How hot will it get today? Will it rain? You wonder what the weather is going to be like. ‘Weather’ is the word we use to describe rain and snow, temperature, wind and sunshine at a certain time and place.
The weather can be very variable.
If you want to know what the weather is usually like in a certain area at a certain period, you have to know what the climate is. The climate is the average weather over a 30-year period. This means that there are good records of the temperature and rainfall/snow in the area over that 30-year period.
This means that there are various climates. The most important climates in the Rhine catchment area are the maritime, continental and high mountain climates. According to the Köppen classification system of describing climates by using letters, these are climates C, D and H.
In C climates, or maritime climates, the wind is usually blowing from the sea. The wind from the sea means that summers are not very hot and winters are not very cold. In D climates, or continental climates, the sea has little influence. This means that it can be much hotter in the summer and very cold in the winter. In H climates, or high mountain climates, the weather is cold all year round. Snow falls in summer and winter.
It is important to have a clear understanding of how the climate will change in the Rhineland. Then you know a bit what weather to expect in the long term. If it is likely to rain much more, you might have to build a high, strong dike, or set up areas where you can temporarily hold water.
Or the prediction might be that there will be much less rain. Then ship operators will have to take account of the fact that their ships might not always be able to travel because there will not be enough water in the Rhine.
And the water in the Rhine might get too warm for many species of fish and other creatures. This problem can be solved by making sure that the fish and other creatures are able to move to cooler areas (for a short time), such as a colder tributary or places shaded by trees growing on the river banks.
Read more about the climate and climate change.