By Dr. Sebastian Lüning and Prof. Fritz Vahrenholt (German text translated/edited by P. Gosselin)
This month two major North Sea storms have hit Europe rather severely, and not surprisingly the usual climate ambulance chasers were out in force to try to pin the blame on man’s activity, and in doing so ignored the climate history that provides us with the proper perspective. We look at some analyses of past German storm activity.
Two years ago Uwe Kirsche of the German DWD national Weather Service warned RP-Online against jumping to conclusions:
Germany appears to be plagued by storms. Over the past tens years, there’s been on average one hurricane-force storm each year. Are these natural events occurring more often than they did in the past? Will storms accompany us on a daily basis during certain months?
‘That’s a difficult topic,’ answered Uwe Kirsche of the German DWD Weather Service. ‘For the past, there are not such evaluations showing a change in the strength or frequency of storms over Germany,’ he clarified. While temperature curves and rainfall amounts are well documented over decades, the DWD must hold back when it comes to storms.”
At ScienceSkepticalBlog, Michael Krüger reported in 2014:
Storm activity over the North and Baltic Seas (storm index at the North and Baltic Sea/geotropical wind speeds since 1880) has not been increasing, but rather have been falling off since 1880. A temporary peak was reached around 1990 and since then activity has fallen further.”
Here Kruger shows two storm index curves, but without citing a source. Researchers at the Institute for Coastal Research at the Helmholtz Center in Geesthacht have tracked storms in Germany and neighboring countries for a long time, and they too have not been able to detect any worrisome trends. At the online shz.de in 2014 we read:
Storm ‘Christian’ was no offspring of climate change
[…] Together with colleagues of the German Weather Service and the Danish Meteorological Institute, coastal researchers of Geesthacht evaluated the data on storm ‘Christian’ and other intense storms. Von Storch experienced the October 28, 2013, storm up close as while attempting to visit his home island of Föhr, he became stranded in Dagebüll. He and his colleagues found fluctuations in storm intensity over many decades. ‘Detectable is a reduction in storm intensity from the 1880s until the mid-1960s, followed by a rise until the mid-1990s,’ said von Storch. Since the 1990s, activity has fallen off once again. ‘Unlike heat waves, these fluctuations can be attributed solely to natural variability,’ explained the scientist. […]”
Hans von Storch also was interviewed in der Zeit in 2015 (behind a paywall):
‘Sometimes it just gets more active…’
Waiting for the intense storm: Meteorologist Hans von Storch knows what extreme weather events have to do with our everyday climate.”
Noteworthy is also an article appearing in proplanta: in January 2015:
Climate experts warn against rushing to blame storms and flooding on climate change
‘Single events cannot be linked to climate change,’ told Florian Imbery, a climate expert at the German DWD Weather Service in Offenbach, to the German Press Agency on Monday. Reliable statements can be made only when we compare 30-year intervals. We can determine relatively well changes in the temperature. With precipitation, it’s already more difficult, and it’s practically impossible to do with storms. The difference: ‘Temperature is a stable magnitude, precipitation and wind are highly variable in terms of space and time.’ For Imbery it is relatively clear that it is getting warmer: ‘We are getting heat periods more often.’ But that is the only significant change in climate – for wind and rain there are only ‘signs’.”
Read at proplanta
Four recent papers find no trend
Now let’s look at long-term observations. Bierstedt et al. (2016) looked at the variability in daily wind speed over northern Europe for the past 1000 years in computer simulations. The results are easily summarized: Every model shows something different. The study ended up with a large contradiction and the finding that the models are still unable to simulate wind and storms. That’s a pity. …
Read abstracts at No Tricks Zone
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