According to experts, the recent severe Mediterranean storms like those in Libya can probably be attributed to climate change. “These extreme rainfalls in a very, very short time indicate this,” said Kiel meteorologist and climate researcher Mojib Latif on Bayerischer Rundfunk.

Lows here could be “particularly intense in autumn because the Mediterranean is still very, very heated. On the other hand, cold air from the north can hit this warm air, and that is such an explosive brew,” said Latif.

Meteorologist Christian Herold from the German Weather Service (DWD) in Offenbach added that the water in the Mediterranean is currently around four degrees warmer than normal. “The high water temperatures also heat up the air, which allows it to absorb more moisture.”

Similarities to tropical cyclone

This created a weather situation that brought much destruction to the region. “This low pressure area has been keeping us busy for many days – it first raged in southeastern Europe, in Greece, Bulgaria, Turkey, and then it really intensified again in the Mediterranean and became a kind of Medicane,” said Latif , who works at the Geomar Helmholtz Center for Ocean Research in Kiel. Medicane is a Mediterranean storm that has similarities to a tropical cyclone.

Can this Libya catastrophe be clearly attributed to climate change? In response to this question, Latif said: “I always compare it with the famous marked dice. If we mark a six on a dice, the six comes up more often. But you can never say exactly: which six is ​​due to the marking and which one Six would have come anyway?”

Latif emphasized the enormous impact that the recent storms had in the Mediterranean region: “Last week we measured rainfall that has never been seen in Europe before. In some cases it was many times what we experienced during the Ahr Valley. “We had a flood. That way you can perhaps estimate what masses of rain are involved and what destructive power lies behind these masses of rain.”

Regarding Libya, DWD expert Herold said: “The depression hit a mountain range and basically discharged there. Otherwise there is little rainfall there per month, now 414 liters per square meter have been measured.”

For climate researcher Latif, it now also has to be about how a region can adapt. But he also sees limits: “I think we were far, far too careless when it came to climate change. I think that’s changing now that we’re realizing that climate change doesn’t just mean higher temperatures, but above all means more extreme weather , more potential for damage and, above all, a gigantic challenge for people in terms of their health.” You can adapt to a certain extent, but there are also limits: “With such masses of water, what else do you want to do?”