WU: Hot Times for Reindeer: All-Time Records Melt in Lapland

Written by on July 30, 2018 in Rest of Europe with 0 Comments

Below article is from wunderground.com

July 18, 2018, 12:33 PM EDT

Temperatures soared into the nineties Fahrenheit north of the Arctic Circle on Tuesday and Wednesday, as 2018’s parade of exceptional heat continued marching across the Northern Hemisphere. This week has been northern Scandinavia’s turn under the sizzling klieg lights, including Lapland (Sápmi), the region of northern Scandinavia famed for its reindeer and often associated with Christmas. In contrast to that wintry reputation, Sweden is now grappling with an onslaught of wildfires unprecedented in modern times, as reported by weather.com.

Here’s a sampling of the preliminary all-time highs set in Scandinavia on Tuesday.

FINLAND
Kilpisjärvi:  28.3°C (82.5°F)
Kittila Pokka: 30.2°C (86.4°F) 
Salla: 31.5 (88.7°F)
Sodankylä: 31.8°C (89.2°F)
Rovaniemi (capital of the Finnish province of Lapland):  32.2°C (90.0°F)

NORWAY
Sihcajavri: 29.2°C (84.6°F)
Namsskogan: 32.6°C (90.7°F)
Mo I Rana: 32.6°C (90.7°F)

SWEDEN
Katterjak Airport: 28.3°C (82.5°F)
Kvikkjokk: 32.5°C (90.5°F)

Located at an altitude of 1100 meters (3500 feet), Finland’s Tarfala Research Station is the coldest long-term reporting site in Lapland, according to weather records expert Maximiliano Herrera. The station hit 23.1°C (73.6°F) on Tuesday, smashing the all-time record of 21.4°C (70.5°F). The overnight low Monday night at Tarfala was a strikingly mild 13.3°C (55.6°F).

More records were smashed on Wednesday, including 33.4°C (92.1°F) at Kevo, Finland—the hottest temperature in reliable records for all of the province of Lapland in Finland, according to Herrera. Other all-time highs in the preliminary list for Wednesday:

FINLAND
Muonio: 30.8°C (87.4°F)
Kittila Pokka: 31.8°C (89.2°F)
Savukoski: 31.9°C (89.4°F)
Sondakyla: 32.1°C (89.8°F)
Rovaniemi:  32.2°C (90.0°F), tying the all-time high set on Tuesday
Inari: 32.6°C (90.7°F)
NORWAY
Svolvaer: 29.7°C (85.5°F)
Leknes: 29.9°C (85.8°F)

Kautokeino: 30.0°C (86.0°F)

Sandnessjoen: 30.2°C (86.4°F)
Bodo:  30.4°C (86.7°F)

Stokmarknes: 31.6°C (88.9°F)
Evenes: 32.2°C (90.0°F)
Alta: 33.0°C (91.4°F)
Bardufoss: 33.5°C (92.3°F)

SWEDEN
Katterjak Airport: 29.3°C (84.7°F)
In addition, Sweden’s northernmost weather station, Naimakka (latitude 68.683°N), hit 29.5°C (85.1°F) on Wednesday, breaking its all-time record high of 29.4°C set on July 17, 1945.

Figure 1. Smoke covers portions of Norway and Sweden on July 17, 2018, due to fires burning in Sweden. All-time record heat in Scandanavia over the past few days has led to Sweden’s most serious wildfire situation of modern times, according to the nation’s Civil Contingencies Agency (see Wednesday’s weather.com write-up on the situation). Image credit: NASA.

A tropical night in the mountains of Lapland

At the Makkaur, Norway lighthouse, located at 70.7°N–hundreds of miles inside the Arctic Circle–the temperature did not drop below 25.2°C (77.4°F) the night of July 18 – 19. According to Herrera and weather records expert Jérôme Reynaud, this destroyed the world record of highest minimum temperature for the Arctic, and is the all-time third highest minimum temperature recorded anywhere in Scandinavia. It is also the highest minimum temperature ever recorded in northern Norway (previous record for northern Norway: 24.7 °C on July 1, 1972 at Grøtøy), and for northern Scandinavia as a whole. Several other stations in Norway also set unfathomable minimum temperature marks on Thursday morning, including 20.5°C (68.9°F) at Lyngen Gjerdvassbu, Norway at 69.55°N at an elevation of 710m (1583 feet).

The insanely warm minimum temperatures are being made possible by ridiculously warm ocean temperatures in the Baltic Sea, which were more than 8°C (14°F) above average on July 18, in the northern Gulf of Bothnia between Finland and Sweden.

Here are the top three all-time warm-minimum temperatures on record in Scandinavia:

25.8°C (78.4°F), Alstadhaug, Norway, 5 July 1937, at a latitude of 63.7°N.
25.5 °C (77.9°F), Halden-Langbryggen, Norway, 9 July 1933.
25.2°C (77.4°F), Makkaur, Norway, 19 July, 2018

And these are the all-time warm minimum records by nation:

Norway highest minimum: 25.8°C, Alstadhaug, 5 July 1937
Sweden highest minimum:  23.7°C, Kullen, 10 August 1975
Finland highest minimum: 24.2°C, Kotka-Haapasaari, 1 August 2003

Has it ever hit 100°F in the Arctic?

The hottest location in the Scandinavian Arctic on Tuesday, according to Michael Theusner (Klimahaus), was Kevo (latitude 69.75°N), with a high of 32.7°F (91.0°F). If you’re wondering whether any place in or very near the Arctic has ever broken 100°F, the answer is yes—but just barely. Back on July 23, 2010, the community of Ust Moma, Russia (latitude 66.27°N, or about eight miles south of the Arctic Circle), got up to 37.8°C (100.04°F), according to weather records expert Maximiliano Herrera. That’s the warmest reliable temperature on record at or north of that latitude, he says, although there’s an equal reading of questionable veracity in the books from Prospect Creek, Alaska, on June 27, 1915. The highest reliable reading north of latitude 67°N appears to be 37.3°C (99.1°F) at Verkhoyansk, Russia (67°33’N), on July 25, 1988.

The heat across Scandinavia is being driven by a large, strong upper-level high parked over the region. The persistent high pressure has also fed unusually warm, dry conditions across the British Islands, where several all-time heat records were broken just a few days ago (see last week’s roundup from WU weather historian Chris Burt). Parts of southern England have gone more than a month without a drop of measurable rain, noted the Guardian, which also pointed out that the same type of upper-level blocking pattern can produce bitter cold across the region in winter. As this upper high builds westward, and a zone of warm maritime air approaches from the Atlantic, London could see a solid week of highs topping 80°F from Thursday onward.

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