Could Germany see a white Christmas this year?

Could Germany see a white Christmas this year?

After such a dismal 2020, one might be forgiven for not feeling the festive spirit. And with further lockdowns being implemented across Europe, there doesn’t seem like there’s much to look forward to this holiday season.

One thing that might just bring some festive cheer back into our lives is a white Christmas. Fortunately for us, meteorologists are predicting that we might just see snow this Advent season after all.

La Niña: The promise of snow?

It’s been exactly 10 years since Germany last experienced a “white Christmas", the rare time it snows on Christmas day. Early reports suggested that Germans would go another year without snow in 2020, with long-term forecasts predicting mild weather and lots of rain. However, recent developments have given rise to the hope that Germans might get to experience a magical white Christmas this year.

The hope for a white Christmas stems from a strengthening in the polar vortex. The polar vortex is a persistent area of low air pressure that rotates counter-clockwise at the North Pole. When the circulation is intact, westerly winds prevail, which are usually mild and rainy. However, when the vortex splits, it can lead to easterly winds dominating, drawing cold air from northern and north-eastern Europe down across the continent.

The vortex strengthens and weakens every year; however, this year, the appearance of La Niña might strengthen the vortex quite significantly. La Niña is a phenomenon whereby strong winds carry warm water away from South America towards Indonesia, causing cold water to rise. The movement of so much heat on the ocean's surface can have a substantial impact on the Earth’s climate, giving rise to the hope of cold temperatures and snow throughout Europe.

Long-term forecast suggests mild winter

Unfortunately, while the appearance of La Niña has brought some hope of a white Christmas, the long-term weather predictions suggest that we are in for a mild winter, one that might even beat weather records.

According to meteorologist, Dominik Jung, the next few months could be “another record winter” for Germany, with temperatures predicted to be around two degrees higher than average this December. Temperatures in January, usually Germany’s coldest month, are predicted to be three degrees higher than average. “It could actually be a winter of the century but from a positive point of view with warm temperatures," says Jung. 

While this may seem to have ruined our hopes for a white Christmas, it is important to note that such early predictions are not entirely accurate, especially with the added uncertainty of La Niña this year. Who knows, maybe we might get a white Christmas after all.

William Nehra


William Nehra

William studied a masters in Classics at the University of Amsterdam. He is a big fan of Ancient History and football, particularly his beloved Watford FC.

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