The Never-Ending Summer Is Germany’s Heat Wave a Preview of the Future?
Germany is currently experiencing a state of meteorological emergency. Although many are enjoying the scorching summer, the heat wave has left others with health problems and also led to a drought. Is this a preview of how climate change may soon change our lives?
By DER SPIEGEL Staff
Photo Gallery: Germany’s Meteorological Emergency Photos
August 07, 2018 11:39 AM
It’s early August in Germany, and the country is worried, cantankerous and uncharacteristically sluggish.
The country’s recent dramatic heatwave has seen the water authority in Chemnitz impose a ban on pumping water out of ponds or other urban waters, with the Chemnitz River only 25 centimeters deep in some places. Those caught taking water can be slapped with fines of up to 50,000 euros.
In Gotteszell in Bavaria, a regional railway line had to be shut down because the tracks warped in the heat.
And in the city of Bochum, beer brewer Moritz Fiege had to appeal to customers to return their used bottles because he had run out of bottles and crates.
Meanwhile, at the Berlin Zoo, zookeepers are freezing fish, apples and carrots, so they can provide polar bears with chilled food. And in Hamburg, the Hagenbecks Tierpark zoo has installed lawn sprinklers for its alpacas.
Germany in the summer of 2018, feels a bit like a country under a hair dryer. A golden, shimmering summer, as disturbing and strange as it is enjoyable. The sun has been beating down relentlessly and has caused a drought. So, what is this? Is it finally a summer worthy of the name or are we already in the middle of climate change? Is this what the future is going to feel like?
In the city of Kassel, two of the three lanes on the A7 motorway had to be closed because the material began melting in the asphalt joints. In Achim near Bremen, burglars stole ice cream worth 170 euros from a delivery service’s freezer. In Hamburg, some indoor swimming pools have been closed so that the staff can be deployed at outdoor swimming pools.
Some are celebrating. The Association of the German Confectionery Industry (BDSI) notes that ice cream sales are up 11 percent over the previous year. As are brewers and operators of solar power plants, which are periodically producing more electricity than 20 nuclear power plants.
Many Questions, But Few Answers
A whole country is decelerating into an almost Mediterranean atmosphere. Much that was important has receded into the background, and people seem mostly interested in weather news, weather tips and weather experts. There are many questions, but surprisingly few answers. The summer is so big and our knowledge about the climate still so limited.