The majority of Germany has
a temperate climate in which humid westerly winds prevail. However, Germany covers
357,021 km² of land, so obviously it has a fairly wide range of climatic
is also known for having variable daily weather conditions so come prepared
with sunglasses as well as a raincoat when visiting.
It is bordered to the
north by the North Sea and the Baltic Sea; Poland and the Czech Republic in the east; in the south
by Austria and Switzerland; and to the west by France, Luxembourg, Belgium, and the Netherlands.
Its proximity to the
Atlantic, the North Sea and the Baltic Sea means
that the climate is moderated by the North Atlantic Drift, particularly in the
northern reaches of the country. The North Atlantic Drift is an arm of the
powerful Gulf Stream which brings warmer
waters into the region. Consequently, in the north and northwest of Germany, the
climate exhibits oceanic conditions with a small temperature range and high
rainfall. Winters in the north and northwest of the country are mild
and summers tend to be warm but not hot. However, on the odd occasion
temperatures have been known to exceed 30°C in peak summer.
North Germany lies within the North European
Plain and generally consists of lowlands and flat plains. As you move into
central and southern Germany the
terrain becomes hillier and elevated towards the Alps on
the Austrian border. Normally, as you head further inland, conditions become
slightly more extreme; as you move further from the coast the moderating
affects of coastal winds and currents lessen so temperatures rise higher in
summer and drop lower in winter. However, this isn’t so much the case in Germany as
the increasing altitude means that temperatures are cooler in the south
throughout the year. Summers are cooler and winters harsher with subzero
temperatures, heavy snowfall and biting winds.
In eastern Germany weather
conditions are more characteristic of a continental climate. In the larger
cities of Berlin
winters can be very cold and summers hot, particularly the further inland you
head. In the summer of 2007 Berlin saw
scorching temperatures of over 40°C, with 2 days in the summer recording a
blistering high of 44°C in the centre of the city. Berlin's built-up city centre creates a
microclimate called an urban heat phenomenon, with heat stored by the city's
buildings resulting in temperatures being up to 4°C higher in the city
than in the surrounding areas. Summers often have minimal rainfall.