Expected annual temperature increase by the end of the century (scenario A1B)
What specific effects does climate change have on water sports enthusiasts on the German North and Baltic Seas? Do sailors in this country have to fear giant waves and hurricanes in the future? Can climate change be stopped at all, and if so, how? Leading climate researchers, politicians and decision-makers from business and administration discussed these and other questions at a specialist conference in Hamburg on Monday.
The conference, organized by the Federal Ministry of Education and Research, had the motto "Global Climate Change and Regional Effects in Northern Germany."
According to Professor Jochem Marotzke from the Max Planck Institute for Meteorology in Hamburg, the global sea level will rise by an average of around 30 percent by the end of this century. This increase can vary greatly from region to region. The climate researcher predicts an increase of around 60 percent especially for the North Sea.
The research of Hamburg professor Detlef Stammer continues. He has found that the frequency of storm surges and floods increases in parallel with rising sea levels.
The director of the Society for Nuclear Energy Utilization in Shipbuilding and Shipping mbH at the Geesthacht Research Center, Professor Hans von Storch, is nevertheless of the opinion that the consequences for northern Germany will remain manageable - as long as there is not a surprising rise in sea level, which the climate researchers have not yet included in their studies can.
Von Storch is more of the opinion that it is not the sea but the storms that will develop into the central risk in the north. According to his calculations, the wind will increase in strength by a considerable ten percent by the end of the century compared to today. However, the director of the Geesthacht research center considers the current and planned protective measures on the German coasts to be sufficient until 2030. "After that, the situation has to be reassessed by coastal engineers," explains Storch.
Expected development of the amount of precipitation during the summer months up to the end of the century (scenario A1B)
In order to react appropriately to the climatic changes, Professor Dennis Snower from the Kiel Institute for the World Economy advocates measures such as dike heightening and the development of a better extreme weather forecast, above all, for a change in the tourism infrastructure: “We have to get Mediterranean conditions in northern Germany, possibly also adjust the tourism sector accordingly,”explains the scientist.
Professor Mojib Latif from the Leibniz Institute for Marine Sciences at the University of Kiel cannot share the general panic, which is currently being strongly encouraged by the media: “In order to be able to achieve the EU's goal and allow a maximum global warming of 2 degrees Celsius, we have to reduce our CO2 emissions by 80 percent by 2100. Of course that's a lot. But that doesn't mean that we have to change everything overnight. We should act carefully and gradually switch to renewable energies."