Uncertain Certainty: Germany’s Potsdam Climate Institute Humiliated After One-Year El Nino Forecast Model Flops

Reposted from Pierre Gosselin’s NoTricksZone

By P Gosselin on 15. November 2020

Last year Germany’s Potsdam Institute (PIK) boasted that it had a superior El Niño one-year forecasting model, claiming 80% certainty. Today, a year later, its forecast emerges totally wrong and the prestigious institute is left humiliated. 

Hat-tip: Snowfan

In 2019, Germany’s Potsdam Climate Institute (PIK) boasted that it had a superior El Niño forecasting model, claiming one year in advance and with 80% certainty, there would be an El Niño event late in 2020 (upper curve is just an El Niño illustration). But the PIK model forecast flopped totally. The opposite has in fact emerged. Chart source: BOM (with additions).

One year ago, together with researchers of the Justus Liebig University Giessen (JLU), and Bar-Ilan University in Ramat Gan in Israel, Germany’s alarmist yet highly regarded Potsdam Institute for Climate Research (PIK) boldly declared in a press release there would “probably be another ‘El Niño’ by the end of 2020.”

PIK even boasted forecast model superiority

The PIK November 2019 press release bragged that its team of researchers had developed a new, far better model – which they said was capable of forecasting a late 2020 El Niño event a year in advance: “The prediction models commonly used do not yet see any signs of this,” the PIK press release wrote.

The PIK press release then called the early forecasting model approach “groundbreaking”, claiming it was based on a “novel algorithm” developed by its team. Their forecast relied “on a network analysis of air temperatures in the Pacific region and which correctly predicted the last two ‘El Niño’ events more than a year in advance.”

The results were even published in a journal:

https://arxiv.org/abs/1910.14642

“Conventional methods are unable to make a reliable ‘El Niño’ forecast more than six months in advance. With our method, we have roughly doubled the previous warning time,” stressed JLU physicist Armin Bunde, who initiated the development of the algorithm together with his former PhD student Josef Ludescher.

John Schellnhuber: “80% certainty”…”pretty significant”

Prof. Hans-Joachim (John) Schellnhuber, Director Emeritus of PIK, explained: “This clever combination of measured data and mathematics gives us unique insights – and we make these available to the people affected.” He pointed out that, of course, the prediction method did not offer one hundred percent certainty: “The probability of ‘El Niño’ coming in 2020 is around 80 percent. But that’s pretty significant.”

The 20% uncertainty ends up humiliating PIK physicists

Using data from the past and with the help of of their algorithm, the PIK scientists said El Niño events could then be “accurately predicted the year before”.

Today, one year later, in November 2020, we see that the opposite is in fact occurring, see chart above. Now the equatorial Pacific is entering a La Niña event instead of the almost certain El Niño claimed earlier by the now embarrassed PIK researchers.

Can’t even get one climate component over a single year right

The PIK’s “high certainty” forecast misses totally and so underscores the risks and pitfalls of being overconfident when it comes to still poorly understood complex systems.

And if scientists struggle predicting just one single regional component of the entire climate for just one year, then imagine what the reliability of their complete climate system predictions going out decades has to be. GIGO!

148 thoughts on “Uncertain Certainty: Germany’s Potsdam Climate Institute Humiliated After One-Year El Nino Forecast Model Flops

  1. They have an agenda, and they will continue to push it n o matter what.

    Being TOTALLY WRONG will not deter them in the slightest . !

    Never has in the past. !

  2. The Climate Dowsers are in desperate need of an El Nino to keep the temp anomaly headed up per their cargo-cult models headed into AR6 carnival barking hucksterism next fall. Nature as always could care less about mankind’s pseudoscience needs, just as it did for the Roman Catholic Church’s geocentrism dogma out of the Vatican over 400 years ago.

