A Drought in Germany Gets the Media Overexcited


By Paul Homewood

h/t Tim Scott

There is a drought in Germany, and naturally the media has gone into hyperdrive to link it to global warming:

As Europe lives through a long, hot summer, one of the continent’s major rivers is getting drier – posing major problems for the people and businesses that rely on it.

Captain Andre Kimpel casts an experienced, but worried, eye across the river Rhine, where water levels have dropped significantly in recent days.

Several ferry services in and around the town of Kaub have been forced to a standstill, but he’s still carrying people and their cars across the water to the opposite bank – for now.

“It’s no joke,” he says as he navigates the water which sparkles in the summer sunshine. “We have 1.5m [5ft] of water and our boat sits 1.20m deep. So we have 30 centimetres of water left beneath us.”

It’s not unusual for water levels to drop here but, Captain Kimpel says, it’s happening more frequently. “We used to have a lot of floods. Now we have a lot of low waters.”

On the riverbank nearby, there’s an old measuring station. Any skipper wanting to enter the Upper Rhine will refer to the official water level recorded here.

The current level hasn’t yet fallen below the lowest figure ever recorded here, in October of 2018. The measurement then was 25cm (the measurement is taken from the same reference point in the water, not the deepest point on the river bed).

It’s currently 42cm – but is forecast to fall further in the coming days.

The government agency which monitors the levels say that the current low water may just be part of a normal pattern. But, they note, such events are becoming more intense as a result of climate change and they say the situation will worsen in the second half of this century.


This report is all over the media, and all with virtually the same wording, suggesting a carefully coordinated, manufactured story, almost certainly from one of the well funded, climate misinformation organisations.

The BBC headline is grossly misleading, as the 30cm is the water under the boat; As Captain Kempl comments, the river depth is actually 1.5m.

The river gauge measurement of 42cm at Kaub is also widely reported, but is equally misleading, as this measurement is taken near the river bank, rather than at the deepest part of the stream.

In none of the dozens of reports I have read is there any actual historical data to compare against this event, whether rainfall or water level data. We are told this is the lowest water level since 2018, as if this means anything at all. There is no evidence presented to show that this drought is in any way unprecedented, or that droughts are becoming more extreme; merely this claim that appears in most of the articles:

“HGK and other shipping companies are preparing for a “new normal” in which low water levels become more common as global warming makes droughts more severe, sapping water along the length of the Rhine from the Swiss Alps to the North Sea.

“There’s no denying climate change and the industry is adjusting to it,”

However, annual rainfall trends at Mainz, which is just upstream of Kalb, show that while recent years have been drier than the 1980s and 90s, they are no drier than the 1950s. We also see exactly the same trends with April to September rainfall:

And finally, WUWT offers an insight to some of the megadroughts in Germany in the past, notably in 1540.

There is therefore nothing to suggest that this is not just another weather event.

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August 14, 2022 10:14 am

Last year Germany caused a flood due to incompetent management of water levels in dams. Has anyone bothered to check if the same incompetence is responsible this year?

Michael in Dublin
Reply to  tgasloli
August 14, 2022 12:44 pm

I believe Germany suffers from the same problem as a number of EU countries but perhaps worse and that is bureaucratic waste. This means money that could be more wisely spent on necessary things is wasted.

Reply to  tgasloli
August 15, 2022 2:12 am

Last year Germany suffered a flood due to truly record widespread rainfall across the Rhine valley.

NOTHING to do with dams.

The heavy rainfall in the south of North Rhine-Westphalia and north of Rhineland-Palatinate in Germany produced accumulations which averaged 100 to 150 mm (3.9 to 5.9 in) in 24 hours, equivalent to more than a month’s worth of rain. In Reifferscheid, 207 mm (8.1 in) fell within a nine-hour period while Cologne observed 154 mm (6.1 in) in 24 hours. Some of the affected regions may not have seen rainfall of this magnitude in the last 1,000 years.

Dave Andrews
Reply to  griff
August 15, 2022 6:03 am

“Some of the affected regions may not have seen rainfall of this magnitude in the last 1000 years”

You have absolutely no evidence for that statement. Typical of much of your posts really.

Climate believer
Reply to  Dave Andrews
August 15, 2022 9:08 am

The trend is down for summer precipitation in those areas but facts have never interfered with the grifters religious beliefs.

precipitation rhine westphalia history.png
Climate believer
Reply to  Climate believer
August 15, 2022 9:09 am


rhineland palatinate precipitation summer.png
Reply to  griff
August 15, 2022 8:14 am

Has everything to do with dams. Shortly before the flood they decided to close drains forever, which then proved fatal a few weeks later, after the single remaining drain was blocked by debris.

