This October feels more like August in many parts of Germany: up to 26 degrees were measured in Rosenheim on Sunday. It could get even hotter on Monday afternoon. Up to 27 degrees are possible on the Upper Rhine, and it could be similarly warm in the regions around Magdeburg and Leipzig.
It is clear that it is unusually mild for mid-October, and the German Weather Service expects that regional records could fall for this period. In principle, however, individual days with more than 20 degrees in October are nothing unusual. Last year, 27.5 degrees were measured in Munich on German Unity Day. And in Rosenheim four years ago, in mid-October, 28 degrees were still reached. The warm temperatures are currently mainly due to warm sea air flowing in from the south. “Such warm spells are not unusual in the transitional season like October,” says Lothar Bock from the Munich Regional Climate Office of the German Weather Service (DWD). The reason is that very warm air can still flow in from the southwest or much cooler air can flow in from the north. “Which air mass is dominant then depends on the specific general weather situation,” says Bock.
However, average temperatures are also increasing over the long term, a clear consequence of climate change. While the average temperature in October between 1961 and 1990 was 9.0 degrees, in the following 30-year period between 1991 and 2020 it was already 9.4 degrees.
The weather in early autumn does not play a major role in gas consumption
Will the mild temperatures slow down gas consumption and defuse the energy crisis? Probably only to a very limited extent. According to the Federal Network Agency gas is currently being stored, but at a low level with a recent increase of 0.17 percentage points per day. This has less to do with the current weather situation and more to do with the fact that the gas storage tanks are already very well filled at 95.14 percent and storage tanks with a high filling level can be filled more slowly. In addition, experience has shown that gas consumption in households only increases sharply in the second week of November, because that is when a particularly large number of people turn on the heating. A comparison between September 2022 and September of the previous year also shows that the temperatures in early autumn do not yet play such a major role in gas consumption. It was noticeably colder this year than in September 2021, but household consumption was still below the previous year’s level, which may also have something to do with deliberate savings.
By far the most gas is consumed in the months of December, January and February. Winter will therefore be decisive for how quickly the gas storage tanks will be emptied. Whether this will be particularly warm or cold, nobody can say for sure at the moment.
What is certain is that the winters have recently become warmer and warmer. According to the DWD, the average temperature of the past ten winters was 2.2 degrees Celsius above the average from 1961 to 1990. In addition, the number of frost days has been falling at all weather stations over the long term. These are days when the temperature drops below freezing. In Frankfurt, for example, this was the case between 1961 and 1990 an average of 55 times a year, between 1991 and 2020 only 44 times. The first frost of the year is also shifting further and further back in the course of the year. In Munich, the first frost occurs on average on November 6th, about a week later than between 1961 and 1990. These changes are a noticeable expression of the global warming. However, that does not mean that freezing winters are no longer possible.
Even if it’s still like looking into a crystal ball at the moment: The European climate change service Copernicus in its most recent seasonal forecast, considers such a cold winter in Europe to be at least unlikely this year. The probability that large parts of Central Europe, the Mediterranean region and Great Britain will have above-average temperatures between December and February is therefore 50 to 60 percent.
With the current summer temperatures, however, it should soon be over. Already on Monday there should be widespread thunderstorms and rainfall in the northwestern half of Germany. Showers and thunderstorms are expected in the south from Tuesday.