Variability Analysis of Surface Climate Observations



Frame and Tasks

VASClimO was a joint climate research project of the Global Precipitation Climatology Centre (GPCC) at the German Met Service (DWD) and the Institute for Atmosphere and Environment – Working Group for Climatology at the Johann Wolfgang Goethe University Frankfurt.


The project was funded by the Bundesministerium für Bildung, Wissenschaft, Forschung und Technologie BMBF within the German Climate Research Program DEKLIM(DEKLIM Project-No.: 33 11 0307 - "Development of an observational data basis (Europe and global) for DEKLIM and related statistical analysis with regard to climate variability on a decadal to centennial time scale"). Funding was provided over a 5-year period for 3 scientists. Two scientists (Dr. Christoph Beck and myself) spent their time in part project A at GPCC. Their task was the creation of worldwide gridded datasets of 4 meteorological variables (precipitation, near surface temperature, snow cover and air pressure) in 2 temporal resolutions (monthly and daily). The datasets should have been built on long, quality controlled (homogeneity, outliers, station location) records of observations.






In VASClimO part-project A at the Global Precipitation Climatology Centre (GPCC) not a single product was generated. The GPCC (especially Dr. Bruno Rudolf, Udo Schneider and Tobias Fuchs) deliberately spreads wrong information about the project VASClimO A.


I was employed as a research scientist in part project A until I finally quit after 4 years and 9 months suffering from lies and cheating. Within the first 6 months of the project I sorted stations for which we got precipitation and temperature data from FAO of the UN in three groups: (1) already known to GPCC, (2) definitely new to GPCC, and (3) not decidable by the criteria of GPCC which I got from Udo Schneider.


This was a very boring work but it seemed to be necessary to easily merge new data with already known data. So I worked as hard as possible to get through it. However, when I finished it I had to learn that Udo Schneider gave me wrong criteria and the sorting was worthless. Following this first experience with GPCC I complained and offered to quit. The project lead, Prof. Christian-D. Schönwiese, however, asked me to stay. I thought that all learned from this incidence and stayed.


The next two years I spent learning how the software that is especially designed to load data into the GPCC database worked and loading the FAO dataset to the database. There are many reasons why this took so long: (1) Nobody could explain how the software worked, (2) again I got wrong information by Udo Schneider concerning the quality of the station information in the database, (3) the station metadata (like spatial coordinates) had to be checked for each observation loaded, e.g. 1200 times for 50 years of monthly data of temperature and precipitation at one single station, (4) in some cases the software did not allow to load the data to the correct station even if all meta information was exactly identical, (5) Observations themselves are not used to automatically identify whether 2 stations are the same. This is why that boring work (a) took so long and (b) did not yield reliable results.


During that time I complained several times. Dr. Bruno Rudolf, head of the GPCC at that time, declared to take full responsibility for the fact that it was not possible to do a reasonable quality control and data merging. The boss of Dr. Bruno Rudolf, Volker Vent-Schmidt, did not allow me to fully inform the project lead about the extent of the problem.


I further spent several months to load a dataset of temperatures which we got from another DWD department although these data were already uniquely linked to the GPCC database. Bruno Rudolf ordered to invent meta data and to control them with the software of the GPCC. He declared to take full responsibility for this decision and I wrote a report to clearly describe this situation.


Now you may ask why I did all this fruitless work. One reason was that Dr. Bruno Rudolf repeatedly claimed to take full responsibility for his orders. Another reason is that he did not allow me to install any programming language on my desktop PC or to get more than 1Gb disk space on the big computer of DWD although I asked him many times and made absolutely clear that I cannot do any reasonable work without a compiler and a minimum of disk space. Since (a) I had to go to office as an employee of DWD, (b) I got no chance to do reasonable work there, (c) Dr. Bruno Rudolf repeatedly declared to take full responsibility for his orders, (d) I trusted the project lead, Prof. Schönwiese, and (e) I didn’t want to leave my hometown if not absolutely necessary I did all that and hoped for the best. On top of that I agreed submitting massively wrong annual reports about our activities to the funding agency. Dr. Bruno Rudolf claimed to take full responsibility also for that.


