Germany’s DWD: May 2021 Among Coldest In 140 Years… Spring 2021 “Clearly Too Cool”

May, 2021, in Germany comes in as one of the coldest in years.

Also spring, 2021, comes in cooler than normal. Spring in Germany hasn’t warmed at all over the past 30 years

The preliminary results for the meteorological spring (March-May) and the month of May have come in for Germany.

germanys dwd may 2021 among coldest in 140 years spring 2021 clearly too cool - Germany’s DWD: May 2021 Among Coldest In 140 Years… Spring 2021 “Clearly Too Cool”

Germany’s May 2021 temperature anomaly (yet to be entered on chart) was 1.4°C below the 1961-1990 reference period mean, making it among the coldest on record. Source: DWD. 

Let’s first look at May 2021

Much cooler, wetter and cloudy than normal

According to Germany’s DWD national weather service, using data recorded from some 2000 stations across the country, May’s mean temperature came in at 10.7°C, some 2.4°C cooler than the 1991-2020 mean.

2.4°C colder than mean

Strangely, the DWD compares the May result to the ancient 1961-1990 reference period. By doing so, they determined that the mean May temperature was only 1.4°C too cool. Compared to the current and warmer reference period 1991 to 2020, the deviation was -2.4 degrees.

In the past 30 years, the May mean temperature was lower only in 2010 with 10.4 °C and in 1991 with 9.5 °C. May 2021 was among the coldest on the DWD records. Check it out yourself.

Drenched May


With 95 l/m² of precipitation, May clearly exceeded the 1991-2020 climate mean value of 70 l/m². The mean for the 1961-1990 period was 71 l/m², which tells us things have not changed at all, precipitation-wise in May.

23% less sunshine

May-2021 also saw very little sunshine across Central Europe. With about 165 hours of sunshine in May, it was well below the mean of 202 hours using the period 1961 to 1990. Compared to the new 1991 to 2020 reference period, the negative deviation was about 23 percent less sunshine.

Spring 2021 “clearly too cool”

Looking at the meteorological spring March 1st to May 31st) for Germany, the DWD reports that “spring 2021 was clearly too cool”, despite slightly above average sunshine. Spring hasn’t really warmed in 30 years – a fact that the DWD never brings up.

At 7.2°C, the average temperature in spring 2021 was -1.7°C below the value of the 1991 to 2020 reference period. The decisive factors for the negative deviation were the coldest April in 40 years and the very cool May. The lowest temperature was recorded on April 6 in Meßstetten in the Swabian Alb region with -13.6 °C.

Near normal precipitation

In terms of precipitation in spring 2021, Germany received 175 l/m² precipitation compared with the mean of 171 l/m² for the 1991 to 2020 reference period. While March and April came in too dry, May saw unusually high precipitation compared to the previous years.

Of course, the activist DWD again highlighted the ancient, wetter 1961-1990 reference period, because this allowed them to say spring came in drier than normal for the eighth consecutive year!

Slightly less spring sunshine than average

With about 500 hours, the sunshine duration in spring-2021 was 4% less than the 1991 to 2020 mean. But using the ancient 1961-1990 reference period, spring 2021 was 7% sunnier than “normal”.

In Germany, when reporting on weather averages, the DWD chooses its reference periods based on what trends it wants to convey to the public. Using the 1961-1990 period allows the DWD to make it look like its getting warmer and drier.

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germanys dwd may 2021 among coldest in 140 years spring 2021 clearly too cool - Germany’s DWD: May 2021 Among Coldest In 140 Years… Spring 2021 “Clearly Too Cool”

Updated: June 2, 2021 — 1:28 am

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