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Climate change: Heat waves and heavy rain – This is how global warming could affect our summer vacation

Created: 8/4/2022 9:03 p.m

In den idyllischen Stockholmer Schären soll ein fremdes U-Boot aufgetaucht sein.
Beach vacation in Sweden instead of Spain: Could this be a consequence of climate change? © Imago

The weather often plays a role in holiday decisions. Will a beach holiday on Mallorca still be possible in 30 years despite climate change?

Potsdam – The island of Mallorca experienced its longest heat wave to date in July, with temperatures regularly reaching 40 degrees. In view of climate change, such periods are likely to become more frequent. Such a trend can Dr. Peter Hoffmann, meteorologist and climate researcher at the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research, confirm how Zeit Online reports.

“In the past 60 years, the days over 30 degrees in Germany have doubled,” explains Hoffmann accordingly. In this country, but also in other regions such as Spain, heat waves would occur more frequently in the future, last longer and bring with them higher temperatures.

Climate crisis: Southern Europe would be unattractive for tourism after global warming

For most tourists, this is probably too hot for a leisurely beach holiday with all-day visits to the beach. “If the temperature were to rise by four or five degrees, all of southern Europe would be unattractive for tourism, which is already so important today, for a large part of the year because it would simply be uncomfortably hot,” confirms environmental and climate researcher Jonathan Gómez in the report “Climate Change in Europe. Perception and Effects 1950 – 2050”. The EU is currently targeting average global warming of two degrees by 2050 in order to mitigate the impending four to five degrees.

But the weather is also changing in Germany and Northern Europe. In a study, the Federal Environment Agency examined the extent to which the climate crisis is already having an impact on tourism demand in the German Alpine and low mountain range regions. There is currently only a slight change in tourist demand, which can be explained by global warming. The researchers write that this could change in the future. However, there is a connection between the weather, especially extreme weather events, and tourism demand.

And there will be more of these in the future. In addition to heat, rain will also increase in places and at times. “Heat and rain, both will occur in extremes in the future. There is no longer this in-between,” Zeit Online quoted Hoffmann as saying. It is rather dry in the Mediterranean region in summer and rather humid in the winter months. Higher water temperatures in summer sharpen the contrast to autumn and winter by making more intense rainfall more likely.

Global warming: Where and when will we spend our annual vacation in the future?

It therefore seems unlikely that summer vacation will be shifted to the colder seasons in the future. And there is no foreseeable shift to more northern holiday destinations such as Scandinavia, which are usually too cold for a classic beach holiday.

“You can’t just explain it with ‘everything is getting warmer’. The dynamics of weather systems are playing an increasingly important role,” says Hoffmann. The rising temperatures would have various consequences. If, for example, the fresh water from the melting polar caps dilutes the salt water in the sea, the Atlantic water off Europe could even cool down. Tropical storms on the Iberian Peninsula are also conceivable. “There are still many things open, but also many that cannot be calculated,” Hoffmann is quoted as saying. It remains to be seen how we will spend our summer holidays in a few decades. And it will also depend to a large extent on the measures taken to combat global warming. (tk)

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