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Germans Experience Warmest Winter on Record

Date: 28-Feb-07
Country: GERMANY

Amid fears of global warming, the average temperature for December, January and February hit 4.3 degrees Celsius (39.7 Fahrenheit) compared with the long-term average of 0.2 degrees.

That was far above the previous record of 0.7 degrees in the winters of 1974-75 and 1989-90.

Neighbouring Switzerland, where official records began in 1864, is also having its warmest winter.

Britons experienced the second-warmest winter since national weather records started in 1914, the Meteorological Office said, with a mean temperature of 5.47 degrees.

Germans enjoyed their warmest December in 32 years and the warmest January on record.

"Cold weather fronts never had a chance to get the upper hand in central Europe," said German national weather service president Wolfgang Kusch in a statement.

"There was no enduring frost," said Kusch, noting that fronts had blown in mainly from the west and southwest.

The Swiss federal office of meteorology and climatology said average temperatures across the country from December to February were three to four degrees above normal.

"This development is in total accordance with forecasts of global climatic models which take into account the effects of man-made greenhouse gas emissions," Swiss meteorologists said.

The weather was good news for the German economy. Higher temperatures have been credited for fewer than usual layoffs in seasonal sectors like construction.

Europe is also on track for a larger than normal wheat crop as the mild winter has spurred plant growth.

But there were downsides, too.

In the German Alpine resort of Garmisch, organisers of the World Cup skiing race had to import 2,000 cubic metres of snow from Austria on 30 trucks at a cost of 50,000 euros (US$66,080).

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