Germany Germany Germany Germany

Previously in ClimateChangePost


Water temperature of the River Rhine is rising. It has been rising by over 2 °C in summer since 1978, and will continue to do so as a response to climate change.

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 ...


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


Avalanches and landslides


Climate change scenarios

Climate change impacts and vulnerabilities

Coastal areas

Cultural-historical heritage

Droughts and water scarcity



Forest fires


Fresh water resources



Insurance and Business

Land use

Mitigation / adaptation integrated policy

Mitigation / adaptation options and costs

Security and Crisis management


Transport, Infrastructure and Building

Urban areas

Viniculture Germany

Benefits of climate change

Global warming may also result in a shift in the distribution of grape cultivation, meaning that wine production might become profitable in regions formerly unsuitable or marginal for wine-growing (7). Most wine-producing regions in Western and Central Europe have benefitted from increasing temperatures, but the impact of global warming obviously varies according to the type of wine produced and the geographical location (8). Areas that may be suitable for viniculture will increase especially in northern Germany, Denmark and southern England (2). In fact, the area that is being used for viniculture in southern England has already increased by 250% between 1985 and 2000 (3). It is to be expected that higher temperatures and CO2-concentrations will benefit viniculture in Germany (1,4). In southern Germany more and more wines are already being produced that used to be produced further to the south only (1).

Amongst others the vegetative period lengthens when temperatures, especially spring temperatures are increasing. Clear changes in the dates of phenological vine stages are observable in Europe (5). In Alsace, budburst and flowering events occurred about two weeks earlier in 2003 compared to 1965. The period between flowering and change of colour of the berries (véraison) shrunk by 8 days and the véraison date occurred almost 23 days earlier (6). In Murg (Switzerland), the flowering event advanced to earlier dates by 22.1 days in 47 years (7).

Previous studies predict a large potential increase in value of the vineyards at the Moselle river (8). Analyses of climate and phenological observations of white vine cultivars in the Upper Moselle region (Luxembourg and Germany) over the period 1951–2005 showed that vine phenology events, such as budburst and flowering, receed by about 2 days/decade. Budburst date and flowering events now occur earlier by about two weeks with respect to 1951 (4). 

Due to changed climatic conditions during 1971–2010 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, even for varieties that are demanding in terms of accumulated heat (10). 


Lower Franconia

One of Germany’s historical wine-producing regions is that of Lower Franconia in the federal state of Bavaria. The vineyards are located along the Main River, which has the effect of moderating temperature, while the steep hills receive maximum heat and light exposure which enhances ripening (Jackson 2000). The cool conditions require the use of adapted grapevines (Vitis vinifera L.), which include frost resistant, late budding and early maturing cultivars. Grape cultivars most commonly planted are Müller-Thurgau, Riesling and Silvaner (5).

From a long-term (1949 to 2010) data set of vineyard observations in Lower Franconia, trends were shown of earlier phenological events, a shortening of phase intervals and increases in sugar content over the recording periods (5). These trends conform, in general, to results of other long term studies (6,9).

The observed warmer seasons during 1949 to 2010 have resulted in greater ripening potential for Müller-Thurgau, Riesling and Silvaner grapes. As a consequence, the sugar content increased while the acid component remains constant, resulting in a changed grape composition that has the potential to alter wine typicity and quality. Given that climate is projected to change even further in the future, these impacts are expected to continue and to become stronger. Thus, in the long term, the balanced ratio of sugar and acid content will shift in favour of the sugar component and may result in a loss of the traditional character of white wine produced in Franconia (5).

Under global warming, temperature will not be such a limiting factor for wine-growing in Franconia and therefore vineyards could expand to other, formerly unsuitable, sites. Increasing dryness in summer, intensified by higher temperatures and greater evaporation might lead to water supply becoming an occasional limiting factor. Warmer climatic conditions also favour the spread of grapevine pests and pathogens (5).


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. Stock et al. (2004)
  2. Harrison and Butterfield (1999); IPCC (2001), both in: Stock et al. (2004)
  3. Palutikof (2000), in: Stock et al. (2004)
  4. Neumann and Matzarakis (2011)
  5. Bock et al. (2011)
  6. Jones and Davis (2000); Duchêne and Schneider (2005); Webb et al. (2007), (2011); de Orduna (2010), all in: Bock et al. (2011)
  7. Lisek (2008), in: Bock et al. (2011)
  8. Webb et al. (2007); Duchêne et al. (2010); Hall and Jones (2010), all in: Bock et al. (2011)
  9. Neethling et al. (2012)
  10. Kryza et al. (2015)