Germany: Weather Overview
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 conditions. Germany 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 mean 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 effects of coastal winds and currents lessen so temperatures rise higher in summer and drop lower in winter. However, this isnât 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 and Munich, 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.