Right-Handed Shark
Reply to  griff
August 15, 2022 9:04 am

Never forgetting, of course, that the rain was 6% wetter.

Reply to  tgasloli
August 16, 2022 2:42 pm

What Homewood is saying here, and even more so Tgasloli, is absolute, utter nonsense.

Look at this chart of drought levels in Europe made end of July, and THINK.

comment image

What this drought is due to does not interest me at all.

August 14, 2022 10:14 am

Is water usage from the river and its tributaries also accounted for? Larger population, more water required, more waste too.

Shoki Kaneda
August 14, 2022 10:38 am

Immigrants are flushing the toilets hundreds of times per day in amazement.

Reply to  Shoki Kaneda
August 15, 2022 2:13 am

Really? Is this the standard we expect on Watts? anti immigrant racist comment?

Richard Page
Reply to  griff
August 15, 2022 9:17 am

Oh do be quiet you ignorant and unimportant little idiot. Everybody is an immigrant; you, me, everybody except maybe a small population in east Africa. So tell me how that is racist, please?
Is this the standard of immature, ignorant and bigoted comment we expect from you, Griffy? Why, yes, unfortunately it is.

August 14, 2022 11:05 am
Richard Page
Reply to  richard
August 14, 2022 12:57 pm

There have been at least 29 instances, since 1540, when the Rhine water levels ran extremely low, leading to ‘drought’ conditions. The frequency shows that they were more common in the LIA period, less common in either the MWP or the modern warm period of the 20th century. It’s nothing new, it’s not unprecedented and it isn’t as severe as on previous occasions – anyone would think these idiots had no historical records to look at.

Reply to  Richard Page
August 14, 2022 1:52 pm

The idiots realize that very few people, i.e. almost none, will look for historical records.

Reply to  AndyHce
August 14, 2022 2:48 pm

For some reason, it’s really hard to find any meaningful data, even though they log it every ten minutes. There are some data that shows recent days. Surely the data is there, it’s just not public.

Reply to  AndyHce
August 14, 2022 11:18 pm

And when they get caught out, they will say back then it was the weather, now it’s the climate crises

And the sheeple will believe them

Reply to  Richard Page
August 15, 2022 2:14 am

And don’t forget 2018.

and that the Rhine drought is part of a much larger climate event this year across western europe

Climate believer
Reply to  griff
August 15, 2022 5:29 am

I know you have a problem with keeping things in perspective but let’s try.

First image: low water levels in Bingen 2018.

Second image: Live webcam image Bingen 2022

Bingen 2018 rhine low.png
Climate believer
Reply to  Climate believer
August 15, 2022 5:29 am


Bingen webcam rhine 2022.png
Richard Page
Reply to  griff
August 15, 2022 9:09 am

Thank you for agreeing with me and admitting these incidents happen so often that they are hardly worth mentioning outside of local news. And it’s so refreshing to see that you also agree that, as these incidents are far less common in warmer periods, we may be heading for a widespread cooling period. So good to see you on the correct side of the argument for once, Griffy!

August 14, 2022 11:10 am

But, but for years they’ve been promising it would get wetter, with more water vapor as an even worse greenhouse gas than C02

Desperately Confused

Tom Abbott
Reply to  Terry
August 14, 2022 1:59 pm

Alarmists never get anything right.

Reply to  Tom Abbott
August 14, 2022 11:19 pm

They were right about the exponential rise in their bank balances, just ask Al

Paul C
Reply to  Terry
August 15, 2022 5:47 am

Floods are Drought, War Is Peace, Freedom Is Slavery, and Ignorance Is Strength. Mismanagement of water in dams is the new normal. Flood control dams are left full as the climate models forecast no rain, then the hydroelectric dams are emptied to maintain the grid because of underperformance by windmills. Abstraction of water for growing (migrating) populations reduces the flow and quality of water. Wildlife regulations put people at bottom priority for water use, but one sad “positive” is that with the planned starvation when farming is effectively outlawed, the water previously used for irrigation can be re-purposed. I just hope the UK government will see sense now we are outside the EU, and re-establish the long history of dredging our rivers to prevent widespread flooding instead of building expensive flood defences which effectively raises the river height above the land as the riverbed silts up.

