29 January 2016 – The weather changed at the start of 2016: the high-pressure system Christine brought dry, cold air from Russia and Scandinavia to north-eastern Germany, whereas the south-west remained under the influence of mild, moist maritime air. Then, in the middle of the month, wintry weather with widespread continuous frost prevailed throughout the whole of Germany. A south-westerly airflow bringing exceptionally mild air again dominated during the last ten days of the month. As a result, January was again relatively mild, with plenty of precipitation and sunshine duration slightly above average. This is what the initial analysis by the Deutscher Wetterdienst (DWD) of data from its around 2,000 weather stations shows.
Frosty in the north and east of Germany – often very mild in the south-west
The average temperature for Germany in January was 1.2 degrees Celsius (°C), which was 1.7 degrees warmer than the figure for the international reference period 1961-1990. Looking at the comparative period 1981-2010, the deviation was + 0.8 degrees. At the start of January, a clear air mass boundary split Germany into a cold north-east and a mild south-west, causing a difference in temperature of up to 20 degrees on some days. After the middle of the month, the cold air prevailed across the whole of Germany for a few days. Temperatures over freshly fallen snow fell, causing hard frosts in some areas. Oberstdorf, for example, recorded a temperature of - 23.5 °C on 18 January. From 24 January, Germany was again under the influence of very mild air from the south-west and nature began to respond to the spring-like temperatures. The highest day temperature of 18.3 °C was recorded on 25 January in Geilenkirchen to the north of Aachen.
Widespread precipitation and the long-awaited snow, in particular in the mountainous areas
At around 82 l/m², January achieved 135 per cent of its long-term average of 61 litres per square metre (l/m²) and the precipitation was therefore similarly high as in the previous year. During the first ten days of the month, there was an air mass boundary running across Germany from the north-west to the south-east, with precipitation along this line varying between snow and rain that caused glaze ice. Celle-Wietzenbruch reported 22 cm on 6 January. Several lowpressure areas passed over Germany around the middle of the month, and it was Emma, in particular, which brought the much-desired snow to the mountains. On 19 January, the snow in Baiersbronn-Ruhestein in the Black Forest was 100 cm deep. On 23 January, rain on the frozen ground brought icy conditions and accidents to large parts of the country, with snow falling again in the east. Precipitation was particularly high in the Black Forest and, with totals of just under 300 l/m², new monthly records were set in some places.
Plenty of sunshine in the south-west – considerably less in parts of northern Germany
In Germany, the figure of about 48 hours of sunshine in total was around ten per cent above the normal 44 hours. The most sunshine was recorded on leeward sides of the Black Forest and Harz Mountains. Some places registered around 75 hours. In contrast, the Hamburg area was dull and very cloudy and some places only saw 25 hours of sunshine.