    However, one year ago the climate alarmism carnival barkers also didn’t know there’d be a world-wide viral epidemic that would decrease anthro-related GHG emissions in 2020 by at least 15% to 20% year-over-year. However this on-going planet cooling La Nina, which was forming early last summer before any emissions reductions could even be conceivably claimed is still gathering steam, and how far past February it will go is anyone’s guess at this point. No one knows, that’s certain.
    But the La Nina cooling is likely to put a major PR wrinkle in the climate alarmism BS that will accompany AR6 and the Biden Admin’s carnival barking OSTP climate hoaxers (likely to be the current NAS President Ms. McNutty).

  3. Not being able to forecast El Niño activity is for me one of the biggest reasons for believing that the all the CMIP models are junk.

    • Landscheidt was far better than these Pikaderos, as he was able to predict several El Niños in advance, looking at the sun and it’s constellation.

    • I do not BELIEVE the the climate models are junk – I am far more decisive – I KNOW they are absolute junk. They are the toys of dingbats. Worse part is tax dollars pay for these toys and the endless wasted hours playing with them.

      The models forecast tropical ocean surface temperature achieving the physically impossible.
      http://climexp.knmi.nl/data/itas_cmip3_ave_mean_sresa1b_-120–170E_5–5N_n_1980:2100.png
      This for the Nino34 region. Tropical ocean SST is controlled by powerful feedbacks that limit the temperature rise. The models do not even get the history correct:
      https://1drv.ms/b/s!Aq1iAj8Yo7jNg3j-MHBpf4wRGuhf

      Nino34 region SST has been steady for the last 40 years. This is how it has to be as cooling increases asymptotically to 32C. That temperature cannot be exceeded in the open ocean.

  4. If the greatest refinement of understanding el Nino events flops dismally on its face, it just could be time to consider that the basic premise of what causes them might be wrong. Sometimes I wonder at just how strong an opposite-to-group-think concept has to be before experts hear Feynman’s voice somewhere in the background saying ‘It doesn’t matter how smart you are, it doesn’t matter how beautiful your theory is…’. This was the experiment–and it appears that ‘the theory is wrong’.

    So what else? It just might be time to give that plateclimatology site another look…

    James Kamis might also be wrong–but is it so hard to at least look for the volcano?

    • We KNOW that the warming in the satellite era has come only from El Nino events

      Before that, we have only highly adjusted homogenised, tortured, infilled, corrupted by UHI and airport effects etc surface pseudo-data.

      Any useful information that might once have been there was erased ages ago. !

      • What warming in the satellite era?
        https://1drv.ms/b/s!Aq1iAj8Yo7jNg3j-MHBpf4wRGuhf

        If satellites are showing warming look for the reason they are inaccurate rather than claiming nonsense about warming.

        The main drivers of warming in Australia are the result of:
        1. Moving measuring stations from regional posts offices to airports.
        2. Replacement of LiG thermometers with faster response electronic gauges
        3. Large aircraft visiting regional centres
        4. Homogenisation weight on city based gauges subject to urban heat effect.
        5. Homogenisation of data sets that is nothing short of data tampering.

        I do not see any evidence that supports any warming.

      • Yes Will, the surface temperature data for Australia is meaningless…. even worse than GIGO

        I was referring to the very slight warming in the satellite data.

        As pointed out in an earlier thread, the only warming in the UAH data over Australia, came from a slight step up around1996.

        Either side of that, it basically dead flat.

        There is also a slight bulge between 2015 to now.

        • UAH produces a meaningless number with regard to surface temperature. It is looking at some point in the atmosphere well above ground level. It is irrelevant to what is measured at ground level.

          UAH does not follow the SST for the Nino34 region. I have compared its data with this one:
          https://1drv.ms/b/s!Aq1iAj8Yo7jNg3j-MHBpf4wRGuhf

          There has been no warming in the satellite era in the tropical oceans. There are certainly annual variation and decadal oscillations but no long term trend.

    • “Feynman’s voice somewhere in the background saying ‘It doesn’t matter how smart you are, it doesn’t matter how beautiful your theory is…’. This was the experiment–and it appears that ‘the theory is wrong’.”

