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Rhine ecosystem: low water causes toxic water temperatures

2022-08-12T12:15:03.230Z

The effects of heat pose a threat to the complex flora and fauna in rivers. Climate expert Karsten Brandt speaks of a "steppe summer" - and predicts how the situation in the Rhine will develop.



AreaRead the video transcript expand here

The Rhine is drying out more and more, on Friday morning the level was 5 centimeters lower in some places than on Thursday.

According to the Federal Institute for Hydrology, inland waterway transport could “tend to come to a standstill” in the coming week – including important transport routes for coal, for example.

The economic consequences are only ONE aspect.

Karsten Brandt, climate expert

»We are in the midst of climate change.

So I can only say, good morning, we have arrived in the steppe summer.

That is what the climate models also show.

There was always a bit of hope that Germany and Central Europe might not get it until later, so that we would be protected here, so to speak.

We're also protected, but it's coming faster and stronger than expected.

And that is a steppe climate, so often very dry for many years.

This frequency is getting higher.«

The increase in temperature is not only problematic for forests, agriculture, industry and cooling processes in power plants, for example.

Nature and the complex ecosystem in the water also suffer twice.

Karsten Brandt, climate expert

»Two things: we have extremely low water, so we have very little water in the Rhine due to this extreme drought.

We also have very high water temperatures.

We also have very high water temperatures and both together have a toxic effect on the inhabitants of the Rhine, on the fish and on the entire ecosystem.

We measured 28 degrees and more here in some cases, but even higher values ​​can be recorded in some of the tributaries.

An example in Hesse, the Nidda, it was almost 30 degrees yesterday.

Little water, great heat, air temperatures above 35/36 degrees.

And that together is very problematic for such an ecosystem.«

And that's not the end.

According to climate expert Brandt, we will probably even experience summers with 43 to 45 degrees in summer in Germany in the future - and correspondingly high values ​​in the water.

Source: spiegel

All tech articles on 2022-08-12

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