April 28, 2017 – Snowfall

End of April: It is shortly before “Beltane” – the day where the summer is introduced – but in Southern Germany it looks like Middle of January. Even the days are already long, there is a grey twilight all the day. Its snowing and raining for days, temperature always close to zero. In the Black Forest the mass of snow became already a problem since this snow is very wet and heavy. Branches of trees were falling down. And in the Allgau (Bavaria) there are 30 centimetres of snow in some places. East-Switzerland experiences a mass of snow. The weather conditions are a big problem for traffic. A lot of accidents happened. Some drivers didn’t expect these kind of conditions late April. It is the first time that there is a closed sheet of snow in Bavaria since April 1989. This weather pattern, however, is not an anomly. Even this is not so typical winter can often last til May in Europe. In the mountains there is still snow most of the years. What’s getting amazing and perhaps a new trend due to climate change is the strong contrast between high and cold temperatures in a short time span. The current situation causes the biggest problem for the farmers. The late frost created huge damage in the orchards. Fruit trees are in full blossom because of the sunshine and warm temperatures in the first week of April and couldn’t stand the cold temperatures later. Its nearly impossible to protect orchard trees, particularly huge fields of fruit trees. There is also a problem for vineyards and gardens now. April is always a big risk for agriculture because it is unpredictable. Anything is possible. There had already been years with heat, drought and winter days like this year. What is really remarkable is the amount of rain and snow which is coming down now for days. It looks like the low-pressure system isn’t moving. However it is not a dangerous situation like the so-called 5B-pattern in Middle Europe when humid air from the Mediterranian is pressing against the North and leaving devastation floods. In April there are normally often showers of sleet, which is the so-called “April Weather”. Often then there is a quick change between sunshine and rain. For photographers April is usually a good time to take pictures of rainbows. This year, these days with its grey skies don’t look like something which is worth to take some pictures. However even such a late winter day can create a special mood. The pictures were taken at lake Ammersee, Upper Bavaria.

April is always a month of extremes in temperatures from very cold days til hot days. The record is a day with over 30C in Brandenburg, Germany. It’s normal that the weather is not stable. The meteorological explanation is that is is already very warm in Southern-Europe and Northern Africa and on the other side the sun is lower in the North; the sea is still very cold. Therefore there is a struggle between cold air and warm air. The good news is that summer wins the battle – for some months.

The Oldest Mountain Weather Observatory Of The World And A Weather Trail

60 kilometres south-west of Bavarian’s capital Munich is not only one of the oldest observatories  but also one of the most important high-tech weather stations of our days. The Hohen Peissenberg is a nearly 1000 metres high mountain with a spectacular view. The mountain is situated in front of the Alps and many peaks could be seen from there. Furthermore there is a great view of the alpine upland with its lakes. On top of the mountain is the oldest mountain weather observatory of the world. There is a regular observation of temperature and other meteorological data continously since 1781. And long before this activity the monks of the monastery on Hohen Peissenberg began with scientifically measurements. Hohen Peissenberg is also a spiritual centre with a long tradition. The history of this observatory became very important in our days with an ongoing climate change: Unlike other old observatories Hohen Peissenbergs measurements of temperature weren’t compromised by modern civilisation. In Prag for example the growing city led to warmer temperatures. Here, in the clear and thin mountain air, there are no disturbing factors like urban heat islands. The measurements are a disconcerting proof and demonstration of ongoing climate change. There is no doubt that temperatures have risen over the last 100 years with records over the last 10 years. The obversatory’s measurements are also given proof to a significant change in weather patterns like heavy rain on one side and more dry periods on the other side. Today the observatory hosts the most modern technological research with top-notch equipment. An important field of research is the science of the atmosphere. For exampe ozone-concentratins are measured and other weather or atmospheric related phenomena. The observatory can do research about certain chemicals in the atmosphere and many other importants fields of current research. Its data are highly valued and are in use for the weather forecast. The observatory is affiliated with the German Weather Service (DWD). The area of the obvervatory is not open for the public but there are special guided tours and even more there is a big attraction for any visitor of the Hohen Peissenberg: there is a weather trail in the midst of the lovely landscape with woods and green meadows. Surrounding the peak of the mountain and the observatory there is a walkway with information tables. The information tables are particularly of interest for anybody who is interested in a good introduction to weather phenomena and meteorology. There is also an information center at the entrance of the observatory which gives you more information about the observatory. The weather trail can be combined with longer hiking tours from the train stations in Hohen Peissenberg and Peissenberg. You can also go to the top of the mountain by car. There is a huge parking space and a big restaurant. Furthermore there is an old church of interest.

Its a great place for weather-watching and learning about meteorology and a place which is easily accessible. Hohen Peissenberg is also close to the well known tourist area “Pfaffenwinkel”.