      As I always say when someone alludes to Feynman’s quote. Experiments can be, and often are, wrong. Doesn’t invalidate the theory. What he should have said is “observation” instead of “experiment”.

  5. The saying goes “You can’t fool Mother Nature”. Well Mother Nature sure fooled those fools. Claiming to have fantastic accuracy with no track record from practical application in the real world is foolish.

  6. combination of measured data and mathematics gives us unique insights

    The entire disaster of climate modeling in one handy phrase.

    Note the complete absence of any mention of physics.

    Prof. Hans-Joachim (John) Schellnhuber, Director Emeritus of PIK: yet another honored incompetent (IMO).

    Some years ago, I was working on a project with Henry Taube (Nobel Prize, Chemistry, 1983). For some reason he took a liking to me, and we had wider ranging conversations in his office.

    Once, he described how exasperated he was with the self-important posing of certain high-ranking European scientists, when he’d participate in some small international meeting.

    He got up from his desk, tilted up his nose, put his hands behind his back, and marched back and forth in a parody of their strut. It was pretty funny.

    Doubly funny, really, because Henry Taube was the nicest guy. Completely approachable, never above his humanity.

    Whenever I see a picture of Herr Prof. Hans-Joachim (John) Schellnhuber, Director Emeritus of PIK, he puts me in mind of the subject of Henry Taube’s parody.

    Of course, my assignment could be wrong. 🙂

      • “combination of measured data and mathematics gives us unique insights”

        The entire disaster of climate modeling in one handy phrase.

        A beautiful turn of phrase

    • Schellnhuber is probably just following a long tradition of goose-stepping ego before science hubris. Without any google search or inquiry, I’d bet Herr Taube was semite that a proud German like Hans-Joachim would have disdained openly 100 years ago.

      My original PI and thesis advisor for my graduate work is a Jewish man who I’m still in awe of to this day. It is for his approachable personality, a nice person, and still photographic memory, scientific razor sharp mind who easily corrected my brash ways, and by far smartest man I’ve ever personally known.

    • “Prof. Hans-Joachim (John) Schellnhuber, Director Emeritus of PIK: yet another honored incompetent (IMO).”

      Dunning-Kruger.. or Murphy’s Law ! 😉

      Self-delusional superiority simplex.

    • I worked for a Bell phone company for 30 years and most of that time was spent doing forecasts for various things, budgets, people in call centers, equipment, etc. I quickly learned that trends are accurate only up to the last measured data point. Prognosticating the future is fraught with expanding uncertainty. When your job depends on how well you forecast you take pains to assure folks about the uncertainty and you DO NOT brag about the future accuracy.

      It is time for some of these climate scientists, mathematicians, and programmers to disappear from the scene because of their inability to even narrow the possibilities after decades of work and probably trillions of dollars.

    • Um, it just might be my flawed understanding, but doesn’t one need to know the relevant probability distributions in order to claim 80% certainty? Count me skeptical.

      And 80% means that they are wrong 1 out of 5 times (worse than a dice roll).

  7. Early on I used mathematical models and analysts’ models to invest in the stock market. After many years of poor success I bought a monkey and taught him to throw darts.

    Cheetah was much more successful and I am now comfortably retired. Maybe all the climate researchers ought to follow my lead.

    • The monkey doesnt fear the downside and doesnt get greedy on the upside.

      years ago I rans millions of simulated trades on the stock market that showed conclusively you could make money if you could predict if the market was rising or falling

  8. For comparison consider that the Old Farmer’s Almanac (not the other one) is finalized in February and goes to the publisher’s in March. It is on the shelves in September and gives the weather forecast for North America for the following 16 months. So it is fact a 22 month forecast if you don’t count the time during which it was compiled.

    It is pretty good, and frequently calls the seasons correctly when Environment Canada, for example, gets it wrong 6 months ahead 85% of the time.

    And what is the big difference between the 2 centuries old model and the climate scientist model? The Sun! The Old Farmer’s Almanac considers the activity of Old Sol and two other factors when creating long term forecasts.

