Here comes the sun

January 19th marks the first sunbeam over the horizon outside Kirkenes in Finnmark, northern Norway.

With the sun just over the horizon, temperatures in the northernmost parts of the Barents Region fell to minus 40, and counting.


The polar night is gone as the sun was barely above the horizon at 69 degrees north on Sunday. With the sun comes the cold and the abnormal warm winter in northern Scandinavia and northwestern Russia seems to be over.

This photo of the first sunbeam over Finnmark in northern Norway was taken on Sunday. Then, the sun had been under the horizon since late November. The sun rose just before noon and set again 12 minutes later. 

From now, the daylight lasts longer every day and already by mid-March the days are longer in cities like Tromsø and Murmansk than in more southern cities like Oslo and Moscow. 

Believing that the sun is back means the heat is on? Not so. With the sun comes the high pressure, also known as the anti-cyclone, and that causes temperatures to drop. So also this year. Temperature in Kautokeino in inner Finnmark was minus 40 degrees Celsius Sunday morning. In Murmansk, on Russia’s Kola Peninsula, temperatures over the last four-five days have been down to minus 35. That is cold. Abnormal freezing Murmansk to be on the Gulf-stream heated Barents Sea coast.

In Levi, the most popular ski-resort in Finnish Lapland, downhill skiing is not very tempting with temperature this weekend down to minus 38. 

The freezing Barents Region starting 2014 is succeeding a record warm 2013 with an average temperature in northern Norway 1,7 degrees Celsius warmer than average. Parts of Finnmark had two to three degrees warmer than normal in average over the year, with a peak in early June when temperatures reached up to plus 30.