Again climate alarm for Germany

DWD: Adaptation to climate change must start early

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Numerous heat deaths, more and more infectious diseases and a sharp rise in skin cancer rates: These are just a few of the worst consequences that climate change is likely to cause in Germany in the future. Yesterday, the German Weather Service (DWD) pointed this out again during a press conference in Berlin.

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But that's not all: The precipitation will decrease in Germany in the summer on average. However, in connection with the frequently occurring high air temperatures and an increased water vapor content of the air, increasingly severe thunderstorms are discharged in the summer. They can lead to strong local flooding. In winter, on the other hand, precipitation increases on average. They usually take place as snow in liquid form. At the same time, the snowfall limit will rise. Winter sports will therefore rarely be possible in many areas, "said DWD President Wolfgang Kusch.

The basis for these forecasts is a new study by the DWD in which the climate data from 1901 to today were evaluated. "Climate change is a fact. It is already clear that changing the climate will have a lasting impact on our highly industrialized society. We all need to learn to live with the consequences of climate change and adapt. "

The necessary adaptation can not be had for free. There will be losers and winners. Only with detailed observation results - that is, facts - would the necessary political decisions, imposed by climate change, be widely accepted. display

Climate change in Germany in detail

The analysis of the data since 1901 shows, according to the DWD, that the decade from 1990 to 1999 was the warmest decade in the entire 20th century in Germany. Five of the ten warmest years of the 20th century belong to this period. Even in the first six years of the 21st century, it was always warmer than the long-term average of 8.2 ° C. The leader since 1901 was 2000 with 9, 9 ° C. The past year 2006 was in fifth place with 9.5 ° C. Overall, the average annual temperature in Germany since 1901 has risen by almost 0.9 degrees.

Autumn always warmer

However, the temperature increase in Germany observed by the DWD was not uniform. Thus, since 1901, spring shows a slight increase of 0.6 degrees. At around 1.0 degrees, summer contributes significantly more to the overall trend. Autumn shows the strongest seasonal temperature increase of 1.1 degrees. For the winter there is an increase of 0.8 degrees.

The annual rainfall in Germany shows an increase of around nine percent. However, this is statistically insignificant due to the large natural fluctuations. However, in ten of the past 15 years, precipitation fell more than average. The year 2002 with the Elbe flood was the wettest since 1901.

A comparison of the seasons shows an increasing trend of almost 14 percent for spring, and even 31 percent for March. This should, according to Kusch, be of particular interest to agriculture. There is no trend for the summer. However, the precipitation characteristic seems to change. At many stations of the DWD an increase of heavy precipitation with more than 30 liters per square meter was observed at the expense of the summer storm.

More rainfall in winter

Such heavy precipitation has become increasingly a problem for urban wastewater systems. There is no significant trend for autumn either. The winter precipitation shows the highest increase with about 20 percent. There are also differences within Germany. The increase in the annual average is mainly limited to western and southern Germany. Only in winter you can find in all federal states plus rainfall.

An earth atmosphere that continues to heat up will be able to absorb more moisture. For physical reasons, this must lead to more frequent extreme weather events, such as severe thunderstorms or hail. So far, however, with the exception of the heavy summer precipitation, neither an increase nor a decrease of such severe weather events is detectable.

Rising risks from climate change

Kusch emphasized that increasing risks to human health are linked to climate change. Thus, the expected increase in frequency and intensity of heat waves, as experienced by Germany in the summer of 2003, could lead to numerous deaths. The DWD therefore responded early to such dangers with the introduction of nationwide heat and UV warnings. These offers can be obtained free of charge via the website of the DWD.

In the future, it is also necessary to reckon with a stronger thermal effect in the cities due to the temperature increase. The importance of the fresh air corridors will therefore grow. Architects would have to develop new building concepts for example with a targeted shading of footpaths in the summer.

Objective: To accurately estimate the consequences of climate change

According to the DWD, rainfall in Germany will decrease on average during the summer. At the same time, however, increasingly severe thunderstorms are expected. They can lead to strong local flooding. In winter, on the other hand, precipitation increases on average. However, they will usually fall as rain rather than snow. The snow line will rise. Winter sports will therefore be possible in many areas less often than before.

It is now important to accurately assess the future consequences of climate change. The German Weather Service has therefore begun to model the effects of climate change on humans and their living environment in detail. Kusch: Our goal is to predict and prepare the effects of climate change on different aspects of our lives in such a way that politics, authorities, architects or doctors can work very practically.

(German Weather Service (DWD), 25.04.2007 - DLO)