Arctic Warmth Summer of 2011

Arctic Warmth Summer of 2011

Finnmark warmer than Mallorca

July 11, 2011

Northern Norway, famed for its Midnight Sun, has been in the midst of a veritable heat wave the past week, with temperatures soaring in some places to more than 30C (87F). That’s even warmer than it’s been in such resort destinations as Mallorca and some other spots around the Mediterranean.

Northern Norway's famed Midnight Sun has been shining brightly this summer. PHOTO: Morten Andersen

On Saturday night, several northern towns mostly known for severe weather in the winter found themselves basking in what the Norwegians call a “tropenatt,” literally a “tropical night” defined as a night when the temperature doesn’t fall below 20C (around 70F).

Arctic Warmth

News bureau NTB reported that both Båtsfjord and Porsanger in the northernmost county of Finnmark could boast on Sunday that they’d had a tropenatt, while the cities of Alta and Kirkenes were almost able to do the same when temperatures fell just slightly uner 20C.

Website Vær og Vind reported that the lowest temperature in Båtsfjord was 20.2C, while in Porsanger it was 20.1 recorded at the Lakselv airport. The tropenatt under the Midnight Sun was the first in Finnmark since 2004.

The so-called tropevarmen (tropical warmth) was linked to winds from the east that brought warm air from Russia. In Banak late last week, thermometers showed 30.3C, warmer than Istanbul and Mallorca.

Arctic Warmth

“There’s a very warm wind coming in over northern Norway from Finland and Russia,” confirmed Børge Johansson of the state meteorological institute. He told Aftenposten.no, though, that it wasn’t likely to last, with temperatures due to fall dramatically this week.

Meanwhile the rest of Norway has mostly been plagued by highly unstable weather and lots of rain since early June. The constant “rain and a little shine” has made it difficult to plan summer outings, parties or even what to wear, since temperatures are also varying widely during the course of a day. Mostly, though, temperatures in southern Norway have hovered around 15C (60F).

The sun finally came out in Oslo late Monday morning, and the forecast was relatively favourable for much of southern Norway through Wednesday, but then it was likely to start raining again.

“We’re looking at another low-pressure system moving in towards the weekend,” Johansson told Aftenposten.no. “There’s no sign of any strong high-pressure system yet. Unfortunately.”

Temperatures in the waters of the fjord and even local lakes, which were frozen solid just two months ago, are running higher than air temperatures. At the popular beach on Bygdøy called Huk, it was 20C in the water and just 18C on the beach. The same was true for the lake called Nordbytjernet, inland at Jessheim, and at a campground at Bamble farther south along the coast.

The relatively warm water temperatures are attributed to warm winds and little drop in thermometers at night. “So just dive in,” said Egil Haga, another forecaster at the meteorological institute.

Arctic Warmth Summer of 2011

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