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No Need for Sleds: Christmas Expected to Be Green, Not White

Berliner Wetterkarte at Freie Universität: Conditions in West Prevent New Cold Spell

№ 394/2015 from Dec 11, 2015

According to a forecast by the Berlin Weather Map association at Freie Universität Berlin, Christmas in Germany this year will be green. Currently winds from the west are prevailing and will only bring rain and wind, said meteorologist Petra Gebauer. Even in the low mountain ranges, snow cannot be expected for the holidays. Currently an average temperature of around five degrees Celsius is being measured throughout Germany. This is not expected to change drastically. At the beginning of the week, the low pressure zone named Werner will bring wind. Currently, there is only snow on the Great Arber in the Bavarian Forest and on the Zugspitze in the Eastern Alps. There are some remnants of snow on the Brocken in the Harz Mountains and the Fichtelberg in the Ore Mountains, as well as the Central Uplands. Gebauer stressed that it only happened once in the past, in 1956, that this type of weather condition switched and brought cold weather and snow just in time for Christmas. That year a high pressure zone over Scandinavia resulted in a dramatic change in weather on Christmas Eve, when it began to snow persistently until Boxing Day. That is unlikely to happen in 2015.

Gebauer adds that following the observations of Franz Baur (1887–1977), the pioneer of long-term forecasts, the winter in Germany should be mild overall. According to Baur, a mild winter can be expected, when in the first third, but especially, when in the first half of the month of December the temperatures are 2.5 degrees Celsius about the average normal values for this period while simultaneously the weather is dominated by low pressure zones from the west. These requirements were met in December 2015.

Meteorologists speak of a "white" Christmas when on at least two of the three holidays there is a snow cover of at least one centimeter. Since detailed weather records have been kept in Dahlem beginning in 1908, there has been snow on at least two of the Christmas holidays every four or five years. With nearly 16 degrees, December 24, 1977, was the warmest Christmas Eve ever recorded. The last snow cover over large parts of Germany at Christmas was five years ago. So at least statistically speaking, a blanket of snow could be expected again this year.

The meteorologists at Freie Universität Berlin will still be selling weather sponsorships for high and low pressure zones in Europe as Christmas presents until December 17, 2015. The proceeds are used to support teaching and research at the university, in particular the weather observations conducted by students at the Institute of Meteorology. In 2016 the low pressure zones will have female names and the high pressure zones will have male names. The prices are 299 euros for highs and 199 euros for lows, plus VAT. The weather observation series has been running for more than 100 years, making it one of the longest continuous climate documentations anywhere in the world.

More Information and Interviews regarding Weather Forecasts over the Christmas Holidays

Meteorologists on duty at the Berliner Wetterkarte e. V. at the Institute of Meteorology, Freie Universität Berlin, Tel.: +49 30 838-71212 (available seven days per week between 9 a.m. and 12 noon 14 bis 16 Uhr möglich sind); E-Mail:

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