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Monthly review May 2023
May was about normal in temperature, considerably too dry and there was plenty of
sunshine. It was the driest May in the Dresden area for over 60 years.
Compared to the climate reference period 1961-1990, the month was 0.5 degrees too warm,
with a mean temperature of 13.6 °C. In the long term, May has been 1.7 degrees warmer on
average since 1961.
The sun shone for a total of 283 hours. This corresponds to an plus of 86 hours. In the May
months since 1961, the average sunshine duration in Dresden has increased by a striking 67
The sum of all individual precipitation measurements in April reached 12.4 mm in Coswig (in
Dresden-Klotzsche even only 9.3 mm). Thus, the past May proved to be the driest for more
than 60 years. The annual precipitation balance for 2023 so far in Coswig, after a plus of 30
mm in April, is now a minus of -17 mm in May. The drought will now worsen with a high risk
of forest fires. In the long term, precipitation in May has decreased considerably (by an
average of 19 mm since 1961). The former merry month is thus becoming drier and drier as
a result of climate change. Added to this is the considerable warming and the increase in
sunshine hours, which significantly increase evaporation and thus, in addition to the
decrease in precipitation, represent an ever greater burden for the vegetation.
The 500 hPa altitude weather map frequently showed a clearly disturbed circulation over
Central Europe during the past month (Fig.1). The weather in our region was mainly
characterised by an extremely stable anticyclone (high-pressure area) that developed up to
high atmospheric layers. Our region was mostly in a northerly flow, which brought in
continental and quite cool, but also very dry air masses. As a result, precipitation was scarce.
Despite frequently sunny weather, the 25°C mark was exceeded on only 3 days.
Fig.1: Altitude weather map for 500 hPa from 14.05.2023. A disturbed circulation over northern
Central Europe can be seen. (Source: Berlin weather map)
Autor: Wilfried Küchler
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