 it is a minor player. A 0.039% player, if I consider the percentage right now.

      1. Edward.

        Yep and man made is 5-7% of that figure – which is not a lot all things considered.

        1. Mindert Eiting

          If a butterfly could cause the next Ice Age, we surely need a Grand Transformation to keep us quiet.

        2. BobW in NC

          I was alerted to a table in the IPCC’s AR4, which showed tonnage of total and human CO2 emitted each year. Dividing human by total yielded…2.9% attributable to human activity. What it is today, I do not know.

          Further, in a WUWT post, a commenter noted that 98.5% of all CO2 emitted each year is removed back from the atmosphere. So, the human contribution to increasing CO2 levels each year is negligible (2.9% of 1.5% = ~0.04%).

          In any discussion with a AGW supporter, I start with these figures. If they are not valid, any current data would be great!

          1. DirkH

            They don’t even know the fluxes of the natural carbon cycle within 20%. So they fudged it to their liking. The IPCC says so.

  2. DirkH

    “and even blames the political discussion in the USA “which has a very aggressive skeptics’ scene ”

    von Storch wants his own Grand Transformation (in his case, into Post Normal Science, like dear old Ravetz who’s really such a nice guy even though his head is filled with incomprehensible gibberish) and not be disturbed by pesky critics. A wannabe elitist.

  3. Jack Savage

    Beware any man who wears a safari suit. He is pretty much correct on the IPCC but is bringing his own brand of grandstanding into the mix. It may be that those of us who think catastrophe is not imminent require a spokesperson like him…but I doubt it.
    Will he be listened to?

  4. 3x2

    He says the climate issue needs to be debated, and warns scientists against acting like they are the “keepers of the truth”.

    No, ‘the debate’ should have taken place years ago. That it didn’t is at least one good reason for the ‘divide’.

    Funny that these new calls for ‘debate’ and ‘openess’ (see Patchi of late) have only surfaced since it was pointed out that warming stopped a decade and a half ago.

  5. Doug Proctor

    “We had not thought enough about the possibility of falsification.”

    He is saying that they hadn’t determined or decided on what observations would constitute a failure of the model? So now there is nowhere in the research discussion you can point to that says, “See! This didn’t come true, so CAGW is out!”.

    Brilliant! Explains a lot.

    1. DirkH

      As Hans von Storch is a proponent of Post Normalism, he naturally doesn’t care much for Popperian science.

  6. Doug Cotton

    They “oversold” everything … but first you need this outline …

    Prof Nasif Nahle has done studies on backradiation in his paper
    which I cited a year ago in my paper

    Nasif is one of several physicists and professors of other disciplines on the team at Principia Scientific International all of whom recognise fallacies in the AGW conjecture.

    You need to see the big picture to understand the relative insignificance of backradiation, as explained towards the end of my latest paper

    1. The thermal gradient (AKA “effective lapse rate”) is pre-determined by the force of gravity, the weighted mean specific heat of the gases in a planet’s atmosphere (at that altitude) and the degree of intra-molecular radiation which, in the case of Earth, is somewhat dependent on the percentage of water vapour which, as is well known, makes the gradient less steep.

    2. The overall level of the plot is established by the autonomous propensity for there to be radiative equilibrium with incident Solar radiation. The area under the curved plot of outward radiative intensity thus has a propensity to remain constant if the gradient alters. So extra water vapour makes it less steep by lowering the surface end and raising the tropopause end.

    3. The surface temperature can then be calculated by extrapolation of the thermal plot of temperature against altitude in the troposphere. The temperature can be derived using SBL from the values of radiative flux at each altitude from (2). The higher the tropopause, the greater the distance over which the temperature can rise, this explaining why Venus is much hotter than Earth.

    4. The mechanism whereby the thermal plot is maintained involves the absorption of energy originally from the Sun (both in downwelling and upwelling radiation) which is then dispersed in all directions over the thermal plane, in order to maintain thermodynamic equilibrium, in accord with the requirements of the Second Law of Thermodynamics.

    5. The thermal plot continues its upward climb more steeply in the crust (due to lower specific heat) but far less steeply in the hottest regions of the mantle because specific heat increases significantly with increasing temperatures.

    6. Heat creep, as described in (4) allows thermal energy to enter deeply into the subsurface regions and, eventually, to support core temperatures and provide energy which can contribute to that in volcanoes and thermal springs and vents.

    7.The surface warms temporarily during the day and then both radiative and non-radiative processes slow its rate of cooling, but there is a limit to such cooling due to the underlying very stable thermal plot of temperature against altitude or underground depth. This is why the base of the atmosphere does not continue cooling at a fast rate all through the night. The force of gravity redistributes absorbed energy in such a way as to provide a supporting temperature at the boundary of the surface and atmosphere, and even at the boundary of the mantle and core.

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