I thought their new worst greenhouse gas was laughing gas. Oh what a wheeze this global warming joke is – it’s a bit far-fetched, but do you think anyone will fall for it. So many of them fell for the “new ice age” myth of the 1970’s – you don’t think they might get suspicious when it’s the same pranksters telling them a complete contradiction with this global warming lark, do you?

August 14, 2022 11:40 am

It there any chance that the droughts in Europe are related to the lack of hurricanes in the Atlantic?

Rud Istvan
Reply to  dh-mtl
August 14, 2022 12:08 pm

Actually yes. The drought in Europe is caused by the same Sahara winds that are bringing Sahara dust all the way to South Florida. Those winds mean increased wind shear, which prevents tropical storms from forming. If the European drought breaks, we will likely see an uptick in Atlantic tropical storm formation.

Reply to  Rud Istvan
August 14, 2022 3:35 pm

I was thinking the other way around. Atlantic tropical storms pump huge amounts of moisture into the atmosphere, which falls on Europe as rain. No tropical storms, no moisture being pumped into the atmosphere.

August 14, 2022 12:00 pm

But, but, the headline must be true !!!
they even have a web page that says so …
Why you can trust the BBC

British Bullshit Corporation

Reply to  saveenergy
August 14, 2022 12:29 pm

Butt but but….the griffter sez 1000 year floods are occurring….everywhere…everywhere.

Richard Page
Reply to  Anti-griff
August 14, 2022 12:59 pm

But but but… the griffter sez it’s 6% wetter. Where is the 6% water going?

Reply to  saveenergy
August 14, 2022 11:22 pm

I noticed the other day, that the BBC was running ads on Radio 4 proving they have Tories on their channels

If they have to advertise they interview Tories, clearly listeners haven’t noticed so they need to be told

August 14, 2022 12:02 pm

As totay in the morning it started raining in Bale, Swizzerland, I saw at the Rhine the start of an increasing level in Mainz.

Uncle Mort
August 14, 2022 12:08 pm

The drought they should worry about is the veracity drought. Levels are very low and still falling.

Richard Page
Reply to  Uncle Mort
August 14, 2022 1:02 pm

I think that’s a misnomer – it implies a drying up or of reaching rock bottom at some point. The one thing you can count on is the climatistas finding new depths of lies and misinformation to plumb.

August 14, 2022 12:09 pm

As Kip Hansen’s very interesting post made clear, there is a real logical problem with attribution here. There are also empirical problems when people try to produce evidence to support attribution and it fails to do any such thing, but this is about the logical problem.

Climate change cannot logically be a causal factor of an event like this. Its the other way around: this might be evidence of climate change. It would then have to be exceptional in nature to justify the inference that something was going on other than random fluctuations. It would probably have to be one of a series of events which could be somehow linked to the alleged nature of the change. But the inference would be logically possible.

Whereas climate change is an aggregate of a lot of different phenomena all over the world. Most frequently people use as a yardstick the recent small rise in global average temperatures.

But as Kip’s post (or the paper he linked to pointed out) the assertion that climate change is causing the Euro droughts and the drying of the Rhine implies a weird sort of action at a distance. The temperature in Darwin, for instance, contributes to the global average temperature, as does that in Tokyo and San Fransisco.

As soon as you think about this, its obvious that a rise in global average temperature cannot possibly be a causal agent for the Euro drought. Or anything else. The explanation of it must be regional or local.

So it would be logically correct to argue that the blocking high Europe is currently experiencing prevents low pressure systems coming in off the Atlantic with rain. But then you have to show that this blocking high is in some way exceptional or part of an exceptional pattern, and you have to show, if you are focused on temperatures, that some local or regional temperature behavior has made blocking highs of this sort more likely.

I haven’t seen any attempt at showing any of this in any rigorous, evidence based, way. And absent that, the most rational explanation is that this hot dry spell, like that of 1976 in the UK, is the result of a combination of weather circumstances. Rare, but perfectly normal, and not giving any cause for alarm or diagnosis of what the Guardian calls ‘climate breakdown’.

A term that must have been invented by an English Literature major with a minor in marketing!

Richard Page
Reply to  michel
August 14, 2022 1:07 pm

I think it may be a regional indicator of a global or, at least, northern hemisphere developing situation. The fact that incidents when the Rhine waters fell to a very low level have occurred more frequently during the LIA and less often during the MWP and 20th century warm periods may well be quite significant.

