Even if you only look at the data from Bavaria, a similar picture emerges. Winter in Bavaria lasts an average of ten days longer than winter in Germany as a whole. But according to DWD, it’s also been over six degrees warm here after Christmas. This is why hazelnut bushes in large parts of the Free State begin flowering so early.
Late frosts cause more problems for plants
The long warm period around New Year’s Eve was particularly unusual this year. In many places, says Mühlbacher, there were extreme temperatures that DWD had never measured. “Usually in meteorology we talk about mild winters, but 20 degrees is warm for me.”
And now the temperatures are below zero again. For some animals, the ups and downs are a problem. Hedgehogs, for example, begin to form their own organism, but then have to find their way back into hibernation. This drains your energy reserves and makes you more susceptible to disease.
Plants stop growing when it gets cold again. However, if they have already sprouted too far in warm weather, a frost later is a problem, says meteorologist Mühlbacher: “The damage is greater than if the plants had sprouted later.”
Muhlbacher predicts that temperatures will continue to fluctuate in the winters going forward. There will still be very cold days. But she says the level at which volatility is hovering has increased. The temperature in Bavaria last December was two degrees higher than the long-term average. In general, it is getting warmer.
In addition to the disturbed natural rhythm, this will have more consequences. Studies showthat even in the Alps there is less and less snow – and over a shorter period of time.
Risk of flooding earlier in the year
Allergy sufferers can also experience problems with climate change earlier in the year. The Department for Social Development has already issued warnings about pollen, says Mulbacher. This is so amazing this year. But maybe it will soon be the new normal.
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