22 Mar 2023, 13:28
Sören Amelang

Meteorological service calculates risk of extreme rain for every location in Germany

Clean Energy Wire

Following the increase in severe flooding events in Germany over the past years, the country’s weather service DWD has improved its ability to forecast such events. “Thanks to new observation data and the linking of information from ground stations and weather radar, the DWD can now calculate the risk of heavy rainfall for every location in Germany,” said Tobias Fuchs, the service’s chief climate and environment officer. Heavy and continuous rainfall is already one of the most damaging weather phenomena in Germany, and the risks will continue to increase as global warming continues, DWD said. The service also integrated demographic and geographical information into its calculations to allow better disaster prevention.

The new precipitation models will also benefit water management, civil engineers and urban planners because they provide key information for the dimensioning of sewer networks, sewage treatment plants, pumping stations or retention basins, DWD said. Utility association BDEW said the consequences of climate change pose great challenges for water management. “In addition to more frequent heavy rainfall events, we will also have to deal with longer periods of drought in the future,” the lobby group’s water and sewage director Martin Weyand said. He added that Germany’s drinking water infrastructure must be adapted and strengthened in some regions to cope with the new challenges. “With a strong increase in demand for drinking water on hot summer days, this infrastructure is reaching its limits in some places.”

Last year was the sunniest and among the warmest in Germany, according to the National Meteorological Service (DWD). With an average annual temperature of 10.5 degrees Celsius, 2022 tied with 2018 for the warmest year on record in Germany since records began in 1881. The year was also marked by a significant lack of precipitation. At the same time, floods have increased in recent years. In 2021, extreme rain caused the otherwise sluggishly flowing rivers in the southwest of Germany to overflow, killing more than 130 people in one of the worst natural disasters in the country’s post-war history.

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Sören Amelang

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