Richard Page
Reply to  michel
August 14, 2022 1:12 pm

Climate breakdown’s a new one on me – the last buzzword or phrase I saw was the Oreskes/Mann coined ‘Anthropogenic Climate Disruption’ but I’m guessing that wasn’t apocalyptic enough for the Guardian!

Climate believer
Reply to  Richard Page
August 14, 2022 11:45 pm

Back in the seventies it was called “Inadvertent Climate Modification”.

michael hart
August 14, 2022 1:48 pm

Shouldn’t they be worrying about how easy it will be for Putin to cross the Rhine when water levels are so low? /sarc

Tom Abbott
August 14, 2022 1:54 pm

From the article: “The government agency which monitors the levels say that the current low water may just be part of a normal pattern. But, they note, such events are becoming more intense as a result of climate change and they say the situation will worsen in the second half of this century.”

There’s no evidence “such events are becoming more intense” and their claim that the situation will worsen is pure speculation. This isn’t science.

John Bell
August 14, 2022 3:15 pm

I thought CC was going to make it rain MORE?!

Climate believer
Reply to  John Bell
August 14, 2022 11:46 pm

The magic gas moves in mysterious ways.

Tom Abbott
Reply to  Climate believer
August 15, 2022 5:07 am

CO2 can do anything.

August 14, 2022 4:19 pm

Serious question … is there any correlation of recent drought in Germany with the proliferation of wind farms ? Windmills ‘strip’ energy from the wind … energy that might have contributed to the climate ‘normal’ weather cycle.

Reply to  Streetcred
August 14, 2022 11:26 pm

I’ve said this ever since a Polish paper showed the link between wind turbines and wind patterns downstream of the turbines.

Also, the loss of snow from Kilimanjaro was a result of deforestation changing wind patterns not global warming

Reply to  Streetcred
August 15, 2022 8:21 am

Well, you would be stupid to not check if thats the case. But for some reason questions like that (AKA science) arent allowed and so dont get funding anymore.
Its almost as if a lot of powerful people are making a lot of money by keeping information away from us…

Dennis G. Sandberg
August 14, 2022 9:00 pm

Incredible, Germany has been saving the planet from climate change with their “Enegiewende”. Just image what the situation would be if they hadn’t spent $billions on wind and solar. Without that expenditure the barges would only have 29 cm of clearance for their barges instead of 30 cm because of drought causing CO2. But then again, maybe if they hadn’t, there might have been 31 cm of clearance from flood causing CO2. Clearly, they need to follow the U.S. lead and solve the problem by raising taxes.

Tom Abbott
Reply to  Dennis G. Sandberg
August 15, 2022 5:13 am

One of these days there will be a consensus on how really stupid it was to think humans could change the Earth’s weather by manipulating the amounts of CO2 in the Earth’s atmosphere.

Let’s hope this happens before total economic collapse.

Crash-test dummies are a good thing.

August 14, 2022 11:17 pm

The funny part is greentards should be happy the river levels are too low for coal to be shipped 🙂

Peta of Newark
August 15, 2022 1:06 am

Why is anybody surprised?
They, the Germans, created the landscape that they did and ‘the climate changed’ to reflect that.

Take a look at the Google Satellite images 0 see all the neat square arable fields, see the neat rows of ‘something green’ with miles after mile of bare soil between the rows
Where are all the trees, where is there any semblance of a real actual forest down there?
i.e. Large water retaining sponge that slowly releases water, over spans of months and years, into the water-tables, aquifers, streams and rivers.

And while the forest & perennially green fields and the water were still there, there was an epic cooling effect 4x over from:

  1. the high albedo green of the forest and grasses
  2. the huge heat capacity of liquid water
  3. massive cooling as it evaporates
  4. the clouds & rain then created.

They Are All Gone
And, seemingly is is A Surprise to everybody there, The Water All Disappeared.

How is it possible to have ANY sympathy for such epic stupidity, wilful ignorance/blindness, massive greed & selfishness and wholesale destruction of an entire landscape.

May they rot in hell 🙂
…….and they surely will unless somebody wakes up and dumps the idiotic junk science notion that CO2 controls climate.
Simply dump ‘climate’ and concern yourself with ‘weather’ – climate will look after itself

Water controls weather and nowhere is it better exemplified than in this ‘oh look at poor little helpless us and how Everybody Else has wasted our sad little world‘ story.
And those ‘poor little helplessnesses brought it entirely upon themselves.

