Winds of change: German weather systems to be given more diverse names

Winds of change: German weather systems to be given more diverse names
A man takes a walk amid 'Weather Front Ahmed' in Filderstadt, Baden-Württemberg. Photo: DPA
Germans will soon see names like Bozena, Chana and Erhan on weather maps as part of a drive to raise awareness of a lack of representation in the media.

A new German campaign by a media group raising awareness of the country's diversity on Tuesday brought snow front Ahmet sweeping in.

Each year, Germany gives names to its high- and low-pressure weather systems, with the names published in forecasts and widely circulated in the media.

Instead of conventionally German names like Dirk, Helge and Rolf — all featured in 2020 — this year's weather systems will be given names more typical of migrant backgrounds thanks to a campaign by New German Media Makers, which gathers journalists from underrepresented backgrounds.

The organisation sponsored the names of 14 weather fronts for 2021, including names from Arabic, Kurdish and Slavic communities, aiming to reflect Germany's diversity and argue for greater representation in the media.

“The weather highs and lows almost always only have names like Gisela and Helmut,” New German Media Makers said. “Time for that to change.”

The organisation bought the names — €250 for low-pressure areas, and €350 for high-pressure systems, which tend to last longer — using private donations, it said.

“Making the weather more diverse is just a symbolic step,” said chairman Ferda Ataman. “It is important that social diversity finally becomes normal, everywhere.”


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