Germany Germany Germany Germany

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The past three decades, soil organic carbon stocks in German Alps forests have decreased. This is likely due to accelerated microbial organic carbon decomposition with increasing soil temperature.

Global warming affects precipitation volumes in the Alps, the contribution of rain and snow to these volumes, and the timing of snowmelt. An overall decrease in snow cover

During recent decades, climate change-induced shifts of the growing season in Germany have been observed. An analyses of data over the period 1961 – 2010

The transboundary area of western Poland, eastern Germany and the northern part of the Czech Republic is now suitable for the cultivation of wine grapes

In a warmer future climate, Western Europe will see larger impacts from severe Autumn storms. Not only their frequency will increase, but also their intensity and the area they affect.

How much sea level rise is to be expected at the upper limit of current IPCC scenarios? This question has been dealt with for northern Europe

many German rivers may experience higher 50-year floods and more frequent occurrences of current 50-year droughts

According to a recent study, the chance of extremely hot summers would have increased dramatically since the 2003 European heat wave.

Total annual river flood damages in Germany sum up to nearly EUR 500 million per year for the current situation and, on average, double until the end of this century.

European wine farms show considerable potential to improve their economic performance, and thereby ease their situation in a global change scenario.

For Norway spruce in the Northern Limestone Alps (Germany and Austria), neither growth suppression at the lower elevation sites nor growth increase at higher elevation sites was observed

In the past decade, winter consequences and flood events accounted for 96% of the total rail and road networks costs in the Alps, 92% in mid-Europe and 91% across EUR29.

On the Rhine–Main–Danube corridor no decrease in the performance of inland waterway transport due to extreme weather events is expected till 2050.

Net primary productivity of beech decreases by 30% in 2071− 2100 compared with 1961−1990 due to higher mortality rates, lower water availability and higher drought stress.

The vulnerability of bulk cargo companies along the River Rhine to low water periods has been studied for the near and distant future.

Global-warming induced increases in insured losses are generically to be expected, but can be handled within the existing insurance frameworks in Germany.

The results show that in winter, the study area becomes moister (in the order of 5–10%) like most of Northern Europe. The changes of extreme precipitation in winter are of the same magnitude.

Severe hurricane-force (> 32.6 m/s) storms can cause floods in west-European coastal regions and inflict large-scale damage on infrastructure and agriculture.

At extremely low water levels, the price per tonne for inland waterway transport in the river Rhine area will almost double. These increased transport prices result in welfare losses.

The impact of hydrological changes on navigation conditions has been studied for the Rhine-Main-Danube corridor, one of the most important waterways in Europe ...

Extreme storm surge heights likely will show a small increase toward the coasts of the German Bight with stronger changes along the North Frisian Islands ...

Windstorm losses are expected to reach unseen magnitudes, which for some countries (e.g. Germany) may exceed 200% of the strongest event in present day climate simulations ...

The observed warmer seasons during 1949 to 2010 have resulted in greater ripening potential for the wines of Lower Franconia ...

Previous studies predict a large potential increase in value of the vineyards at the Moselle river ...

Wind-storm losses on a European-wide property insurance portfolio have been quantified under current and future climatic conditions ...

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I recommend

National plans/strategies for Germany

  • Combating Climate Change: The German Adaptation Strategy. Download.
  • Adaptation Action Plan 2011. Download.
  • Sixth National Communication of Germany under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) (2014). Download.

Reports/papers that focus on important German topics

  • Climate Change: observations, projections and impacts. Downloads.
  • Coastal flood risk: Sterr (2008). Assessment of vulnerability and adaptation to sea level rise for the coastal zone of Germany. Download.
  • River flood risk: Petrow et al. (2009). Changes in the flood hazard in Germany through changing frequency and persistence of circulation patterns. Download.
  • Tourism: Agrawala (2007). Climate Change in the European Alps. Adapting winter tourism and natural hazards management.

Reports/papers that present a sound overview for Europe

  • Quante, M. and F. Colijn (eds), 2016. North Sea Region climate change assessment NOSCCA. Regional Climate Studies, Springer Nature, 555 pp. Download.
  • Eisenreich (2005). Climate change and the European water dimension. A report to the European water directors.
  • European Environment Agency (2005). Vulnerability and adaptation to climate change in Europe. Download.
  • European Environment Agency, JRC and WHO (2008). Impact of Europe’s changing climate – 2008 indicator-based assessment. Download..