Tough Titties, you made your bed, now lie in it.
(Lie = also as in mendacity)

August 15, 2022 2:11 am

1540? The last time the Rhine was about this low was 2018.

and surely the Rhine is fed by rain falling further upstream than Mainz?

The widespread drought in Europe and its record heatwave is clearly part of a pattern of increased hit and drought and other extreme weather in Europe caused by climate change…

UK has now seen its fifth summer with a heatwave

Climate believer
Reply to  griff
August 15, 2022 3:28 am

Which extreme weather events aren’t due to climate change?

Reply to  Climate believer
August 15, 2022 9:54 am

There were never any extreme weather events in the past, I guess…

Tom Abbott
Reply to  griff
August 15, 2022 5:25 am

“The widespread drought in Europe and its record heatwave”

That’s funny, Griff. You wouldn’t know what a heatwave was if it walked up and tapped you on the shoulder.

And you couldn’t prove that CO2 had anything to do with your weather even if your life depended on doing so. All you have are unsubstantiated assertions. Everything you say about CO2 and the Earth’s weather is an unsubstantiated assertion. Everything.

Dave Andrews
Reply to  griff
August 15, 2022 6:39 am

griff, to gain some perspective check out this paper on the Royal Meteorological Society’s website

‘The forgotten drought of 1765-1768. Reconstructing and re-evaluating historical droughts in the British and Irish Isles’

It starts with a literature review and cites a number of papers. Here I’ll just mention three

Cole and Marsh 2006/Marsh et al 2007/ Spraggs et al 2015

The first two papers identified major drought events in England and Wales in 1798-1808, 1854-1860, 1887- 88, 1890 – 1909, 1921 – 22, 1933 – 34, 1959, 1976, 1990-92 and 1995-97

The Spraggs et al paper evaluated droughts in the east of the UK from 1798 to 2010 and found the most severe were 1854 – 1860 and 1893 – 1907 and were “characterised by contiguous dry winters and summers”


Climate believer
August 15, 2022 3:24 am

“We used to have a lot of floods.”

You still do.

Only last July in fact, when water levels reached 6.5 metres.

A rainy June, a very wet July, compounded by late snowmelt in the Alps because of cold spring weather.

Climate believer
August 15, 2022 4:00 am

“So we have 30 centimetres of water left beneath us.”

According to the ferry company’s website to keep things afloat they start by reducing the tonnage of the vehicles transported, (at the moment 3.5t max).

At 15cm they stop.

August 15, 2022 4:27 am

In Australia in the early 2000s we had a long drought. We had people saying the dams would never refill, that this was the new normal and billions were spent on desal plants. Of course it was nothing of the kind , the drought broke, dams are full, its quite soggy in the southern half and we continue to pay for desal plants. But of course no new dams.

August 15, 2022 8:27 am

Ive been driving those exact ferries at the Rhine every summer, in the last 20 years. In much worse summers too. Ive never seen it being bad or being stopped altogether. So it sure as hell has not become more numerous.
Ive seen plenty of floods, though (contrary to what the guy in the quoted article claims). But they also havent become worse, or more numerous.

August 15, 2022 10:25 am

Redistributive H20 to cool the Green blight? Perhap [catastrophic] [anthropogenic] immigration reform that outpaces native development.

Nick in Vancouver
August 16, 2022 2:37 pm

I have just finished snorting through an article on how “climate change” has uncovered a hunger stone not seen since 2018 – I know, its, like,totally unprecedented. It then went on to quote a paper examining how often this darned stone had been uncovered by drought, in the pre-industrial era
“One such stone is on the banks of the Elbe River, which begins in the Czech Republic and flows through Germany. The boulder dates back to 1616 and is etched with a warning in German: “Wenn du mich seehst, dann weine” — “If you see me, then weep,” according to a Google translation of the phrase.
In a 2013 study, a team of Czech researchers wrote that these boulders are “chiselled with the years of hardship and the initials of authors lost to history,” adding that the “basic inscriptions warn of the consequences of drought.”
“It expressed that drought had brought a bad harvest, lack of food, high prices and hunger for poor people,” researchers wrote. “Before 1900, the following droughts are commemorated on the stone: 1417, 1616, 1707, 1746, 1790, 1800, 1811, 1830, 1842, 1868, 1892, and 1893.”

The only thing unprecedented is the level of stupid.


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