A Very Strange Year In Weather History, July 22, 2018

Today is July 22, 2018, and this morning was the first time for months that light rain has fallen for a longer time. In my place and in middle Europe this is usually a most common weather pattern. Or it has been for a long time. Probably 2018 will be seen in history with a record of new weather anomalies.

A normal rainy day is nearly an extraordinary event this year. When it comes to rain it is often extreme and short lived.

The most impressing phenomenon is that weather anomalies seem to happen not only in Europe but on a global scale. There are heatwaves, droughts, bushfires in many unusual places like Northern Europe. In Sweden, a huge bushfire couldn’t be kept any longer under control.

In Germany, there was very little rainfall since April. This is the most unusual part. There weren’t so far any extreme heatwaves but a strong aberration from the usual. Sun was shining most of the time. Temperatures are continually too hot.

It seems that the climate is really changing now at a higher level. In some areas in Germany but also in England there are dramatic consequences. The lack of rain is destroying the harvest. The sunny summer has become a nightmare.

Probably there are many aspects of modern life affected and authorities are well advised to be concerned and to be aware of these changes in nature. Even if things turn back to normal for a while the overall tendency shows a huge change in our seasons and the meteorological conditions.

German newspaper “Tagesspiegel” published recently an excellently researched article about the earth becoming too hot everywhere and the article informs about the meteorological explanation responsible for these anomalies.

Basically, currents in the atmosphere have been slowing down and there isn’t enough movement. High-pressure systems keep their position over months. Therefore the air can heat up. In Europe, the usual low-pressure systems coming from the Atlantic are failing to reach the continent.

The scary thing about this phenomenon is that we see this happen for some time. A lack of movement in the atmosphere was also identified as the reason for extreme weather in the UK when monster-waves hit the shores for a longer time.

This is something which seems to be related to the predicted climate change but my impression is that physics of the atmosphere is not understood so far. We don’t really know why this is happening (I do not know if the scientists would agree, but we had a couple of surprises over the last years).

These anomalies in the weather need adaption strategies. In Southern-Germany, Berlin, Mecklenburg Vorpommern there had been flashflood-events (very strong rain with flooding). This is the other side of the long lasting dry periods. They were caused by showers and thunderstorms.

Shower Clouds in Bavaria. For some day there was at least rain for some minutes in Southern Germany
Shower Clouds In Bavaria. During some days it rained always for some time in the afternoon.

Showers and thunderstorms can’t outweigh the effects of the drought. Except in areas close to the alps, there were many showers over several days. Here it was much better but also not anywhere. There are also areas in Southern-Germany where it is too dry.

The alpine region benefited from the special conditions in the mountains with some rain

The anomaly could also be experienced in areas where thunderstorms and showers were more often. It was kind of a timelapse-spring and things seemed growing too fast. It is also for many people a problem if the weather is far from the inner rhythm and own experience.

This is certainly an area which needs attention from researchers and authorities: we know definitely that high temperatures cause much more traffic accidents. Also, criminal behavior is affected by weather. But we know very little how our working capabilities suffer from disturbing experiences. One effect seems to be that people getting tired and easily exhausted. There might be also health risks not only related to sudden heatwaves but also with longer periods of weather which is not normal compared to the usual weather pattern in a given season or a certain month.

Many weather forecasters are already aware of the situation that this is not a great summer and that “rain and clouds are not a bad thing” but it is strange that some public voices still seem to have no idea what’s going on.

A higher awareness of the situation could not only save lives if we see further extreme weather but create a preparedness which is needed in the given situation: farmers need our help in restructuring, many institutions like nursery homes urgently need conditioners. A situation like 2003 – the first year with a long lasting extreme heatwave – when in Europe thousands of elderly or sick people died is not acceptable for a civilized society. Thus we need understanding and a better sense of the seriousness of the situation.

Do we really know what’s going on in our atmosphere?