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German storms to be given more diverse names after online campaign

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Storm winds bring strong waves to Travemuende on the Baltic Coast in March 2020.
Storm winds bring strong waves to Travemuende on the Baltic Coast in March 2020.   -   Copyright  Daniel Bockwoldt/dpa via AP

Germany has pledged to give storms more diverse names after an online initiative called for a better reflection of the multi-cultural makeup of German society. 

A low-pressure system bringing frigid temperatures, dark clouds, and snow to the country has been titled 'Ahmet', a boy's name of Turkish origin.

Other storms to follow include traditionally male Arabic, Kurdish and Greek names such as Cemal, Goran, Hakim, and Dimitrios.

Meanwhile, high-pressure systems reaching Germany early this year will be called Bozena, Chana, or Dragica, traditionally females names with Polish, Hebrew, and South Slavic roots.

In Germany, storms are not solely named by meteorologists, and any citizen can participate at a cost between €240 and €360, depending on the pressure system.

In an effort to make the weather more cross-cultural, the New German Media Makers, an association representing journalists with diverse backgrounds, has purchased a number of storms for the beginning of 2020.

The project, dubbed hashtag #wetterberichtigung (#WeatherCorrection) online, is a symbolic initiative demanding that Germany's diversity is better reflected across society.

"So far, our weather had mostly typical German names only, even though some 26 percent of people in Germany have migrant roots," said Ferda Ataman, the head of the group.

The low and high-pressure systems of 2021 will also still feature traditional German names, including Reinhard, Volker, and Margarethe.

"The names of the high and low-pressure areas at the beginning of 2021 are as diverse as our society," Germany's Integration Commissioner said on Twitter, "and that is just as well".

The New German Media Makers is also lobbying for German media outlets to establish hiring quotas for journalists of colour or from migrant families.

They estimate that minority journalists are vastly underrepresented in the country's media, with just 5 to 10 percent of reporters and editors having migrant roots.