• Christmas tree in front of Quadriga

    Whether green or white: We wish you a Merry Christmas!

Every year, just before Christmas evening, we ask ourselves full of hope the same question: Will there be White Christmas? According to the Berliner Wetterkarte e.V. association at Freie Universität Berlin, Christmas 2019 will probably be green. But who knows? A lot can still change. 

It's so green... White Christmas in Berlin will probably only be on pictures and postcards this year. According to the Berliner Wetterkarte e.V. association at the Freie Universität Berlin, they are almost impossible. During the holidays, snow will at best be in the higher altitudes of the low mountain ranges and in the Alps, according to meteorologist and association chairwoman Petra Gebauer. She blamed storm lows, which currently determine the weather, especially: the low "Wilfried". According to Gebauer, this is currently being "steered across the North Atlantic with a powerful jet stream" and is now reaching Central Europe "as if on a motorway". At the same time, very mild air is directed towards us.

And what does that mean for Berlin in concrete terms? Plus 11 degrees in the Christmas week - we already have the mild weather of spring. According to Petra Gebauer, temperatures will remain above zero even over the holidays - and so there will be no snow.

The fact that there is no snow in Berlin at Christmas is nothing unusual. On the contrary, only in two out of ten years in Berlin is there a snow cover of a minimum of one centimeter high on at least two of the holidays. This is according to the statistics of the Berlin weather map association. And such a snow cover is considered by weather researchers to be the measure of a White Christmas. The last time it covered whole Berlin was in 2010, which was the coldest December since 1969. It even reached a winter wonderland of 30 centimetres. At that time, the SCARLETT low pressure system brought sufficient precipitation and temperatures below freezing point.  

"White Christmas is therefore the exception rather than the rule in the lowlands," says Petra Gebauer. This is also confirmed by the information from wetter.com. According to this, there were a total of 10 White Christmas celebrations in Berlin between 1981 and 2010. This may not sound like much at first, but it still puts us ahead of Frankfurt am Main (9 times), Hamburg (8 times) and Cologne (4 times). Only the Munich residents were able to enjoy a thick blanket of snow 12 times during the same period. According to records of the Dahlem weather station, a particularly large amount of snow fell in Berlin during the Christmas celebrations in 1923, 1935, 1981, 1986, 2000, 2001 and 2010.

White Christmas always just on postcards?

White Christmas landscapes, as we know them from postcards, have therefore probably always been dream images. "These motifs appeared in 1863, parallel to the beginning of winter tourism, and thus created a longing for a White Christmas among those who stayed at home," says Petra Gebauer. Whether this was merely wishful thinking or an invention of imaginative or enterprising designers is probably no longer clear.   

Nevertheless, there were also times in Berlin with lots of snow - and corresponding winter sports fun: In the 1960s, for example, there was a ski jump and a drag lift on the approximately 115-metre-high Teufelsberg, which Berliners enjoyed using in winter. However, the lift had to be dismantled as early as 1972 because its masts interfered with the listening station built by the Americans on the mountain of rubble. And on December 28 1986, a Ski World Cup race was even held on the northern flank of the Teufelsberg. Ski aces like Rosi Mittermaier, Christian Neureuther, Markus Wasmeier and slalom king Ingemar Stenmark, however, were waving down the famous Berlin hill on artificial snow at that time. Because it was 4 degrees Celsius. And it was raining.

As far as the winterly Christmas weather this year is concerned, there is at least a small glimmer of hope: According to the Berlin Weather Map Association, it is still not certain which high or low pressure area will shape the holiday weather this year and from which region mild or cold air masses will be directed to Germany. So maybe we will have a sugar-like Christmas after all.

In this spirit, the Brain City Berlin team wishes you a white Christmas and a happy new decade!  

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