Already living in a damp climate, Germans should expect a lot more precipitation and extreme weather by 2040, experts from the German Weather Service (DWD), the Federal Environment Agency (UBA), the Federal Agency for Technical Relief (THW) the Federal Office of Civil Protection and Disaster Assistance (BBK) warned this week.
“Particularly in coastal areas, the amount of (heavy rainfall and flooding) could double compared to the period between 1960 and 2000,” said Paul Becker, the vice president of the DWD.
The four agencies called a joint press conference in Berlin on Tuesday to highlight the dangers climate change could pose to Germany.
“By the year 2100 we expect torrential rains in winter, that is in the months of December, January, and February, across much of Germany,” Becker said.
The DWD defined heavy precipitation as a downpour of up to 100 litres of rain per square metre in 24 hours.
The UBA underscored the threat to Germany’s infrastructure including water supplies, energy and transportation from extreme weather.
“These findings increase pressure to do something to counteract the unavoidable impact from climate change,” said Jochen Flasbarth, head of the UBA. “Protecting our climate should be priority number one.”
Volker Strotmann of the THW said disaster relief agencies were already seeing a surge in incidents related to the changing weather. THW put in twice as many man hours in 2010 compared to 2009.
However, Christoph Unger, president of the BBK, said due to Germany’s demographic decline, fewer volunteers would be available to cope in the event of a natural disaster.
“If we want to keep our current high level of civil protection measures in Germany, we’ll have to spot changing threats and react beforehand,” Unger said.