why summer is backwards in scandinavia and southern europe

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After a historic heat wave and when it seemed that summer was not going to give us a break, Spain has ended June with more than reasonable temperatures (even mild in some parts of the country) for this time of year. The north and west of the peninsula is ending the month with 5 or 10 degrees less than usual.

However, it is enough to look a little further north to see that we are an exception: Lapland has just registered its hottest day since 1914 and the thermometers of the entire Scandinavian peninsula are above 30 °. I repeat: 30°. In June. In the Baltic countries.

In technical terms: it’s a barbarity. Indeed, while our thermometers withstand the summer climb quite well, northern Europe is an oven. We talk about temperatures between 12 and 18 ºC above than is normal for this time of year.

To give us an idea, it is not only that Finland has lived through June hotter since there are records: that is, since 1844; is that the city of Tromso (in Norway) has also exceeded 30 degrees; something that had not been seen in the last 40 years. And, let’s remember, Tromso is 400 kilometers north of the Arctic Circle.

The question is no longer when the heat wave will go away.  The question is if it ever will

Has the world gone mad? What’s going on?. Of course, it is not something that affects only the Baltic countries. The heat wave crosses the entire continent, from Algeria (which is having temperatures of up to 49°) to Scandinavia and the Arctic (where 24 temperature records have been broken) passing through Italy (40°), Switzerland, the Czech Republic, Slovakia , Poland and East Germany. However, on the sides of that infernal corridor, tongues of cold air reign.


In fact, that is the very explanation. Europe is currently between two low pressure zones (one west of the British Isles and the other in the Black Sea). This has generated an anticyclonic ridge, the corridor of warm air, which goes from the south to the north bringing high temperatures, but also heat (as you are noticing in Germany and Poland). This atmospheric circulation mechanism, in turn, causes cold air from the North Atlantic to be injected overhead.

A very very rare phenomenon… It is always difficult to know how extraordinary a particular weather phenomenon is. Our climate memory is short and it shows. However, this is not normal. The Extreme Forecast Index gives very high numbers for the entire central and eastern area of ​​Europe: the temperatures, without going any further, are in the 98% and 99% percentiles. Come on, it’s something we’ve seen very little.

…which obviously has consequences. The biggest problem is that most of these countries are not prepared for the heat. Keep in mind that even more accustomed countries like France have broken more than 200 local records and suffered large fires. More to more: climate models point to the fire season it only grows driven by this type of phenomenon that has already affected Japan or New Zealand.

Beyond climate and forestry, heat comes with a myriad of associated problems. In the north, the cities are prepared to withstand the problems of the cold very well, but not the heat. In this sense, as soon as the situation continues, tropical temperatures can fill hospitals with heat stroke and generate problems of all kinds. That is the main consequence of the weather “going crazy”: that we have to be prepared for almost anything. And we are not.

Image | Mr Thinktank

After a historic heat wave and when it seemed that summer was not going to give us a break, Spain…

After a historic heat wave and when it seemed that summer was not going to give us a break, Spain…

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