In one day, in many parts of North Rhine-Westphalia and Rhineland-Palatinate, the rain fell three times more than in a whole month. (picture alliance / TNN / Gianni Gattus)
Weather forecasting can save lives during heavy rainfall. Meteorologist and ARD weather presenter Sven Plöger on heavy rains as a weather phenomenon, climate change and important information for owners and campers.
Given the severe storms in Germany, the question arises as to whether and how such amounts of water can be predicted at an early stage. “Basically, such extreme amounts of precipitation are always difficult,” explains ARD meteorologist and weather presenter Sven Plöger. These have repeatedly posed challenges to science. However, he himself has been able to make accurate model-based predictions over the past few days.
As a farmer, unlike the layman, you can imagine something under water amounts of 200 liters per square meter and know that this is an extreme value, according to Plöger. This is three times the amount of rain that otherwise falls throughout the month of July: “and that in 24 hours”. In his weather forecast, Plöger had recently included additional information for campers and highlighted the danger of camping near rivers. It is also important to remember that people should no longer stay in basements because the doors could not be opened quickly when the water was flooded, the meteorologist points out.
The ups and downs slow down
Regarding the link between climate change and heavy rains, Plöger says the ups and downs are slowing down. “We have now had the situation that the same area of low pressure has been circling over Germany for days.” This produced great amounts of rain: “They were pushed across the country over and over again.” At the same time, there has been a huge area of high pressure east of Finland to west of Russia for weeks. The consequences are very high temperatures and severe drought.
The whole development is linked to the decline of arctic ice and global warming, according to Plöger. “Because it has gotten so hot in the far north, the temperature differences between the equator and the pole – nature always wants to compensate for that – have become smaller.” This is why the jet stream also weakened. Since he drives the ups and downs, those would now be slower. Science has been tackling this phenomenon for over 30 years and has reported it.