    I don’t need a concluding sentence, the implications are obvious.

    • A naive model performs equal to, or better than, a highly sophisticated, complex model. It’s time to be explicit and reevaluate the assumptions/assertions that underlie the latter, where mismatches are effectively first-order forcings of, perhaps, catastrophic, misaligned policies and development (e.g.. market vs dictated schemes of production, distribution, and pricing of finitely available and accessible resources).

    • No, they’re not confident. They’re lying about that part, because they know that uneducated people will believe them. That’s what they’re confident about.

      • “…because they know that uneducated people will believe them.”
        So why is it my degreed acquaintances all tell me I hate science, whereas all the plumbers and mechanics I know, scoff at global warming sciencery*?
        *Sciencery: n/v/adj. The ability of private funding to prove anything needed to make any product walk upon a cloud of sciencisness.

        • You are assuming that a degree implies education. In many university departments it only shows indoctrination. Plumbers and mechanics have been educated in how the real world works.

        • I don’t know. I frequently find that the many of the biggest fools are the most highly educated. They simply know more than anyone else and are able to twist logic in a way that can be difficult for the less educated to rebuff – except that the less educated tend to have a better BS sensor. Of course, not universally true, and it does tend to follow ideological points of view.

        • Because college trains you be to a good employee and accept what some authority figure tells you. Even if what you are being told is nonsense. You sit in a large lecture hall of 500 kids and a pompous ego-tripping professor tells you the “Truth.” At the end of the semester you take a standardized multiple choice computer graded test where you give back “The Truth” in your answers. If you want to pass the course you don’t question and you certainly don’t think.

          This trains you so that when you get your degree and you go to work for IBM or GM or Enron and the Vice President says I think that people are desperate for battery run electric cars you simply nod your head and agree and go to work on it.

          College is primarily about being trained to accept what authority figures tell you, whether it is about cosmology, history, politics, or gender studies. And that compliance is what big companies want in their employees.

        • “So why is it my degreed acquaintances all tell me I hate science, whereas all the plumbers and mechanics I know, scoff at global warming sciencery*?”

          Well, those people with degrees obviously went to a school of higher learning and are much more likely to have been brainwashed into the Western Socialist mindset, which now includes the Human-caused Climate Change element, than your average plumber or mechanic (who probably makes more money than the academics:).

  9. Chaos is an incompletely or insufficiently characterized or computationally unwieldy system or process. A chaotic process (e.g. human life) can be deterministically or stochastically modeled within a limited frame of reference (i.e. scientific logical domain). That said, it should be interesting to learn if the assumptions/assertions of signal fidelity and inference of events and processes outside of our solar system are real or imagined. Oh, well. It doesn’t seem that will happen anytime soon. In the meantime, people will peer to the stars and connect the dots.

  10. “The PIK press release then called the early forecasting model approach “groundbreaking”,”

    “Groundbreaking”, as in “auger in”, or “SSCBD” (Stall, Spin, Crash, Burn and Die). Very appropriate.

  11. Isn’t PIK is an “Institute” in the same way as Heartland is? – i.e. more of a propaganda and lobbying “think tank”.

    • Dear Mr. Calvert,

      PIK is the main climate “consultant” for the German government financed completely by the German state from our tax money. It is felt, that Heartland could not get any tax money from the US government especially after the take-over by Mr. Biden and his climate alarmist troops. Eventually PIK is like an old fashioned communist (stalinist) “scientific think thank” doing advocacy reserach for the German government to justify for example the introduction of new taxes (like CO2-tax) in Germany on the basis of climate alarmism (“save the Earth”, etc.). PIK has eventually a state monopoly on the field of climate research in Germany (they are allowed to define the only one truth in Germany on the field of climate research).

    • One institute claims certain knowledge about a climate trajectory and settled science. The other institute claims uncertainty in knowledge on both trajectory and the science.
      Who would you go with being true to science?

