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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