Warm temperatures set new record

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Fog blanketed Norway’s capital again on Thursday morning as unusually warm air temperatures met the cold fjord and ground. The last days of February set new records as the warmest ever logged in many parts of the country.

Fully 65 weather stations in Norway logged February 28 as the warmest day so far this year, while many could also record the highest temperatures for a day in February ever in the history of record-keeping.

Temperatures almost like summer
Both Tveitsund in the country of Telemark and Landvik in the county of Vest-Agder set all-time records for February. It was 15.2 degrees Celsius (around 60F) on Tuesday and some thermometers in southern Norway showed 16C, compared to just 5C  (40F) in Athens.

After two record cold winters in a row, this winter has been mild in Norway. There’s been a lot of snow many places, but not what the Norwegians call sprengkulde, when temperatures fall way below the freezing point.

Meteorologists link it to a phenomenon that they call the nord-atlantiske oscillasjon (NAO). Norwegian Broadcasting (NRK) reported that a “positive NAO” occurs when there’s a strong low-pressure system over Iceland and an equally strong high-pressure systems over the Azores in the Atlantic. That sends warm and moist winds towards northern Europe.

A “negative NAO” occurs when the differences between pressure systems over Iceland and the Azores aren’t so extreme. Then the warmer and moister winds head towards southern Europe, while northern Europe gets dry and cold weather.

‘Quite special’
Last fall, reports NRK, the NAOs were neutral and climate researchers thought this winter could go either way. It’s turned out to be relatively mild despite a brief period of extreme cold in late January and the first days of February.

“This winter’s weather has been quite special,” climate researcher Rasmus Benestad told NRK. “The NAOs have been positive, so we haven’t had the extreme cold from the north and east. Instead there’s been more wind from milder areas.”

The unseasonably warm temperatures of late have contributed to avalanche danger in the mountains, threaten an early end to the ski season and already have prompted pollen warnings for those suffering from allergies. Meteorologists are reluctant to confirm that spring has arrived, though, despite temperatures around 11C all around the Oslo area on Wednesday and 15C in Kristiansand. Colder temperatures were predicted during the weekend and through next week.

Views and News from Norway/Nina Berglund

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