  12. Thinking you can predict anything with some certainty in a chaotic system just proves you do not understand chaos. You might get close a few times and then…complete failure. I am guessing their model predicted previous El Nino’s using historic data giving them confidence in predicting the next one…and complete failure.

  13. Their model was wrong because of … climate change! If the climate weren’t changing so much, then the El Nino prediction would have been bang on.

  14. There is nothing more satisfying than seeing a self-obsessed, over-bearing institution like Germany’s Potsdam Climate Institute (PIK) failing in its Climate Alarmist prediction and being left with egg on its face. in Australia the La Nina is being welcomed with fire-stifling rain days reducing bushfire dangers.

  15. We can say that the failure of their forecast certainly doesn’t validate their method. On the other hand, they didn’t claim 100% certainty.

    How many forecasts do they have to do before we can pronounce final judgement on their method? I suspect the answer is in Expert Political Judgement by Philip Tetlock. Over decades, Tetlock asked experts to assign probabilities to whether certain events would happen. One example was the question of whether Canada would break up or not.

    After amassing a huge database, Tetlock was able to conclude that experts were no better at predicting future events than using a dart-throwing monkey to generate predictions.

    Tetlock was very transparent about his methodology. It’s been a long while since I read the book though so I’m not confident I understand it any more (assuming I even got it right the first time). However, I’m pretty sure we can’t pronounce on the model after just one failed prediction.

    • Agreed, they indicated the prediction was based on measurements (input to their model). The combination of these observations was found previously to preceded an El Nino. They have now found an example where it did not. This can be used to improve the model.

      Their biggest problem was touting the model before adequate testing. Yes, that would mean decades of observations and no one gets big rewards for being patient.

      Sometimes more is learned by failure than by success. The model should be better in the future.

  16. After 30+ years of corrupting the data to force reality to match the broken models, the models aren’t getting any better, in spite of having a gaggle of pseudo-wanna-be climate scientists (economists who have yet to correctly forecast anything , and psychologists, who have no concept of reproducibility).

    The reality is as long as we have an abysmally educated population panicked into this crap, stupid politicians will fund “scientific” production of horror stories (NYC under water!!!!), and we’ll be here quite a while.

    My favorite idiot (Prince Charles, poster child for inbreeding) has given the world two “irreversible tipping points”, yet we’re still here.

    • I think you are a bit harsh on The Queen and Phil the Greek. We are not talking the Hapsburgs here.

      I don’t think Charles suffers from inbreeding. I think he is just naturally thick.

      Prince Phillip on the other hand? That man is a legend. I am pretty sure he is aware at some level of the concept of Political Correctness but long ago decided that Royalty and Politics needed to be kept separate. There is ample proof over the decades that he really does not give a toss if his words upset you.

      As for Elizabeth II – Greatest. Monarch. Ever. Louis XIV doesn’t count. He was French.

      • Her Majesty is far sharper than most people think, and has the good sense to keep her mouth shut, unlike her idiot elder son.

      • “We are not talking the Hapsburgs here.”

        But it’s pretty close. They have the same great-grandparents, Victoria and Albert, who were themselves first cousins. I’m pretty sure that technically, Liz and Phil’s offspring are not just siblings, but cousins too. Which makes them uncle and aunt to their own kids as well.

  17. Hubris. It’s hard to do science when hubris has you by the medulla, when you think the science is settled, when you demonize skeptics, when you’re caught up in the allure of monotonic funding ideation. There’s a lesson to be learned in this debacle, one that I strongly doubt anyone will learn.

  18. I wonder if the same people assist the weather Gods here in NZ. In Autumn we got told there was only a 15% chance that winter would be wetter than normal in Auckland. It was wetter than normal. We also got told that spring would be ‘extremely dry’. The heavy rain we’ve had disagrees.

