Thaw instead of white Christmas?

Winters in Germany are getting shorter and milder

Snow Crystal Ruhr University Bochum
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Will there be a white Christmas? This question can not be answered by the meteorologists of the German Weather Service yet, but where the chances are highest. In the long term, according to the latest data, the trend is towards shorter and milder winters.

The desire of many people for snow not only on Christmas Eve, but as far as possible on all three Christmas holidays is rarely fulfilled in this country. Most Germans celebrate "Green Christmas" in the majority. In comparison to the larger cities, Munich has the best chance of trudging through real snow on all three festive days. There is, new evaluations of the experts of the German Weather Service (DWD), according to, on average, about every three years on 24, 25, and 26 December a snow cover.

After all, every four to five years in Dresden they celebrate such white Christmas, in Hamburg every nine years. In Frankfurt and Aachen, on the other hand, on average, people can only expect about every tenth year with "Quiet trickle of the snow" on all holiday days. 1986 was the last Christmas, where practically all of Germany lay under a blanket of snow.

"Everyone understands something different under a White Christmas, but the widespread view that today there is less and less snow at Christmas, is not true, " explains Gerhard Lux, spokesman for the DWD in Offenbach. He also attributes this to the unusually snowy months of December between 1960 and 1970, which many have remembered. "The global warming of the atmosphere is fortunately not yet reflected in our many-year statistics on the Christmas weather - not yet!"

Winters are getting shorter and shorter

However, the DWD meteorologists observe a tendency towards milder winters in Germany during the last 20 years. "The winters are getting shorter - the foliage turns later and fruit plants like apples or sweet cherries start blooming in the end of March and beginning of April", explains Ekko Bruns from the DWD and regrets that nice, cold, long winters with frozen lakes make skating have become rare. display

And also skiers have to increasingly move to higher altitudes, if they want to find a snow-sure area for winter sports. Changes are also reflected in the structure of precipitation in Germany. Although these have increased slightly in the winter, but more rain than snow, and this often only at higher altitudes.

Opportunities highest in Southeast Bavaria

Recent evaluations of DWD's long-term data series show that the chances of White Christmas are generally declining from the higher locations in southeastern Bavaria to the coastal regions with maritime climates in northwestern Germany.

This difference is also clear when looking at the annual mean of the first snowfall of the winter. In the Munich area, for example, winter around November 20 is usually the first time it has arrived. In Kassel and Hanover usually, it takes until December 7 while the first real flakes often do not show along the line Dsseldorf, Mnster, Emden before 20 December.

A similar picture gives the calculation of the mean time between the first and the last snowfall of the winter. After all, this is about 135 days in the Munich area, 107 days in Kassel and 93 days in Hanover. In D sseldorf the winter is rather short only about 60 days are on average between the first and the last snowfall of a winter.

"Christmas thaw" typical in Germany

Frequently falls on the plains at the end of November or during December gengend snow to form a closed snow cover. Most of these, however, do not stay long. The Nikolaustauwetter, around the 5th of December, and later the Christmas thawing, between the 24th and the 29th of December, provide in many years for a j The end of the white splendor.

These are so-called singularities, that is, calendar-related weather phenomena, which represent a deviation from the normal course of the weather and occur more or less regularly. The Christmas thaw with mild western and southwestern winds occurs with a probability of 53 percent, about every two years.

How Christmas 2005 will be, is currently still completely open. Everything is possible, only maybe Peter himself more. At a location in Germany, however, the dream of white glittering snowy landscapes, clinking cold and ice at Christmas will in any case become a reality at the DWD's highest weather station, on the Zugspitze.

(German Weather Service (DWD), 01.12.2005 - NPO)