Extreme weather

The climate crisis hits Norway just as 2020 begins

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The coast of Møre and Romsdal in western Norway. Photo credit: AFP.

By Anders Lorenzen

2020 had barely begun before its first extreme weather record was set.

In Norway, which normally experiences below zero temperatures at this time of year, temperatures reached 19 degrees C on the first days of January in the village of Sunndalsora in Western Norway. This was more than 25 degrees C above the monthly average and the mayor of the local municipality Rauma, Yvonne Wold, explained it was so hot that people were walking around in T-shirts. 

This new temperature record doubles up as the highest one measured in January across all winter months in Norway; December, January and February. The previous January record high was in Sunndalsora was 17.4C, also in Sunndalsora. The area also held the December (18.3C) and February (18.9C) Norway maximum records.

Norwegians are usually skiing during this time of year, in fact, skiing is the most popular sport in the country. But there is increased concern about the impact climate change is having and will continue to have on winter sport there and around the world. 

This extreme weather event may reignite the debate about how much Norway is doing to tackle climate change as the country is currently the largest oil and gas producer in Europe. 

According to meteorologists, the direct cause of this particular warming event was ‘foehn winds’ which are warm gusts of downward wind that occur on the on mountain ranges. 

The UK’s Met Office recently predicted that 2020 could be one os the warmest years ever recorded. We might not have to wait much longer for the next extreme weather record being set as the beginning of 2020 has been dominated by extreme weather events. 

Meanwhile, Norwegians will be hoping for colder weather soon so they can put their ski boots on again. 

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