    • same in Aus were getting the hot summer schtick
      when weve had around a week around the 30s at most in the sth
      up north, yes its been damned hot n dry still
      roll on the monsoons asap

    • He is wrong. ENSO has a very important solar component due to the Sun providing the energy over the Tropical Pacific. El Niño is more probable when solar activity is declining after peak activity, and right at the solar minimum. La Niña is more probable when solar activity is increasing, and when it is low.
      https://curryja.files.wordpress.com/2019/09/figure-5.png

      A figure from mid-2018 showing my predictions. Both El Niño of 2018 and La Niña of 2020 have taken place.
      https://i.imgur.com/mfCuhAt.png

    • That may be unworkable as stated. The heat builds in the Tropical Pacific, but the triggering happens near Peru. Based on the evidence, the triggering may be a stochastic process related to a composite differential temperature between the trade winds and the ocean west of Peru.

  19. It is very interesting to see a one-year forecast from PIK, because their main climate guru (Mr. Rahmstorf) has stated publicly (in ZDF (German state TV), that climate models don’t work even on a 10-15-20 years time horizont:

    “Aber diese Klimamodelle sind nicht in der Lage, auf 10, oder 15 oder 20 Jahre Prognosen über den Klimaverlauf zu machen. Das ist in der Wissenschaft allgemein anerkannt”.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JfojG2lGAtA

    Nevertheless Mr. Rahmstorf provides in the meantime forecasts for 280(!!!) years (for 2300). And such persons position themselves as “scientists”. PIK has made in this case a strategic error, because a one-year forecast could be checked/validated very easily after one year (like the famous 5-years forecast of Al Gore in 2008 regarding the disappearance of the Arctic ice). Mr. Rahmstorf strategy with the forecast on a 280 years basis would be much better, because who of us will be alive in 2300 to validate his forecast?

    • Exactly. They’ll just say we’ve screwed it up SO much that it’s unpredictable. Never mind that it’s never been predictable.

  20. they were just on the wrong trend at the wrong time

    just more climate expertise via wishful thinking

    it will be swept under the carpet and never spoken of among the climate elite

    • Is it not up to us to keep the memory alive? An annual party, perhaps? It took a certain bravery for PIK to make such a risky prediction*. Let us celebrate that bravery and the bravery of all scientists who make definite predictions, ones with a minimum of weasel words. Hoch!

      El Nino predictions are tricksy. I compare El Ninos/La Ninas to the pendulum in a grandfather’s clock, ticking back and forth with precise periodicity, except that there’s a mouse in the clock that likes to go for rides on the pendulum. As the mouse climbs up and down, according to his whim, the swings become quasiperiodic.

      Part of this, as I understand it, is that the triggering of the El Nino condition is caused by “the trade winds slackening.” The cause of the slackening was a bit mysterious**, last I checked, but when slackening takes place, sloshing*** happens, letting hot water move from the western Pacific eastward most of the way to South America.****

      Insert these tildes above as needed: ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
      * Granted, they didn’t know how risky it was.
      ** I think it has something to do with falling water temperature west of South America, and rising viscosity, surface tension, and density, especially viscosity, which rises 29% between 20C and 10C. (Assuming Newtonian behavior.)
      *** Ich bin ein Slosher.
      **** Here there be plankton.

  21. Two El Ninos exceeding the ONI index value of 2.0 (very strong), namely 1998-99 and 2015-16, have been commonly called super El Ninos. I have found that in both cases the SW radiation value anomaly (based on the CERES data) was responsible for just a little bit more than 50 % of the temperature increase. According to my literature survey, this phenomenon was not identified before. I could not find out if there is a certain mechanism behind this coincidence. Probably not, because during the strong El Nino 2010 the SW anomaly was negative, and this might be the reason that it never developed into the super El Nino.

    I submitted my research article to seven well-known magazines, and it was not accepted to be published. In one case a reviewer claimed that my observation was a well-known phenomenon in climate science, and he/she gave a reference to a publication. I carefully read this reference article but there was not a word about this issue.

    The real reason for rejections was a special feature in my article, which was not commented on at all, strange enough. I know from experience that it is impossible to get accepted in the major climate journals that there is no positive water feedback. I had used the climate sensitivity parameter value of 0.27 K/(W/m2) instead of 0.5 K/(W/m2) which is the IPCC value. If you do that, your paper is busted.

