Climate Change to Turn Up the Heat in Germany | Germany| News and in-depth reporting from Berlin and beyond | DW | 03.09.2008
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Climate Change to Turn Up the Heat in Germany

Hotter summers in the south, better harvests, and a tourism boom on the coast. Along with floods, lack of snow and an increase of algae along the coast, this could all be in Germany's climate future.

Map of Germany showing warming trend.

Germany will warm up over the next century, though it isn't all bad news

Germany -- like most the world -- is in for some warmer weather. That's the conclusion of a report by the Max Planck Institute for Meteorology in Hamburg. By the end of the century the average annual temperature in Germany will be three degrees Celsius (5.4 degrees Fahrenheit) warmer than in the period between 1971 and 2000.

Such a change in temperatures would mean a sinking water table and an increase in heat-related illnesses in southern and southwestern Germany. On the positive side, the warmer weather would mean better grape harvests and finer wine.

Climate change has already had an affect on the glaciers covering the Alps, and experts said it's going to get worse. By 2100 there will be no snowfall in the Alps below 1,500 meters (4,900 feet), according to the study, which was commissioned by the German Environment Ministry.

A temperature difference of three degrees Celsius could mean that large areas of the Alps that are sure to get snow by today's standards will likely remain green in 2100.

Rainfall across Germany could drop by as much as 30 percent with the south and southwest hit hardest, but winter precipitation could increase by up to a third, the study found.

Temperature changes in northern Germany won't be quite as dramatic though flooding may change the landscape along the Elbe River. Researchers also predicted a boom for the northern German tourist industry as warmer temperatures are likely to send more people to the North and Baltic seas.

The study's results pushed Greens party politician Baerbel Hoehn to call more action in the fight against climate change.

"The government has to come clean about the problems and costs that climate change is going to cause," she told the AFP news agency, adding that so far Merkel has "turned away from every measure that might upset any lobby."

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