The gas storage tanks are full and should be enough to get Germany through the winter – if the winter doesn’t get too cold. That’s why all eyes are on the meteorologists. You are currently working on the first long-term forecasts. Can you give the all clear?

Is the gas enough? That is the anxious question in politics and in business and in every household that fires and cooks with gas. Are the supplies possibly just enough, and how expensive will it be then? That’s what the average German asks, and this kind of insecurity is fairly new. Few people remember the coal shortages after World War II. In the “Hunger Winters” people really froze bitterly, just in times of need. Today nobody becomes a coal thief out of desperation. But there are illegal wood collectors in the forest again.

So what are the gas supply scenarios? What does the country need and where does it come from? Now the gas storage facilities in the republic are said to be 97 percent full, probably almost a hundred, but that doesn’t mean that much at first. On the one hand, the content is by no means guaranteed to go to the German population, but has already been sold on time – wherever and in any case also abroad. And secondly, the industry builds on it and must build on it. Large corporations in the chemical industry and other sectors of the economy are absolutely dependent on gas supplies, otherwise production will end, which would also have serious consequences for the population.

Whether the state provision and savings efforts will be sufficient overall depends on many factors, and it is difficult to predict.

The Federal Network Agency is sending cautiously positive signals. In the last week of October, the gas storage facilities are now almost full, and industry in particular is making significant savings compared to previous years. The network agency assumes that the existing stocks, which are slightly less than in 2021, should be sufficient in view of the savings behavior – if, yes, if imports from neighboring countries do not fall too much (because it is winter in the Netherlands and Belgium then). ), liquefied gas terminals (as the third and last Lubmin in Poland) will go into operation as planned, and exports to Southeastern Europe will not increase too much.

But a lot depends on the weather. At the end of October, the storage operators traditionally begin to tap into their reserves. The weather is still mild – so, according to the Federal Network Agency, the gas will initially flow out more slowly than around 2021. Until mid-March it is usually “withdrawn”, according to the German authorities. Should the coming winter have an average temperature of 9.4 degrees, which is the long-term “normal”, the bunkered and delivered gas was sufficient – and almost half would still be there at the end. A particularly cold winter with an average temperature of 8.8 degrees, plus possibly severe frost in between, would have unpleasant consequences: According to the calculations, the stocks could then be used up by the end of February.

The meteorologists are currently working on their first long-term models. A warm winter is mainly forecast in our latitudes. No severe frost, say the models. Skiers have to go high before they can go back down to the valley. For everyone except winter sports enthusiasts – although they also want to have a heated home – good news in these times. Because as I said, in an average winter, half of the stores would be full towards the end. Half a degree more, and even the winter of 2023/24 would lose its worst horrors.

So the prognosis is good. If you can believe them. The basis for this are computer models that combine vast amounts of data from all possible events, atmospheric conditions and from the past and summarize them in an outlook using an algorithm. They are models and everyone knows that the weather experts can also be wrong with their forecasts for the next day.

Around the world, governmental and non-governmental organizations are trying their hand at the digital crystal ball. As of October 1, the European Institute Copernicus sees a rather dry December and January, from then on there will be hardly any deviations from the long-term average in terms of precipitation. Overall, the winter months are expected to be half a degree to one degree warmer than usual.

The American weather and climate authority NOAA dares to go even further: For Central Europe, the temperatures are said to be higher than usual, already mild in November, in January and February, for example, almost continuously above zero. Slightly colder in northern Germany than in the south, but that’s no surprise. Incidentally, NOAA has revised its previous forecast from September slightly downwards – there was still talk of longer sections with an average of more than four degrees plus in January and February.

None of the well-known institutes is predicting a hard and cold winter at the moment. However, the German Weather Service (DWD) is currently pointing out again that such long periods of time are subject to great uncertainty.

Of course, the forecast is of particular interest to those citizens and families who have to save – probably a majority in the country. Because with the temperature developments in the main buyer countries for heating material, the prices usually rise or fall, even if such regularities are hardly reliable anymore. Just a few decades ago, heating oil was cheap in summer and expensive in winter – today the world situation with crises and conflicts is far more important than the time of year in terms of shortages and prices.

Which, among other things, has led to the current uncertainties and problems. The unpleasant thing for consumers: Even for the winter of 2023/24 it is far from certain that the gas situation will have normalized. Here, too, it depends on whether the state acts with foresight when it comes to purchasing, technical requirements and smart business conduct.

And if you don’t trust all the predictions, there are of course still one or the other amazing farmer’s rule. The next key date for your very own weather forecast is November 11th: “If it’s cloudy around Martini, the winter will be mild and sweet”.

The article “Is there enough gas for the winter? Experts dare to make the first forecasts” comes from WirtschaftsKurier.