    My model-calculated temperature values follow very nicely the observed temperature values. And by the way, these simulations show that the SW anomaly is the reason for the high-temperature readings after the El Nino 2015-16. The reason is not anthropogenic.

    More details and the reference to the original research paper:
    https://www.climatexam.com/single-post/greenhouse-gases-did-not-cause-the-end-of-the-pause

  22. It is very interesting to see a one-year forecast from PIK, because their main climate guru (Mr. Rahmstorf) has stated publicly (in ZDF (German state TV), that climate models don’t work even on a 10-15-20 years time horizont:
    “Aber diese Klimamodelle sind nicht in der Lage, auf 10, oder 15 oder 20 Jahre Prognosen über den Klimaverlauf zu machen. Das ist in der Wissenschaft allgemein anerkannt”: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JfojG2lGAtA. Nevertheless Mr. Rahmstorf provides in the meantime forecasts for 280(!!!) years (for 2300). And such persons position themselves as “scientists”. PIK has made in this case a strategic error, because a one-year forecast could be checked/validated very easily after one year (like the famous 5-years forecast of Al Gore in 2008 regarding the disappearance of the Arctic ice). Mr. Rahmstorf strategy with the forecast on a 280 years basis would be much better, because who of us will be alive in 2300 to validate his forecast?

    • It is very interesting to see a one-year forecast from PIK, because their main climate guru (Mr. Rahmstorf) has stated publicly (in ZDF (German state TV), that climate models don’t work even on a 10-15-20 years time horizont

      Mr. Rahmstorf could have stopped at “don’t work”.

  23. Plenty of climate scientists, including Mr Schellnhuber himself, have got the formula right. All you have to is issue dire prognostications, heavily larded with weasel-words e.g. might, could, probably, likely, etc.
    Also, it’s important to keep the date of the impending disaster near enough to be scary, but remote enough to avoid imperilling one’s credibility or career.
    This was a mistake not to be repeated and a useful lesson for anyone else considering making definite predictions.

  24. In Australia, when we have many months of bushfires (aka forest fires / wild fires), you know that the weather is more likely to soon turn wetter & cooler. You see a seasonal low in the ice coverage in Antarctica and you see it rebound to a seasonal high soon after. There is a fallacy that the climate has an equilibrium, but it can never find it. All weather & therefore climates are driven by unbalance driving the movement of wind, temperature, tides & moisture. Pressure affects temperature, temperature affects pressure. The inputs are constantly changing & outputs that feed into the next. The cycles of sun, earth’s tilt, earth’s wobbles, moon cycles, planet cycles all impact our climate far more than what humans could achieve. Negative feedbacks abound but it will typically overshoot or the situation changes. The tipping points for el nino la nina & other indicators has been impossible to predict, unable to create long range forecasts (They start talking about them about 3 to 6 months after events & the data were collected).

    The past is still a poor predictor of the future when limited to our technology & understanding. The computing capacity to properly model the earth’s climate would require cm scale grid analysis requiring more computing power than the top500 super computers to run 24hrs to properly model a single day on earth. We pretend to be god’s to understand all the mysteries and know the future. We should submit to a higher authority and accept our human limitations.

      • But they also forecast in the article that 2021 should be the warmest year evah! I believe they are also going to get that prediction hugely wrong. Niña years are always colder than their non-Niña preceding and following years.

  25. Didn’t some climate prophet once claimed something like :

    “Climate models can’t be wrong, thus there must be a problem with the data.”

    ?

  26. They should have asked me. I predicted the 2020 Niña in 2018 based on Leamon & McIntosh research:
    “we should expect a La Niña when solar activity increases in late 2020 to 2021.”
    https://wattsupwiththat.com/2018/07/05/solar-minimum-and-enso-prediction/
    And did my own research on the issue confirming the prediction in 2019:
    “With some uncertainty due to the irregularity of the 11-yr solar cycle, a La Niña can be projected for phase V, by mid-2020.”
    https://judithcurry.com/2019/09/01/enso-predictions-based-on-solar-activity/
    Meanwhile the PIK model was predicting the opposite.

