Potsdam Institute For Climate Impact Research (PIK) Study Finds Natural Factors Are “Underestimated”!

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I got a big kick out of the press release that follows below, published by the hopelessly alarmist PIK.

Three times it uses the word “however” to tell readers that things really aren’t like what they just wrote in the sentence before.  The emphasis in the press release is my own.
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University of Giessen: Natural Temperature Fluctuations in Antarctica Underestimated
By Dr. Sebastian Lüning, Prof. Fritz Vahrenholt

What follows is a joint press release from the Justus-Liebig-University in Gießen (JLU), the Potsdam-Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK) and the University of Hamburg from 16 April 2015:
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Climate change in Antarctica: Natural temperature variability underestimated – Cold spell superimposes man-made warming
04/16/2015 – The Antarctic ice sheet is one of the tipping elements in the climate system and hence of vital importance for our planet’s future under man-made climate change. Even a partial melting of the enormous ice masses of Antarctica would raise sea-levels substantially. Therefore it is of utmost importance to provide sound knowledge on the extent of anthropogenic warming of the ice-covered continent. A new analysis by German physicists shows that the uncertainties in the temperature trends over Antarctica are larger than previously estimated. ‘So far it seemed there were hardly any major natural temperature fluctuations in Antarctica, so almost every rise in temperature was attributed to human influence,’ says Armin Bunde of Justus-Liebig-Universität Gießen (JLU). ‘Global warming as a result of our greenhouse gas emissions from burning fossil fuels is a fact. However, the human influence on the warming of West Antarctica is much smaller than previously thought. The warming of East Antarctica up to now can even be explained by natural variability alone.’ The results of their study are now published in the journal Climate Dynamics.

The melting of Antarctic ice shelves is not only influenced by warming air but also by warming oceans, causing ice loss at the coast. However, as there are no sufficient long-term records for Antarctic ocean warming yet, the study focuses on air temperature trends. In collaboration with Hans Joachim Schellnhuber of the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research and Christian Franzke of the Cluster of Excellence ‘Integrated Climate System Analysis and Prediction’ (CliSAP) of Hamburg University, the physicists of JLU Armin Bunde and Josef Luderer were able to show that there are major and very persistent temperature fluctuations in Antarctica.

‘The climate in Antarctica, just like the global climate, tends to be distinctly persistent by nature – it remains in certain temperature ranges for a long time before it changes. This creates a temporal temperature structure of highs and lows,’ explains Christian Franzke. ‘A low, i.e. a longer cold period, will be followed by a longer warm period, and this natural warming has to be differentiated from the superimposed anthropogenic warming,’ adds Armin Bunde. The scientists did not only analyze data from individual measuring stations but also generated regional averages. The results show a human influence on the warming of West Antarctica, while this influence is weaker than previously thought. However, the warming of Antarctica altogether will likely increase more strongly soon.

For several years temperatures in Antarctica, but also globally, have been increasing less rapidly than in the 1990s. There are a number of reasons for this, e.g. the oceans buffering warmth. The study now published by the German team of scientists shows that man-made global warming has not been pausing – it was temporarily superimposed and therefore hidden by long-term natural climate fluctuations like in Antarctica. ‘Our estimates show that we are currently facing a natural cooling period– while temperatures nonetheless rise slowly but inexorably, due to our heating up the atmosphere by emitting greenhouse gas emissions,’ explains Hans Joachim Schellnhuber. ‘At the end of this natural cold spell temperatures will rise even more fiercely. Globally, but also in Antarctica which therefore is in danger of tipping.’  In fact, in March 2015 two Antarctic measuring stations registered high-temperature records.

Article: Ludescher, J., Bunde, A., Franzke, C., Schellnhuber, H.J. (2015): Long-term persistence enhances uncertainty about anthropogenic warming of West Antarctica. Climate Dynamics. [DOI: 10.1007/s00382-015-2582-5]

Link to the article: http://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s00382-015-2582-5″

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Remarks by Die kalte Sonne editors: An excellent press release which brings up the so far under-estimated importance of natural climate functions. The key sentence:

A low, i.e. a longer cold period, will be followed by a longer warm period, and this natural warming has to be differentiated from the superimposed anthropogenic warming,”

The last paragraph bears the signature of the PIK and was likely a requirement for a mutual press release with the other institutes. The desperate remark concerning the recent Antarctic record levels has little climate relevance. At the South Pole temperatures have been falling for more than 50 years.

