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Germany: Weather extremes could be the norm in the future

New climate simulations for Germany show that extreme events such as heat waves or heavy rainfall could occur more frequently and more violently in the future. With adaptive measures - such as heat reaction plans, or use of inner-city areas as a temporary water reservoir - we can prepare ourselves for climate change.

If greenhouse gas emissions continue to rise and climate change continues unabated, today's extreme events such as heat waves, periods of drought or heavy rainfall, could become the norm. This is shown by new climate simulations for Germany, which were initiated by the federal states (Project ReKliEs-De). The Competence Center Climate Impacts and Adaptation KomPass at the Federal Environment Agency (UBA) assisted with this project. The simulations show that the consequences of climate change are becoming increasingly apparent, and the implementation of adaptive measures is becoming more urgent.

If greenhouse gas emissions continue to increase in the same way as before - the so-called "as before" scenario- we expect significantly more hot days in Germany (days with temperatures above 30 degrees Celsius) and an increase in tropical nights (night-time temperatures of more than 20 degrees Celsius). Health risks for the population can be avoided, for example through heat warning systems or through neighbourly "sponsorships" for particularly vulnerable people. And of course, everyone should adapt their activities and, for example, restrict their exercise regimes during hot periods.

Even heavy rains may become more frequent in the future. Water-sensitive urban development (the "Schwammstadt Principle") can reduce potential damage. In this case, inner-city areas such as roads, parking lots or public spaces could be temporarily used as water reservoirs.

Source: Umwelt Bundesamt

Publication date: 12/14/2017



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