Offenbach, 30 March 2017 – The weather patterns during March frequently alternated between high pressure and low pressure influence. Spring-like and even summery temperatures often prevailed – not least because of the longer daylight hours. This produced the warmest March since regular measurements were started in 1881. As Prof. Gerhard Adrian, President of the Deutscher Wetterdienst (DWD), confirms: “The figures for this month are therefore in line with our expected trend of climate change in Germany.” Total precipitation was average, but the number of sunshine hours was higher than average. This is what the initial analysis by the Deutscher Wetterdienst (DWD) of data from its around 2000 weather stations shows.
Many new temperature records at DWD measuring sites
The dominance of persistently spring-like phases resulted in a monthly average temperature in Germany of around 7.2 degrees Celsius (°C), making it the warmest March since 1881 ahead of the same month in 1938 and 1989 (7.0 °C in both years). March 2017 was therefore around 3.7 degrees warmer than the average over the international reference period 1961–1990. Even looking at the comparative period 1981–2010, the difference was still +2.9 degrees. New records for monthly average temperatures have been set at some DWD measuring sites. The pleasant and warm spring-like weather started right at the beginning of the month with 20.4 °C on 4 March in Wielenbach in Upper Bavaria (with assistance from the föhn wind). More warm weather arrived towards the middle of the month with the high pressure system 'Kathrin' and at the end of the month with the anticyclone 'Ludwiga'. On 16 March, for example, the mercury in Saarbrücken-Burbach rose to 21.5 °C and, on 28 March, 23.0 °C was recorded in Andernach on the Rhine. Throughout the country, night-time temperatures only occasionally fell to moderate sub-zero temperatures. At 7.3°C, the lowest March temperature was measured in Oberstdorf on 3 March.
Precipitation at exactly the average figure – Tornado in Kürnach
Precipitation in March was almost exactly the long-term average at around 57 litres per square metre (l/m²). There was no snow in the lowlands and snow was only seen in the low mountain ranges and the Alps during the first ten days of the month. On 7 March, the depth of snow measured at Neuhaus am Rennweg in the Thuringian Forest was 27 cm. On 9 March, an F1 tornado (118–180 km/h) developed from a powerful thunderstorm cell in Kürnach, to the north-east of Würzburg. Damage was caused to more than fifty houses. On 18 March, the low pressure system 'Eckhart' brought 24 hours of heavy precipitation to the windward areas of the Alps. Ruhpolding-Seehaus in the Chiemgau recorded an impressive 102.4 l/m² and Balderschwang in the Allgäu received 92.5 l/m². Storm-force gusts of up to 102 km/h swept over Berlin and Brandenburg. With up to 300 l/m², most precipitation overall fell in the Alps. Along a line from Rheinhessen via the Hunsrück to the Eifel Mountains, precipitation was just 25 l/m².
Total sunshine positive but even sunnier in the south
At around 148 hours, the sunshine duration in March was substantially more than the long-term average of 111 hours. Whereas some places in the north of Schleswig-Holstein and Western Pomerania only received 110 hours of sunshine, areas in the extreme south-west and south of the country saw an impressive 200 hours.