29 Jun 2021, 14:42
Edgar Meza

Eastern Germany to bear brunt of drier weather conditions in next years - researcher

Eastern Germany, including Berlin and the surrounding state of Brandenburg, will likely continue to suffer from very dry weather in the next years, according to Fred Hattermann, deputy head of the Climate Resilience Department at the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK), where he heads the Hydroclimatic Risks working group. “We see and simulate that there was already 15 to 20 percent less groundwater recharge in the 2000s than in the previous decades. That is decisive,” Hattermann told Jan Kixmüller in Der Tagesspiegel. Decadal forecasts also see a sustained trend towards warmer and drier times in many regions of Germany, particularly the eastern states, he adds. “According to long-term projections, precipitation will increase in Northern and Western Europe, while it will decrease significantly in Eastern and Southern Europe. Our region lies exactly in between. Hence, it is difficult to say where we are going.” Less rain coupled with higher temperatures is exacerbating the situation. The 15 percent decline in groundwater recharge is due to both less rain and increased evaporation resulting from higher temperatures and stronger radiation, Hattermann explains.

 The situation has led to considerations in Berlin about the possibility of importing water from other rivers, such as the Elbe, which flows south of Berlin, and the Oder to the east, to support the Spree, which flows through the German capital. “Berlin needs around eight cubic meters of inflow per second into the city so that the water can continue to flow there,” Hattermann notes. “This is already difficult today in dry seasons.” At the same time, however, the water is being used to flood the vast former lignite coal pits in the Lusatia region of eastern Germany, which are being turned into lakes. According to a recent report by the Deutscher Wetterdienst (DWD) weather service, temperatures in Germany are expected to continue climbing in the next decade.

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