Image: In the Ylläs-Ski centre the sunny weather turned warmer and it started to snow at the end of the week. Despite the white-out conditions, Tapio Kivioja went snowboarding.
While enjoying plenty of snow, Lapland has experienced UNUSUALLY WARM weather this winter. An abrupt change at the weekend brought a winter record of -33.7°C to Kittilä. In comparison with a normal winter, this is a rather modest record. ”In any normal winter it is typical that a reading of -40°C is recorded in some parts of Lapland.” In Muonio, the mean temperature during the first three weeks of February was around -9°C. Previously in this decade, February has only once been warmer than an average of -10°C. The mean temperature at this time last year was around -18°C, marking the coldest February of the decade. This year the weather has been exceptionally humid and the frosty spells have been short and sporadic. ”There is fog on the fells as if we were on a coastal area. I hope this is not a permanent phenomenon”. As a result of the UNUSUALLY WET weather, producing artificial snow at the ski resorts has this winter been more difficult than previously. The weather in Helsinki, meanwhile, continues stubbornly to remain above freezing, and the forecast for the early part of the week is more of the same, and the long-range predictions are that the beginning of March will be several degrees warmer than the normal average. January in Helsinki was 4.8°C warmer than usual. As a result of climate change, one has to go farther and farther north every year in order to find enough snow to ski. Grey winter days will become common, and the Finnish weather will be more and more like that in Denmark or Belgium. The number of snowy months is predicted to shorten by one and a half or even by two months a year, particularly around the beginning and the end of the winter. Heavy rains and floods will increase instead. The surface temperature in the Gulf of Finland has also risen by 0.5 to 0.8 degrees over 50 years. Needless to say, ice on the Gulf of Finland close to Helsinki is conspicuous by its absence. A pied flycatcher, which is a migratory bird, wintering mainly in Africa, was detected in Helsinki’s district of Puistola in January. The species of Southern Finland are moving to the north. Some experts in Helsinki fear that new pests and weeds are already lurking behind the southern border of the country, waiting for suitable winds to blow them across the sea.
Ice-free coastal waters in February considered EXCEPTIONAL, even in Southern Finland. Icebreakers sitting idle in Helsinki. "I cannot remember if the sea has ever before been completely free of ice in February". The experts are astonished. "True, this is quite exceptional". On an average winter there is 29 centimetres of ice in the sea areas outside Helsinki by mid-February. Even last year, there were more than ten centimetres of ice at this time of year. The ice sheet covering the sea usually reaches its maximum thickness in March. Image at Left: These two maps of the ice situation should indicate the exceptional conditions. On the left is the situation on Monday, and the 20-year mean for the same day in February is shown at right. The colour coding is for the water temperature, and ice areas are shown in white. At present only the far northern end of the Gulf of Bothnia has a covering of ice, as well as small pockets at the easternmost end of the Gulf of Finland.
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