Following three years as a research scientist with the GPCC of the German Met Service I couldn’t stand the situation any longer. I started producing one of the products on my own initiative with my private computer and in privately purchased VB6. The latter made it possible to prove that this product is not produced by means of VASClimO.


I interpolated observations of about 5000 globally distributed stations which I got from my colleague, Dr. Christoph Beck, who selected them from the GPCC database according to reasonable criteria. I compared several interpolation methods and concluded that Kriging with local and monthly variograms gave the best results. I also compared a dozen different variables for interpolation. It turned out that instead of just interpolating observations, as it is done in GPCC, it is much better to interpolate relative deviations from the long-term mean. This could easily be tested by means of the Jackknife error. GPCC claims to have a huge database of observed long-term precipitation averages. However, neither Dr. Bruno Rudolf nor Udo Schneider, agreed to point me to that data. After even a written proposal to use these data was declined by them I used the about 30,000 data from FAO for the interpolation.


I offered the final dataset to GPCC under the condition that Dr. Bruno Rudolf takes full responsibility for the fact that I could not have produced it within GPCC. He did not agree but asked me to take about 1000 more stations into consideration which are all within France, i.e. a region with already high data density. I made clear that doing that means that GPCC pretends to have more data globally than it really has. Nevertheless, to have something I agreed and interpolated the dataset again now with 6000 precipitation stations worldwide.


After I finished this Bruno Rudolf again did not accept the product as a GPCC product unless the even more German stations were included. Again I disagreed with the strategy to increase data density in an area with already high data density to pretend that the global product is based on that many stations. Meanwhile my private laptop got damaged and I either had to buy a new one to produce the dataset or to get the opportunity to finally work on GPCC or VASClimO computers. However, Dr. Bruno Rudolf did still not agree providing absolutely necessary working conditions even though they would not have caused any additional costs. I bought a new computer, did the interpolation again and Dr. Bruno Rudolf accepted the third global dataset which is based on more than 9,300 stations (1000 of which in France and about 3,300 in Germany) and based on FAO long-term averages as the GPCC product VASClimO.


With the end of the project coming closer I started writing a publication about the interpolation of the dataset and sent a first draft to some potential co-authors. Dr. Bruno Rudolf did not allow me to further work on the manuscript but ordered that I should now do something completely different and new to me: recalculate Koeppen Climatology. Again I had to do that on my private computers. Since he again claimed to take full responsibility for the fact that the 5-year project might end without any scientific publication, I agreed again, knowing that this would mean my end as a climatologist and scientist in case he wouldn’t keep to his word.


Half a year before the end of the project, Dr. Bruno Rudolf suggested that I should try and find a job outside meteorology and research. I was so shocked by this suggestion that I packed my stuff and never returned to my desk. Three months later I got the offer to start as a consultant with FAO, quit with the German Met Service and left Germany.


During my time at DWD it I became coauthor and reviewer of the 4th assessment report of the IPCC. As all authors of IPCC I was not allowed to inform others in advance about the report. Since at that time I trusted Dr. Bruno Rudolf I put emphasis on advertising GPCC products in the report. The effect was that the GPCC now claims to have contributed to IPCC.


I was fully loyal to Dr. Bruno Rudolf, the GPCC and DWD and Dr. Bruno Rudolf became division director at DWD. My former colleague, Dr. Christoph Beck, wrote a nice final report, in which the success of the project is highlighted and got a nice position at a university. The German tax payer paid more than €500,000 for a project which should have produced 8 datasets but in which the responsible person, Dr. Bruno Rudolf, declined to provide absolute minimum conditions to perform reasonable work and produce at least one product, although it would not have caused any additional costs.


