Elbe has low water levels: „A rainy summer would be nice“

03/28/2014 - Water levels of the Elbe and other big German rivers are currently as low as normally in late summer. Scientists of the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research have examined extremely low water levels as well as floods for a long time, but the current observed aridness goes beyond the scientists´ scenarios. This could have serious impacts on shipping and agriculture. Individual actors already warn of a record drought. -
Elbe has low water levels: „A rainy summer would be nice“
View from the Elbsandsteingebirge Bastion. Photo: PIK

“A rainy summer would be nice,” says Frank Wechsung from PIK who does research on the Elbe river. “Actually projections on weather developments indicate that it likely gets wetter in the course of the year. Should this not be the case though, we´d quickly reach a situation like the 'summer of the century' in 2003.” But this would be with less sunny days than in 2003, because last winter has been dry and with little snow fall.

For the Elbe river basin district, the results of a comprehensive study of scenarios of the impacts of further warming have been published in a book recently, edited by Wechsung and his colleagues. The authors from different German scientific institutions analyzed not only the impacts for water levels in rivers, but also economic consequences on agriculture, shipping and power plants. It is more difficult to provide cooling water for power plants at low water levels, for example. The book also discusses possible adaptation measures.


Publication (in German): Frank Wechsung / Volkmar Hartje / Stefan Kaden / Markus Venohr / Bernd Hansjürgens / Peggy Gräfe (Hrsg.), 2014: Die Elbe im globalen Wandel. Eine integrative Betrachtung. Konzepte für die nachhaltige Entwicklung einer Flusslandschaft, Bd. 9 (http://www.weissensee-verlag.de/autoren/wechsung-9783899982138.htm)

Weblink to Glowa Elbe project: