Saturday, February 16, 2013

Interviews by Hans von Storch

Between 1996 and 2010 I prepared with a number of colleagues (Klaus Fraedrich, Jürgen Sündermann und Lorenz Magaard, George Kiladis and Rol Madden, Klaus Hasselmann und Dirk Olbers) extended interviews with senior scientists, all but one being in climate and related fields active. Thee interviews provide a vivid account of this community prior to the emergence of climate change research as the dominant and heavily politicized field, which it is today. Obviously, the groundwork was done beginning in the 1960s, when for instance NCAR was set up, when the atmospheric and oceanic components of contemporary dynamical climate models were constructed, when climate statistics were developed beyond traditional data statistics, satellites were launched and dynamically consistent data analysis. The interviews demonstrate the plausibility of  the hypothesis of our "Die Klimafalle"-book that the climate science community stumbled unprepared into the role of political significance.
Five of the six extended interviews, namely those recorded between 1996 and 2007 with Klaus Hasselmann, Hans Hinzpeter, Klaus Wyrtki, Reimar Lüst and Harry van Loon have been set online by the Niels-Bohr Library and Archives of the Center for History of Physics. The interviews done in German, with Hans Hinzpeter and Reimar Lüst, have been translated into English. Unfortunately, the NBL-versions are hardly illustrated, and the many interesting photos were not taken over.
Therefore, a full collection in English, with an additional introductory comment, and all photos has been assembled and published in

I was wondering if it may be worth to have the interviews as a book, but I guess the market is too small for such an effort. But it may be possible to print a few copies on a private basis for those interested - if somebody is, please let me know by mail.
Also, I would like to have a different cover - anybody has a suggestion?


Hans von Storch said...

Friends, I notice that the different documents - interviews or scholarly articles - available from are often accessed. The "significance text" was 61 times klicked at, the "Wyrtki interview" 49 times, and the BACC report 25 times.
However, hardly any response here on the Klimazwiebel. Of course, a response is not needed, and I am pleased to see that these documents enjoy some interest - but I would also not mind if I would get some feedback.

Werner Krauss said...

As a title, I would suggest:

"Climate Science: An Oral History".

Great collection.

Hans von Storch said...

Thanks, Werner - attractive idea. Does it matter that one of the interviewees is NOT from climate science, namely Reimar Lüst?

I was wondering if it would make sense to offer the collection as e-book on amazon. or is the pdf equally well readable on current electronic reading tablets such as kindle?

Manfred Mudelsee said...


I love those interviews conducted by you and the others (historical perspective and detailed questions) and have read quite many of them---online. I would not buy them as a printed book, perhaps to save money.

Frank Raes has collected interviews (Houghton, Crutzen, Eliassen, Schellnhuber, Ramanathan, Hansen, Molina and Kiang) in "Conversations about molecules and planets, with humans in between", which exists printed (I guess it is free upon request) and online at Perhaps this is a format you and the others wish to follow?

Best wishes