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17 responses to “Potsdam Institute For Climate Impact Research (PIK) Study Finds Natural Factors Are “Underestimated”!”

  1. Ed Caryl

    A quick search says the two stations with March records are McMurdo and another close by. However, if you pick February, the picture is quite different.
    http://data.giss.nasa.gov/cgi-bin/gistemp/nmaps.cgi?sat=4&sst=3&type=trends&mean_gen=02&year1=2001&year2=2015&base1=1951&base2=1980&radius=250&pol=pol
    Some probably left the door open on the roof of the Operations Center at McMurdo.

  2. Ron C.

    The ice melts, when it melts, because of the water, not the air temperature.
    And when Antarctic air is warmer than usual, it’s the winds bringing moist air from over the ocean, not caused by CO2.
    http://wattsupwiththat.com/2013/06/13/game-changer-antarctic-melt-due-to-warm-water-not-air-temperature/

  3. Antarctica – Postponing Climate Armageddon | the WeatherAction News Blog
  4. DirkH

    Embarrassing press release. EU science/German government science is political compromising, not science. A system and continent on its way to demise.

  5. Ron C.

    Just took a look at UAH TLT record for the South Pole since 1979. I was surprised to see that 1998 was not the dominant year there; 2002 was the warmest anomaly, and the clear changepoint in the temperature series.

    1979-2014 Trend is +0.01C/decade (practically flat)
    1979-2002 Trend is +0.04C/decade (very slight warming)
    2002-2014 Trend is -0.12C/decade (definite cooling)

    1. AndyG55

      Yep, 2001 was the end of the 2-3 year major El Nino event from the build up of energy after several strong solar peaks in the latter half of last century.
      The temperature has been stationary or slightly cooling since then.
      If the sun behaves as expected, that cooling trend will steepen somewhat over the next few years.

      1. AndyG55

        ps. Been looking at the Australian UAH temps. there is a very obvious sequence of jumps in 1998, 2002, 2010 and 2012. Each jump is followed by a solid cooling trend.
        Even with the jumps in 2010, 2012, the overall trend since 2002 is about -0.2ºC/decade.
        In fact , the only warming in Australia in the UAH data is the pair of jumps in 1998 and 2002. From 1979 to just before the 1998 jump, it was basically dead level, and since 2002, it is cooling.

        ie, basically the same as the rest of the world.
        ZERO warming except from the 1998 El Nino.

    2. sod

      “1979-2014 Trend is +0.01C/decade (practically flat)
      1979-2002 Trend is +0.04C/decade (very slight warming)
      2002-2014 Trend is -0.12C/decade (definite cooling)”

      When you draw “trend” lines from peaks to minimums, you do not get a “trend” line, you know?!?

      The long time trend in antarctic temperatures is rather flat.

      1. DirkH

        Well, but sod, Global Warming theory demands that the poles warm even quicker than the rest of the globe. You committed a heresy by admitting that the South pole doesn’t warm at all. Flog yourself all saturday and all shall be forgiven.

      2. Ron C.

        sod, the data is what it is. There are patterns, risings and fallings in any time series. You use a technique like CUSUM to discover the changepoints between periods, and then calculate how strong are the risings and fallings in each period.

      3. David Johnson

        Hoist by your own petard once again Sod

      4. Otter (ClimateOtter on Twitter)

        ‘The long time trend in antarctic temperatures is rather flat.’

        Good to know you agree with the skeptics that NO warming trend is occurring.

  6. Stephen Richards

    Well spotted Ron

  7. KTWO

    I believe every word however I doubt they are right.

  8. Svend Ferdinandsen

    It is a bit funny that the paper comes now, when it is obvious that Antarctica has not warmed.

  9. Mikky

    The abstract of the paper is truly shocking, expressing certainty that there is an anthropogenic signal, at the same time as saying that it cannot be detected with any reliability. The peer reviewers of the paper should have insisted on the removal of such unjustified certainty about anthropogenic signals.

    The paper looks like a very interesting phenomenological analysis of temperature variations in the region, it should be free from theoretical speculations, which are more than likely to be incorrect, and which make the thing read more like a religious text than a scientific paper.

    1. DirkH

      They need their foregone conclusion to justify their parasitic existence. They are not operating according to the scientific method. They are operating according to Mafia principles.

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