Change in the weather: German storm names to be more diverse

Move over, Siegfried. Ahmet is on the way.

A journalists’ group has named a low pressure system bringing low temperatures, dark clouds and snow to Germany after the boy’s name of Turkish origin in an effort to increase the visibility of the country’s increasingly diverse population.

Ahmet will be followed by low pressure systems with Arabic, Kurdish and Greek names such as Cemal, Goran, Hakim and Dimitrios. The high-pressure systems reaching Germany early this year will be called Bożena, Chana or Dragica, names with Polish, Hebrew and south Slavic roots.

In Germany, naming weather systems is not the sole province of meteorologists. Anyone can participate: naming a sunny high costs €360 (£325), while rainy lows cost only €240.

To make the weather news more cross-cultural, the New German Media Makers, an association representing journalists with diverse backgrounds, bought a number of lows and a few highs for the beginning of the new year, said Ferda Ataman, the head of the group.

“So far, our weather had mostly typical German names only, even though 26% of people in Germany have migrant roots,” Ataman, whose parents migrated from Turkey, said.

The weather-naming project, which the group dubbed #WeatherCorrection, is a symbolic initiative demanding that Germany’s diversity be better reflected across society.

The group is lobbying German media outlets to establish hiring quotas for journalists of colour and from migrant families. The group estimates that journalists of colour are vastly underrepresented in the media in Germany. They say only between 5% to 10% of reporters and editors in Germany have migrant roots.

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The low and high pressure systems will also have plenty of traditional German names in 2021, including Reinhard, Volker, Margarethe, Trudi and Waltraud.

In the past, cloudy low systems always had traditionally female names and upbeat highs were male, but this practice changed in 1998. Since then, male and female names switch places each year in the high and low categories.


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