The balance of the climate in the year 2018 – it is no real Surprise, and yet in your clearly alarming: The German weather service (DWD), presented on Tuesday at its annual press conference in Germany once again, as the dry, hot and Sunny the past summer. Also in the Winter, it was in many places much too dry. But above all, the meteorolog warned interior and meteorologists in front of it, the consequences of climate change. The good news is that With the advance of the ground to say the moisture farmers could be soon earlier warned against droughts. The meteorologist and weather presenter Karsten Schwanke explains what we need to adjust.

TIME ONLINE: It had been coming, now it is definitively clear: in 2018, was in several respects a record year. What is the climate and weather balance?

© © Patrick Selin/

sun: 2.015 hours So as never Since 1951, the sun will be covered Sunny hours per year. In the summer of 2018 broke all records.

Karsten Schwanke: 2018 was a year of extremes. Never since the beginning of the measurement records, it was, on average, as warm (10.5 degrees Celsius) and Sunny (2.015 hours) as last year. The data of the German weather service (DWD), which have now been presented in Detail to confirm. In addition, there have never been so many summer days (with more than 25 degrees Celsius) and as many hot days (over 30 degrees) as 2018. But the rain balance was exceptional: in 2018, with an average rainfall of 586 litres per square metre, the fourth-driest year in Germany since 1881. From April to October, it was even drier than ever before.

Karsten Schwanke is a meteorologist, a science journalist and weather presenter in the ARD. He is the host of numerous Science programmes and reported as a Reporter from abroad. © Karsten Schwanke

TIME ONLINE: we have To expect in the future more often with such extreme years?

Variable: Then it looks. A team of researchers from the British weather service, the MetOffice, has looked at the long summer of 2018 for the United Kingdom in more detail and the question asked is: how much is the probability of the occurrence of such a summer rose in the course of the climate warming? Came out Remarkable: at the beginning of the last century, the probability is 1 in 245 years (245 years could occur in a such summer of the century). Today, just one degree Celsius of global warming, has increased the statistical likelihood of 1:8 – so statistically likely to Occur every eight years!

TIME ONLINE: What if it’s climate change now?

Volatility: Increases in the average temperature of the earth as predicted, one would have to expect by 2050 every two years, with such a weather situation, report the scientists. Even if this would not occur exactly as calculated, periods of drought in summer will increase in our Latitudes. The Helmholtz-centre for environmental research recorded humidity each month, the soil in Germany and evaluates the data: In the drought monitor can keep track of how wet or dry it is.

© © Erik Witsoe/

rain: 586 liters/square meters rained The fourth-driest year since the beginning of the measurements It is 200 liters per square meter less than usual. Thus, in 2018, only 60 % of the normal precipitation fell.

TIME ONLINE: A hot summer is not climate change, an extreme Winter is still no sign of an ice age. For many years, has been emphasized by researchers: weather is not climate. But suddenly, the DWD says otherwise. The year 2018 has shown, “perhaps even more impressive than 2017, with what consequences we have to expect effects in the case of rising temperatures in Germany in the future”. A Change Of Heart?

Volatile: The is a so, but it is in fact a balancing act: of Course, weather and climate are different things. The weather is happening in this Moment out there, it is emotional, and we find it beautiful or bad, the climate on the other hand is a mathematical average of 30 years. But with this statement I can place myself as a researcher in 100 years and say: “out there, climate change is not the only weather.” The people ask us to meteorologists, but to law: Is the weather or climate change? And we need to try to answer this question conscientiously. The example of the summer of 2018, the law was possible, because he had in many areas a completely new quality. We will, however, thunderstorms also in the development of strong Summer and strong precipitation events, keep an eye on how far in the future – in the Wake of global warming – a noticeable change.

TIME ONLINE: Specific weather, not months say in advance. However, there are parameters where you can dare to make a prediction of what could come in 2019, Germany?

Volatile: no. In fact, I can’t tell you how the summer of 2019, or if we get a dry Winter. Weather centres are busy with the question of how long-term weather forecasts would be possible. The only viable long-term forecast, which is known to me, is the prediction of the arrival of the Indian summer monsoon by the Indian and the British weather service. Here in Europe, the long-time prediction is still in its infancy and is the subject of research. A pioneer of the European centre for medium-range weather forecasts (ECMWF) in the UK Reading is, but also the DWD tried for some time to this type of forecasts only for the research. I think that we will experience in the next few years and decades slow improvements.

© © Hauke-Christian Dittrich/dpa

heat: 20 days number of days with temperatures over 30 °C in 2018 topped the previous record year of 2003 a day. Summer days (>25 °C), there were 74, and up to 12 more than at the time.

TIME ONLINE: So the agriculture can be better than last year, adjust to times of Drought, researchers from the DWD, an earlier and more accurate Forecastsforecast of soil moisture developed. So farmers know in the future, in the best case, six weeks in advance, the extent to which you need your fields to artificially irrigate. Where would need it even faster, more accurate and earlier forecasts, in order to meet the consequences of climate change?

Fluctuations In all areas. Our entire economy is depending on weather conditions. The more accurate longer-term forecasts are, the better many set it: from the tourism and the energy industry. But still we are far from it. Also in the case of the six-week forecasts of soil moisture by the DWD, we must not overlook the fact that the accuracy decreases the further in advance it makes predictions. They are a good starting point, but they are also not set in stone.

© © Patrick Pleul/dpa

temperature: 10,5 °C, The warmest year since the beginning of the measurements In the year for Germany, the temperature was in 2018 at 10.5 °C. A warming trend of 1.5 °C since 1881. For the whole of Europe, the third was expected to 2018, the warmest year.

In this focus, read everything on the drought in Germany, the tangible consequences of climate change and how agriculture can adapt.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

73  −    =  71