Eleventh warm year in a row – heavy rain characterizes the weather year 2021

Even without new temperature records, it was too warm in 2021 – making it the eleventh year in a row that is too warm. With an average temperature of 9.1 degrees, the year was 0.9 degrees above the value of the internationally valid reference period 1961 to 1990, reported the German Weather Service (DWD) in its annual report.

Overall, 2021 was a rather average weather year, according to the DWD after the preliminary evaluation of the values ​​from around 2000 measuring stations. The overall balance: The year 2021 was on average wet, slightly too sunny and too warm. But that relates to the statistical averages. The balance is ambivalent – especially with regard to the extreme weather events, above all the flood disaster in July after extensive heavy rain.

“Fortunately, there were no new temperature records in Germany and there was sufficient rainfall for almost all of Germany. Our forests in particular were able to recover a little from the drought of the previous three years,” said DWD climate director Tobias Fuchs. “At the same time, 2021 was also the year of the worst flood disaster in decades – triggered by extensive continuous rain and heavy precipitation.”

Fuchs warned: “We know that climate change has already contributed to this. This shows that we are experiencing the consequences of climate change live. Extreme weather conditions can affect each of us. Those who protect the climate protect themselves.”

The huge consequences of the flood disaster, in which 134 people died in the Rhineland-Palatinate Ahr Valley alone, pushed other weather characteristics of the year into the background. There were other anomalies.

In February there were heavy snowfalls and extreme frosts in central Germany. On the morning of February 10, in Mühlhausen, 40 kilometers northwest of Erfurt, not only was a new station record measured at minus 26.7 degrees, but also the lowest annual value in Germany in 2021.

A short “early summer” at the end of March was followed by the coldest April in 40 years. June went down as the third warmest in German weather history. On June 19, Berlin-Tempelhof and the Baruth station, which is about 50 km south, reported the Germany-wide high of 36.6 degrees in 2021.

After farmers, gardeners and foresters had made drought difficult in previous years, around 805 liters per square meter fell in 2021. That corresponds roughly to the mean value of the reference period, it said.

The regional and seasonal distribution was then very different. While over the course of the year more than 2000 liters of precipitation per square meter fell in the Alps and in the southern Black Forest, it remained the driest east of the Harz with less than 500 liters of precipitation per square meter.

The summer of 2021 was marked by heavy rain – not only on the Ahr and in the Eifel. Record rainfall was also recorded in the Uckermark at the end of June. On June 30th, 198.7 liters per square meter rained down from the sky in Ludwigsburg – the highest daily total in 2021. In July, almost 40 percent more precipitation fell nationwide than the average for the reference period 1961 to 1990. Compared to the period 1991 to 2020, the plus was always still at almost 25 percent.

The low “Bernd” first caused heavy rain in many places, then with extensive heavy rain for catastrophic consequences. On July 14th, the rain between the Cologne Bay and the Eifel became so intense that it went down in meteorological history books as the “rain of the century”. Over 100 liters per square meter fell within 24 hours during the storm. The highest daily precipitation was measured at the DWD station Wipperfürth-Gardeweg with 162.4 liters per square meter.

Since 2001, the DWD has recorded heavy rain in its balance sheet as a separate category. The year 2021 has the second most heavy rain events since this period. Only in 2018 did it happen more often.

The sun was still in abundance at times: At 1650 hours, the sunshine duration exceeded its annual target of 1544 hours by around seven percent. In the south and south-west the sun came out particularly frequently. Locally there were even more than 2000 hours of sunshine in southern Bavaria. In some low mountain regions, however, the duration of sunshine was 700 hours lower.


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