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Home* News and Stories → Mon­th­ly tem­pe­ra­tu­re in March below average

Mon­th­ly tem­pe­ra­tu­re in March below average

The wea­ther sta­tis­tics from Lon­gye­ar­by­en have, for years on end, yiel­ded tem­pe­ra­tures abo­ve the long-term average. This has been the case for 111 mon­ths, a seri­es that star­ted in Novem­ber 2010: sin­ce then and until Febru­a­ry 2020, the­re has not been a sin­gle mon­th with an average tem­pe­ra­tu­re below the long-term sta­tis­tics.

But March 2020 tur­ned out to be the mon­th that final­ly breaks up this seri­es of more than 9 years. It is very unli­kely to be a new trend, just a cold mon­th bet­ween many war­mer ones, but still – the mon­th­ly average of March 2020 was -16.2°C or half a degree below the long-term average, accord­ing to Ketil Isak­sen from the Nor­we­gi­an meteo­ro­lo­gi­cal insti­tu­te.

Ice, Adventfjord

A cold March: fresh ice forming in Advent­fjord near Lon­gye­ar­by­en.

Half a degree below average is not exact­ly an awful lot, but nevertheless Isak­sen assu­mes that the cold win­ter gives the war­ming per­ma­frost a litt­le break: becau­se of the thin snow cover, the cold should have pene­tra­ted the ground, an effect that should last a while into the sum­mer.

The refe­rence peri­od for the long-term average is 1960-1990. As soon as the cur­rent year is over, the­re will be a new refe­rence peri­od: 1990-2020. This will incre­a­se the refe­rence average tem­pe­ra­tu­re values becau­se the­se recent deca­des have been signi­fi­cant­ly war­mer than the pre­vious ones. Hence, as the new refe­rence value will then be hig­her, we will, in the future, see more mon­ths again with average tem­pe­ra­tures below the long-term average: a result of the new sta­tis­ti­cal base rather then the end of cli­ma­te chan­ge with will keep making the Arc­tic war­mer. This is, based on all cur­rent know­ledge, not going to chan­ge any time soon. The meteo­ro­lo­gi­cal record from Lon­gye­ar­by­en air­port (Sval­bard Luft­havn) shows that the tem­pe­ra­tu­re has risen by no less than 5.6 degrees sin­ce 1961!

Ice chart, Svalbard

Ice chart as of 01st April 2020. No April Fool’s Day joke, but qui­te a lot of ice.
© Nor­we­gi­an meteo­ro­lo­gi­cal Insti­tu­te.

Cur­r­ent­ly, we can at least enjoy the fact that the­re is a good ice cover in and near Spits­ber­gen, both fast ice in coas­tal waters and drift ice, cur­r­ent­ly reaching as far south as Bear Island (Bjørnøya)!

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last modification: 2020-04-02 · copyright: Rolf Stange
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