In many regions of Germany, this past holiday season was the warmest ever recorded. Climate scientists see it as further evidence of global warming. With temperatures of almost 20 degrees Celsius, some people even jumped into Lake Chiemsee in Bavaria.
With temperatures up to 20.7 degrees Celsius, many pedestrians in Munich took advantage of the weather and sat at outdoor cafés on Christmas Eve. Several other cities reported record temperatures as well. The warm weather has its downside, however. Business is slow at winter sport destinations reliant on snow and heavy rains have led to flooding in some areas.
In Dusseldorf, the Rhine River was bursting at the seams last week. "Flooding leads to millions of euros in damages each year," climate researcher Mojib Latif from the Helmholtz-Center for Oceanic Research in Kiel said in an interview with DW.
According to Mojib Latif, climate change means there will be fewer extreme winters in Germany - like in 1962/63 when Lake Constance froze completely (pictured). The temperatures, he says, will rise slowly, so we can expect snow in the coming years.
Extreme weather conditions is disruptive to shipping traffic. While the slow-flowing Elbe River freezing frequently, the Rhine River froze for the last time in 1963. It is pictured here near St. Goar. Waste and cooling water from nuclear plants have kept the river from freezing completely since then.
Heavy snowfall and extremely low temperatures can threaten the infrastructure. In winter 2005/6 a large part of North Rhine-Westphalia in western Germany had no electricity after nearly 50 power poles collapsed. The trains from Deutsche Bahn also suffered from the snow and ice.
Just last year the Alster in Hamburg froze over - and locals made a party of it. Vendors set up stands and sold their wares to over a million people from the lake in the middle of the city.
This year, business that rely on snowfall are suffering. Here in Hoherodsberg in central Germany, the ski lift has come to a standstill. The mild winter is expected to lead to losses totalling millions of euros.
While sun-lovers are enjoying the spring-like winter weather in Germany, it also means rising sea levels in places like Bangladesh and the Maldives. Rural societies in Asia and Africa suffer the most from climate change.
In the past 30 years, average temperatures across the globe risen about one degree. According to climate research Mojib Latif, reducing CO2 emmission can stop this trend. Everyone can contribute, by avoiding unnecessary car trips or buying regional products.
In many regions of Germany, this holiday season was the warmest since weather was first recorded a century ago.