A snowy winter is a foretaste of the future, says Yle’s meteorologist

During this snowy and relatively cold winter, many have wondered – with jokes or not – what happened to in , Kerttu Kotakorpi writes in his column on Sunday.

Of course, the in winter does not tell us about long-term climate trends. In fact, however, this season has been a testament to what climate change is doing to our winter, he writes.

Winters and snowy times are getting shorter and rainfall is increasing, says Kotakorpi, who recently published a book about the weather and nature of Finland’s future.

A new reference period was introduced last autumn, so the weather conditions are now being compared to the last 30 years, 1991-2020. Compared to these years, the past winter has been at a normal . February and January were slightly milder than usual and December colder.

The rainiest start of the year in places ever

At the same time, the first months of this year have brought with them an exceptional amount of rainfall. In some parts of the south, central and eastern part of the country, they have been the wettest on record in January and February.

The monthly record was also broken in February, when the rainfall in , the southeasternmost municipality in the country, was 134.8 millimeters. The previous record in February was for 2016, which did not last long.

The varying amounts of snow, sleet and rain have caused headaches for road maintenance workers and motorists – not to mention cyclists and pedestrians.

Over the last decade, winter, the period when the average daily temperature is constantly below freezing, has shortened by two weeks in southwestern Finland.

At the same time, the snow cover period has shortened in many parts of the south and center of the country by two weeks, and even more on the coast.

Sawing temperatures bring dangerously icy surfaces

Rainfall has increased by several percent in ten years and by almost a tenth in the last 30 years. Growth has been strongest from December to February. Depending on the temperature and other factors, this rainfall can naturally fall as snow or rain.

Winter temperatures fluctuate more and more around the freezing point, as they have often done this winter. This creates slippery surfaces for roads and sidewalks, which increases traffic accidents and pedestrian falls.

Such conditions also bring problems for wildlife, with hard shells forming on the surface of the snow, which makes it difficult to find food underneath it, Kotakorpi says.

+ 12C on Sunday

"Surrounded by snowshoes, some of us are already looking forward to spring and hoping for lots of sun, slowly warming days and frosty nights. Under such conditions, the snow melts slowly and in a controlled manner and the risk of flooding is reduced. Fortunately, everyone is advancing, at least for the time being, largely in such dry weather," Kotakorpi writes in the end.

The Finnish Meteorological Institute announced on Saturday that mercury exceeded 10 degrees Celsius in Central Finland for the first time this year. After a cold night across the country, a 12-degree reading followed in on Sunday.

Source: The Nordic Page

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