Longyearbyen on Svalbard. Photo: Thomas Nilsen

“Summer” in Arctic midwinter

Santa got a surprise when he came home after this year’s Christmas ride. Temperatures at the North Pole were above freezing on Tuesday. Longyearbyen on Svalbard had record heat wave on Tuesday.
December 30, 2015

A weather system of low pressure with strong winds from latitudes further south sends a heat wave to the high Arctic. Although the sun has not been over the horizon since late September, temperatures at the North Pole are some 40 degrees Celsius warmer than normal.

At Svalbard’s Longyearbyen settlement, the northernmost town on the planet, temperatures on Tuesday peaked to weird +8,7 degrees Celsius, measured at the airport by Norway’s Meteorological Institute. That is warmer than mid-July average temperatures for Svalbard.

It has never before been measured so high temperature in Longyearbyen anytime in the period from November to April, reports Aftenposten with reference to the Meteorological Institute’s database. The data goes back to 1911.

A circulating path of warm air could continue around the Arctic Circle for days into January, according to computer models of the current heat wave, reports the Weather Network. Temperatures at the top of the globe will drop sharply again, but around the Arctic Circle, 15-20 degrees Celsius warmer winds than normal could be expected.

The Arctic’s climate has never had a year like 2015. Throughout the Barents Region, mainland Scandinavia, the Christmas weather has been a real roller coaster, with temperatures from above freezing one day to minus 20 Celsius the other and then raining again the third. 

For Longyearbyen, New Year’s Eve will be highly abnormal according to forcast given by yr.no with strong breeze from the south, rain and +7 degrees Celsius.

Good news for Santa Claus, though, is the weather forecast for the end of this week. North Pole temperatures are again supposed to drop to minus 40 degrees Celsius on Friday. 

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

Sections
Ecology

ADVERTISEMENT