    Solar effect on climate rules over models.

  27. From the press release:

    Josef Ludescher, who now works at PIK, emphasizes: “We also predicted the absence of another ‘El Niño’ in 2019 at the end of last year. Only since July have the official forecasts agreed with our forecast.”

    So what does that mean, did they just get lucky?

    Even a broken clock tells the right time twice a day sort of thing.

  28. Obviously someone had swapped their model with the Covid 19 predictor used by the UK government. It would explain why both were useless. Do I have a testable hypothesis here?

  29. The moral of the story: Never make predictions for the next year. Make predictions for the next century and nobody will disprove you.

    • indeed, by the time somebody could disprove you, your predictions will be long forgotten. and even if they aren’t, you’ll be long dead anyway, so won’t have to “face the music” for getting them wrong.

  30. Maybe their “solution” to the problem will be to say “we never said that!” The German press will be instructed to remove any related documents. And big tech will be happy to lend a helping hand…

  31. “This clever combination of measured data and mathematics gives us unique insights”

    LOL. Measured data + “mathematics” = fit. And you can get all sorts of crazy good hindcasting results with fits and you can even fool yourself into thinking you’re not fitting. But you are.

    GCMs also do this. And the people behind them think exactly the same things.

    • If you look at all of the models they all turn into basically linear equations just a few years out from the present, y = mx + b.
      The only difference between them is the value of “m”, the slope of the line.The truly sad thing is how badly the models guess at the value of “m”.

      All this taxpayer money to generate linear equations.

  32. All they need to do is employ the cli sci trick of using their numbers upside down, then they’d have a near-perfect prediction.

  33. Being Humiliatingly wrong won’t stop them from making ever more “certain” predictions for the next year, and the next and the next. Never has in the past, no reason to expect it will now.

  34. Actually, like Paul Erlich and too many to count, these complete and utter failures are resume enhancements according to Rush.

  35. They should have gotten with Mosher before they said anything, as an English major he could have helped them wordsmith it to make it look correct?

    • Given the poor grammatical and spelling quality of the drive-by English Major’s posts (not to mention the shear incoherence of some of them), I highly doubt it.

      • They vary in quality. Some are fine. Some are less fine. I’m not sure what could explain this variation. He’s good to have around, however, and there are far worse people to consult. He has an eye for sloppy science.

        • He may once have had an eye for sloppy science. That eye seems to have gone a bit blind since he started collecting a paycheck in support of sloppy science.

  36. …the prestigious institute is left humiliated.

    Is it, though?

    Such a thing only happens if they are held to account for their failures. I haven’t seen that happen yet.

  37. Not only that the picadists claim tax money, the taxes that we consumers have to pay for eco taxes, CO2, taxes, taxes and road tolls are missing from the income of the population. A huge loss for all taxpayers!

  38. Warmists predict El Niño every year.
    Every year!
    It’s synonymous with Christmas for them.
    As soon as we’re into 2021 it will start again.

  39. The best index for ENSO is a biological one.
    The Peruvian anchovy.
    When the fish landings decline sharply, its a sign of impending El Niño.
    When the anchovy landings grow strongly, it signifies increased upwelling derived from the Humboldt current, and that La Niña is in the way.

  40. “Our models, when applied to hindcasted numbers, work flawlessly”
    My interpretation of their original prediction is accurate, I think.
    Hindcasting chaotic systems does not work in any meaningful way.
    Another “Tuning” fail.

  41. PIK are the main advisors to Pope Francis on climate.

    Maybe the Pope needs a better climate advisor that Prof Schellnhuber. I suggest Anthony Watts.

  42. You see a La Nina, I see an El Nino. Don’t believe facts, just “truth”.

    Joe Biden says, ” Believe truth over facts”.

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