Reports/papers that focus on specific topics, relevant for all of Europe

  • Agriculture: Rounsevell et al. (2005). Future scenarios of European agricultural land use II. Projecting changes in cropland and grassland. Download.
  • Agriculture: Fischer et al. (2005). Socio-economic and climate change impacts on agriculture: an integrated assessment, 1990–2080. Download.
  • Biodiversity: Thuiller et al. (2005). Climate change threats to plant diversity in Europe. Download.
  • Coastal erosion: Salman et al. (2004). Living with coastal erosion in Europe: sediment and space for sustainability. Download.
  • Droughts: Blenkinsop and Fowler (2007). Changes in European drought characteristics projected by the PRUDENCE regional climate models. Download.
  • Droughts: European Environment Agency (2009). Water resources across Europe – confronting water scarcity and drought. Download.
  • Forestry: Seppälä et al. (2009). Adaptation of forests and people to climate change. A global assessment report. Download.
  • Health: Kosatsky (2005). The 2003 European heat waves. Download.
  • Health: WHO (2008). Protecting health in Europe from climate change. Download.
  • Insurance and Business: Mills et al. (2005). Availability and affordability of insurance under climate change. A growing challenge for the U.S. Download.
  • Security and Crisis management: German Advisory Council on Global Change (2007). World in transition: Climate change as a security risk. Summary for policy-makers. Download.
  • Storms: Gardiner et al. (2010). Destructive storms in European forests: Past and forthcoming impacts. Download.
  • Storms: Pinto et al. (2007). Changing European storm loss potentials under modified climate conditions according to ensemble simulations of the ECHAM5/MPI-OM1 GCM. Download.
  • Tourism: Deutsche Bank Research (2008). Climate change and tourism: Where will the journey lead? Download.

EU funded Research Projects

Agriculture

Avalanches and landslides

Biodiversity

Climate change scenarios

Climate change impacts and vulnerabilities

Coastal areas

Cultural-historical heritage

Droughts and water scarcity

Energy

Floods

Forest fires

Forestry

Fresh water resources

Health

Infrastructure

Insurance and Business

Land use

Mitigation / adaptation integrated policy

Mitigation / adaptation options and costs

Security and Crisis management

Tourism

Transport, Infrastructure and Building

Urban areas

Forest fires Germany

Vulnerabilities

In Germany in the year of the heat wave of 2003, the area of burnt forest was by 25% larger than the average across 1991-2002, namely 1315 ha. In 1992 the largest area of burnt forest since 1990 was registered, with 4908 ha and an estimated damage of 12.8 million €. In the “record summer” of 2003 the absolute maximum air temperature reached 39.1ºC, and the maximum of precipitation deficiency was in Northeast Germany, where stand conditions and plantation types (sandy soils, pine stands) in general cause maximum forest fire risk (1).

Almost every fire starts on the ground – it is therefore meaningful that since the last few decades undergrowth of grasses in forests is increasing and favouring two grass species that rank very highly on the scale of inflammabilty, namely wood small-reed (Calamagrostis epigejos) and wavy hair-grass (Deschampsia flexuosa). Furthermore, the grass layer contributes to increased evaporation and therefore to further desiccation. Reasons for increasing grass layer are thought to be on the one hand atmospheric nitrogen deposition and acidification, and on the other hand climate warming in combination with dryer summers. Therefore, dry summers increase the risk of forest fires not only in the year itself, but also in the following years (1).

All regions of Germany show increased fires risk, with the exception of the Alps, the alpine upland, and the coastal regions. Arid coniferous forests on sandy soils in the North and Northeast of Germany that exhibited a relatively high risk already in 1990 are particularly impacted (2).

Adaptation strategies

Most states stress that preventive measures are already established. Forest fires have been seen as an important risk for a long time, and the technical measures in place are rated as sufficient. Adaptation therefore currently concerns only the improvement of systems that are already in place (2).

Some experts use the period of extreme drought of 2003 as a reference value, i.e. they expect an increasing frequency of similar events in future. The planning of adaptation measures is adapted accordingly. An important trend in recent years took place in technological development. The surveillance of forests by video- and infrared-techniques, as well as the increasing distribution of mobile phones facilitates detection of and warning about fires already in the early stage (2).

References

The references below are cited in full in a separate map 'References'. Please click here if you are looking for the full references for Germany.

  1. Anders et al. (2004), in: Zebisch et al. (2005)
  2. Zebisch et al. (2005)
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