• Germany's news in English

Storms 'getting stronger' due to warmer ground

The Local · 1 Aug 2012, 08:11

Published: 01 Aug 2012 08:11 GMT+02:00

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

Up to a million bolts of lightning hit European soil each day – every single one of which are tracked and measured by storm monitoring company Nowcast.

Although the numbers have remained constant, their increased strength makes it feel as if there are more storms, said Nowcast head Hans-Dieter Betz.

“It might seem like there has been more lightning than usual this year,” he said. But storms have actually been stronger, he explained. Wild weather phenomena like hail often accompany what would have been a “calmer” storm in the past.

“For that reason it seems like there are more electrical storms, especially in southern Germany,” said Betz.

The reason behind this, Michael Kunz from the Karlsruhe institute for meteorology and climate research explained, was because the ground temperature has risen. This causes rising damp air, which, said Kunz, “is exactly the kind of energy that storm clouds devour. This increases the potential for a storm.”

South-western Germany has particularly seen warmer ground temperatures this year.

Nowcast provides its clients, including Munich airport, the army and the German weather service (DWD), with accurate information about where and how quickly storm clouds are travelling.

When lightning strikes it emits radio waves which are collected by the company's sensors, allowing the team handling the data to pinpoint a storm to within 100 metres. This is, Betz said, especially handy for airports.

But lightning is not just a risk for aeroplanes and people wandering in large open spaces, normal households are also seeing an increase in how much damage it can do.

The average cost of damage done by lightning annually has risen by 25 percent over the past five years and now stands at around €500,000. If a family home gets hit, they normally have to reckon with an €800 repair bill, according to statistics from the German association of insurers (GDV).

As for the rest of this summer, the DWD has forecast that while it will remain warm it could also be uncomfortably humid – meaning a hearty dose of storms for the whole country.

Story continues below…

Betz, despite making his living from lightning, was not enthusiastic about this, saying that “there are enough storms already, so I'm emotionless.”

DAPD/The Local/jcw

The Local (news@thelocal.de)

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

Your comments about this article

10:36 August 1, 2012 by grazhdanin
The politicians should finally do something about it.
11:50 August 1, 2012 by Ozichick
Too many people on one small planet. Is it time to control the explosion of births in developing and third-world countries? Are there any politicians who will have the guts to address this issue? On the other hand, could it be the natural changing cycle of mother nature's seasons? I think that politicians have already tried to fix this natural phenomenon by taxing people for the air they breathe, futilely I think!
14:49 August 1, 2012 by zeddriver
What a minute. Since 2000 the annual mean air temps have not gone up. So now the scientist's are telling us that OPPS! We REALLY meant was. That the actual globe not the air around it is warming. Of course this will require the average citizen to have to pay more for studying the sky is falling disaster de jour. Warning to those with lava and a volcano in your yard. You will be required to pay an excess ground heat tax.

As I recall. This past winter although dry was colder and longer than normal. The spring season was wet and cold. Same thing this summer. Wet and cooler than normal.
16:55 August 1, 2012 by neunElf
You are correct zeddriver!

There is a huge Global Warming Industry that relies on predictions of impending catastrophe in order to secure more funds from the ignorant citizens and their pandering politicians!
18:24 August 1, 2012 by catjones
neunElf...you are correct. This just in from the Maldives: the sea is not rising; the islands are sinking.
19:27 August 1, 2012 by The-ex-pat
@ grazhdanin

They will. As usual a tax rise will cure everything in Germany.............
11:38 August 8, 2012 by Acushla
Global Warming aka Climate Change is not man made. It is the SUN. In the years ahead the SUN will be burning searing HOT. We can prepare for it but not while the GW alarmists are telling us it is man made.
Today's headlines
Germans think they're fit, but they're really couch potatoes
Photo: DPA.

There's been an increase in the number of Germans who define themselves as "fit", but their lifestyle choices don't quite match this self-perception.

10 fascinating facts you never knew about German beer
Tennis coach Boris Becker and his wife Lilly at Oktoberfest 2016 in Munich. Photo: DPA

From malt and monks to Radlers and rivalries, the story of German beer is as rich and wonderful as its selection.

Intensive farming 'endangers a third of German species'
Photo: DPA

There are 32,000 species of animal, plant and mushroom life native to Germany. Due to intensive farming methods, one in every three of these is endangered, a new report shows.

German hospital uses therapy to 'treat' paedophiles
A poster from the campaigne "Don't offend", which offers therapy to paedophiles. The sign reads "Do you love kids more than you'd prefer? There's help." Photo: DB Scholz & Friends / DPA.

A unique German initiative is offering therapy to paedophiles to control their urges, with the aim of getting them help before they offend.

Minister: 'no tolerance' for clowns after chainsaw attack
Photo: DPA

Interior Minister Thomas de Maizière has called for a zero-tolerance approach to 'killer clowns' after a series of attacks culminating in two teenagers being chased by a clown wielding a chainsaw.

Baby who was auctioned on eBay taken away from father
Photo: DPA.

A German court ruled on Thursday that a man who put his one-month-old baby up for sale on the online auction platform eBay should only be allowed contact with the child under supervision.

Portugal's ruling party calls German minister 'pyromaniac'
Finance Minister Wolfgang Schäuble. Photo: DPA.

The head of Portugal's ruling Socialists called German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schäuble a "pyromaniac" on Thursday after he criticized Lisbon for reversing course on austerity.

These are Germany's top ten universities
The new library of Freiburg University. Photo: Jörgens.mi / Wikimedia Commons

These are the best universities in all of Germany - at least according to one ranking.

Introducing Swabians - 'the Scots of Germany'
Photo: DPA

These Southern Germans have quite a reputation in the rest of the country.

Woman sues dentist over job rejection for headscarf
Photo: DPA

A dentist in Stuttgart is being taken to court by a woman whom he rejected for a job as his assistant on the basis that she wears a Muslim headscarf.

10 German clichés that foreigners get very wrong
Sponsored Article
Last chance to vote absentee in the US elections
10 ways German completely messes up your English
Germany's 10 most weird and wonderful landmarks
10 things you never knew about socialist East Germany
How Germans fell in love with America's favourite squash
How I ditched London for Berlin and became a published author
12 clever German idioms that'll make you sound like a pro
23 fascinating facts you never knew about Berlin
9 unmissable events to check out in Germany this October
10 things you never knew about German reunification
10 things you're sure to notice after an Oktoberfest visit
Germany's 10 most Instagram-able places
15 pics that prove Germany is absolutely enchanting in autumn
10 German films you have to watch before you die
6 things about Munich that’ll stay with you forever
10 pieces of German slang you'll never learn in class
Ouch! Naked swimmer hospitalized after angler hooks his penis
Six reasons why Berlin is now known as 'the failed city'
15 tell-tale signs you’ll never quite master German
7 American habits that make Germans very, very uncomfortable
Story of a fugitive cow who outwitted police for weeks before capture
jobs available
Toytown Germany
Germany's English-speaking crowd