The pitfalls of weather models

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By Kalte Sonne

Sven Titz discusses weather models in the NZZ. The reason was the JRC model, which predicted 45 degrees Celsius for Germany at the beginning of July.

“Just a few days ago, forecasts of extreme heat in Europe were making the rounds. Not only in Spain and southern France – no, also in Switzerland and Germany you have to expect temperatures around 40 degrees Celsius in mid-July, perhaps even above, it was said in some media.

It won’t be that hot in Central Europe after all. The 40 degrees will not be reached for the time being. However, this is not a really erroneous prognosis. Rather, some announcements of the great heat have lost how uncertain forecasts are – especially those that refer to a period of time that is a week or more in the future. In addition, some statements were based on model simulations, which were improperly interpreted.

With regard to the heat in Germany, one can almost speak of a hype, says Marco Stoll of Meteo Switzerland. According to his account, the first surge of hot air from Spain, which causes a maximum temperature in Switzerland and southern Germany today, Thursday, will then be pushed away by maritime air again. The north of Germany is expected to be spared from this first heat wave.”

We already had this topic in this blog and there especially the explanations of Kachelmannwetter to the GFS model. Above all, the topic of soil moisture was explained, which was apparently completely wrong in the model and led to the high temperature predictions.

One of the meteorologists who warned of the 45 degrees Celsius at the beginning of July was Karsten Schwanke of the ARD. He has his own track record when it comes to predictions. A YouTube video shows once again the weather forecast from 14.07.2021 in the Tagesthemen. It was the evening of the flood disaster in the Ahr Valley. Around 10:44 p.m. that day, Schwanke gave the all-clear that the worst was over.

If you look at the elaborately made website of the WDR on the topic, you can already get into thinking. It lists a chronology of events and the worst was by no means over at the time. So those who relied on Schwanke’s statement were more likely to be abandoned.

Keyword Ahrtal flood. Alexander Kissler comments in the NZZ and gives the German Civil Protection a bad report. In his opinion, he failed at the flood.

“There were “gaps in the warning chain”, a euphemistic press release from Spiegel’s ministry and the wrong tone everywhere: “None of the warnings, whether from the weather or flood authorities, the local districts or those in the news, conveyed a sense of urgency or an immediate danger to life, which would have been indicated in retrospect.”

For this reason, too, the focus on climate change narrows the consideration “inadmissibly to only one of numerous aspects”. And in helping the victims, politicians promised unbureaucratic support and delivered the opposite, “many, if not all, processes were perceived as complicated, non-transparent and very bureaucratic.”

The flood became a catastrophe because civil protection in Germany is in a catastrophic state. In Rhineland-Palatinate and North Rhine-Westphalia, outdated technology, unclear responsibilities and wrong political decisions contributed more to the deaths and injuries than climate change. Those who do not want to face these central questions because they fear personal or political consequences or because they want to manage their own ideological agenda are sticking to the myth of global warming that is solely responsible. Future disasters will not be prevented in this way.”