I told the authors of the final report that I cannot agree with that report given my changed conditions of life. In fact I severely disagreed with the report and asked them not to publish it but to search for a common solution. However, they published it and submitted it to the funding administration for final review. I informed the responsible person there (Dr. Lars Schanz) immediately without any response. So I informed the executive board of DWD and asked to find a common solution. I told everything to Dr. Wilfried Thommes, member of the executive board of DWD, who informed me that I am not allowed to spread secrets. I asked lawyers whether I can do something, but they agreed that as long as Dr. Christoph Beck and Prof. Schönwiese stay to their report and declare that they have written the truth I have no chance to successfully take any legal action.


Therefore I again informed the funding agency and the German research ministry. They highlighted the success of the project and that is the end of my life in Germany and as a climatologist and scientist.


The only thing I can do is to warn everyone. Dr. Bruno Rudolf, Dr. Christoph Beck and Prof. Christian-D. Schönwiese are not honest.





Therefore today I declare the following:


1.      From the 8 datasets that should have been produced within the VASClimO part-project A only one is available. This one is not produced with project means.


The VASClimO part project A was supported generously by the German government over five years with two postdocs (which means about 500,000 €). But still none of the eight products that should have been produced is actually produced with means of the project.



2.      I interpolated the VASClimO dataset (see and further to VASClimO) and all associated maps published on the web page of the German Met Service (DWD) on my own initiative and on my private computers.


Within the research project VASClimO I was never asked to produce any dataset. I was never paid to produce any dataset.



3.      I never got the opportunity to produce a dataset within the GPCC although it would have caused no additional costs to provide the necessary equipment to produce a dataset.


I was not allowed to install a free FORTRAN compiler or any other programming language on the available office computer within the VASClimO project although I regularly asked for it for years. I never got enough disk space (10Gb) on the large-capacity computer of the DWD although I applied several times for it. Therefore I never had the opportunity to produce a single product within the 4 years and 9 months I was employed at the GPCC. Also the installation of graphic programs (even free ones like R or GrADS) was refused. I informed all involved timely that I cannot produce anything without minimum equipment.



4.      The GPCC VASClimO dataset is based on long-term averages of FAO which are not quality controlled.


According to Dr. Bruno Rudolf the GPCC has monthly long-term averaged observations of about 30,000 stations worldwide. Although I asked him and Udo Schneider several times whether they can provide these data to me (I even made a written proposal and submitted it on 22nd September 2005) I never got these data. This is why GPCC’s VASClimO dataset is based on the freely available climatic data of FAO rather than GPCC’s own long-term averages.



5.      There is not a single publication in an international journal about the activities of the research project VASCLimO A which was funded by the German Government with 2 post docs over 5 years (about 500,000€).


In December 2005 I offered a raw manuscript about the production of the dataset to Dr. Bruno Rudolf and three further potential co-authors. Dr. Bruno Rudolf did not allow me to further work on this manuscript. He declared to take full responsibility for this decision.



6.      Dr. Bruno Rudolf, Udo Schneider and other members of the GPCC demonstrated clearly that they do not understand the interpolation method used within the GPCC.


GPCC uses Shepards Method in order to directly interpolate observed monthly precipitation data. The computer code was provided by foreign scientists. The massive misinterpretation of Shepards Method by Dr. Bruno Rudolf et al. (Rudolf, B., H. Hausschild, M. Reiss und U. Schneider, 1992: Die Berechnung der Gebietsniederschläge im 2.5°-Raster durch ein objektives Analyseverfahren. Meteorologische Zeitschrift 1992, H1, 32-50.) was repeated by Dr. Bruno Rudolf in 2004 without any disagreement of other members of the GPCC. The results of an interpolation method that would work as described by Dr. Bruno Rudolf et al. were completely useless.


7.      I am not co-author of the final report of the VASCLimO project.


I didn’t write a single word of the final report (published in March 2007)[1]. I read the manuscript and severely disagreed. The authors (especially those involved in part-project A, namely Dr. Christoph Beck, Dr. Bruno Rudolf and Prof. Christian-D. Schönwiese) put my name against my will on the authors list.



I regret that – in order to avoid a scandal, bound to my contract and for existential reasons – I could not inform you earlier.