Violent weather expected amid climate change

Germany can expect significantly more violent weather in the coming years due to climate change, according to a new study from the Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK) in Potsdam.

Violent weather expected amid climate change
Photo: DPA

According to the report seen by the Frankfurter Rundschau newspaper, severe storms will hit the country every ten years on average, instead of the current average of 50 years.

Storm damage will increase by more than 50 percent by 2100 and heat waves and floods will also increase in severity, according to the study, which was produced in cooperation with universities in Berlin and Cologne.

The report is especially alarming to the insurance industry because of high payouts they may have to make as severe weather increases. That means premiums are likely to rise for insurance customers.

“For a long time, Germans have seen the consequences of climate change only in foreign countries,” the head of the Association of German Insurers (GDV), Rolf-Peter Hoenen told Rundschau. “Those days are over.”

Of particular concern, said PIK researcher Friedrich-Wilhelm Gerstengarbe, are the big floods that will hit the country about two to three times more often in the coming years, he told Frankfurter Rundschau.

“It is no longer acceptable that development is still taking place in flood planes,” he said.

Europe has been hit by repeated bouts of severe weather over the last few years amid fears that global warming was stoking violent storms around the world.

Among the most severe was Kyrill, a 2007 winter storm that killed 47 people across Germany and Europe.

But much of Germany also sweltered under atypically hot temperatures of about 40 degrees Celsius (104 degrees Fahrenheit) for several days last summer.

The Local/mdm

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2022 sees record wildfire destruction in Europe: EU

Europe's blistering summer may not be over yet, but 2022 is already breaking records, with nearly 660,000 hectares ravaged since January, according to the EU's satellite monitoring service.

2022 sees record wildfire destruction in Europe: EU

And while countries on the Mediterranean have normally been the main seats of fires in Europe, this year, other countries are also suffering heavily.

Fires this year have forced people to flee their homes, destroyed buildings and burned forests in EU countries, including Austria, Croatia, France, Greece, Italy, Portugal and Spain.

Some 659,541 hectares (1.6 million acres) have been destroyed so far, data from the European Forest Fire Information System (EFFIS) showed, setting a record at this point in the year since data collection began in 2006.

Europe has suffered a series of heatwaves, forest fires and historic drought that experts say are being driven by human-induced climate change.

They warn more frequent and longer heatwaves are on the way.

The worst-affected country has been Spain, where fire has destroyed 244,924 hectares, according to EFFIS data.

The EFFIS uses satellite data from the EU’s Copernicus Atmosphere Monitoring Service (CAMS).

READ ALSO: EXPLAINED: How the climate crisis is hitting Europe hard

The data comes after CAMS said Friday that 2022 was a record year for wildfire activity in southwestern Europe and warned that a large proportion of western Europe was now in “extreme fire danger”.

“2022 is already a record year, just below 2017,” EFFIS coordinator Jesus San-Miguel said. In 2017, 420,913 hectares had burned by August 13, rising to 988,087 hectares by the end of the year.

“The situation in terms of drought and extremely high temperatures has affected all of Europe this year and the overall situation in the region is worrying, while we are still in the middle of the fire season,” he said.

Since 2010, there had been a trend towards more fires in central and northern Europe, with fires in countries that “normally do not experience fires in their territory”, he added.

“The overall fire season in the EU is really driven mainly by countries in the Mediterranean region, except in years like this one, in which fires also happen in central and northern regions,” he added.