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First the link to this week’s complete list as HTML and as PDF.
There are three main sources for university research funding. First a professor and head of an institute used to have a well paid, qualified staff and a sizeable budget to pursue research in whatever area he saw fit. Second there has always been third party funding, mostly in areas such as medicine and engineering, not all of it applied but also the kind of blue sky fundamental research the Bell Labs used to be famous for. And third there is governmental project funding. This is all taxpayer’s money like in the first case, but without scientific freedom and under strict government control. Of course under communism and other centralized totalitarian regimes this third way has been the norm for a long time, but here its nearly total takeover is fairly recent. It is in view of this kind of strict regime control, that studies in social engineering like Klüver et al. have to be viewed. Of course their stated purpose like in this case is always beneficial and benign, but the methodical results are far more general than that. As a small consolation science simply does not work without publishing and open discussion, so at least these things are hard to hide completely – at least from that tiny minority who bother to read the primary scientific literature.
Undoubtedly climate has warmed significantly compared to the last trough of the Little Ice Age before or around 1850 and there has been noticeable warming in the last four decades. Up to 20 % more intensive precipitation – the upper limit stated by Kreienkamp et al. – is not negligible and neither is an up to tenfold rise in frequency. But then the floods seen in July were not 20 % above recorded history in their effects but much more. How come?
The built living space in Germany has doubled since 1970 and more than that in the affluent far west of the country. Much of that new buildup has happened right on those meadows that have been known to be infrequent flood plains for centuries. These new estates were often dammed and little or not at all hit in the recent flood. Other places that used to be prone to being flooded by strong rain have been provided with large drains and other large wooded areas uphill have been built over and sealed. When all that water is compressed into straightened and canalized river beds, of course the results are unprecedented. This is nothing or at least very little to do with climate or rainfall patterns. A stationary low pressure region like the one just seen is rare but far from unheard of.
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