Hot and wet: Longyearbyen sets precipitation, heat records in October; 71st straight month of above-average temps

landslide

A portion of Vei 501 is buried during a rainstorm in October of 2016. Record rainfall during the fall resulted in the worst landslides situation in Longyearbyen in 40 years. The road is being closed as of Friday afternoon due to a storm expected this weekend. Photo by Mark Sabbatini / Icepeople.

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It’s not exactly earth-shattering news that this October was by far the warmest and wettest in Longyearbyen – that part already happened with all the landslides that occurred during the month due to the weird weather.

But some figures beyond the month and beyond Longyearbyen certainly might rattle folks.

The average temperature in Longyearbyen during October was 3.2 degrees Celsius, 8.7 degrees above normal and 1.8 degrees above the previous record set in 2000, according to the Norwegian Meteorological Institute. The highest temperature was 10.1 degrees on Oct. 7, the first time the city a double-digit temperature has been recorded at Svalbard Airport in recorded history.

“Svalbard Airport has not had a single month of below-normal temperatures since November of 2010, meaning 71 months in a row,” a report issued by the institute notes.

Similar records were set elsewhere in Svalbard including Ny-Ålesund at 1.9 degrees (7.6  degrees above normal and 1.2 higher than the previous record), Bjørnøya at 5.1 degrees (5.6 degrees above normal, 1.3 degrees above previous record), Hopen at 3.8 degrees (7.1 degrees above normal, 1.5 degrees above previous record) and Svea at 3.3 degrees ( 9.0 degrees above normal.

A record 57 millimeters of precipitation fell at Svalbard Airport during October, “which is 407 percent of normal,” according to the institute’s report. The wettest spot in Svalbard was Isfjord Radio with 138.7 millimeters, which is 308 percent of normal.

Svalbard’s weather coincides with monthly and long-term temperature records being set across the Arctic (The average of minus 1.1 degrees in Barrow, Alaska, for example, was about 7 degrees above normal) and a new record low for sea ice cover during October.   The sea ice covered an average of 6.40 million square kilometers, 400,000 square kilometers less than the previous record set in October of 2007, according to the National Snow and Ice Data Center.

About Post Author

Mark Sabbatini

I'm a professional transient living on a tiny Norwegian island next door to the North Pole, where once a week (or thereabouts) I pollute our extreme and pristine environment with paper fishwrappers decorated with seemingly random letters that would cause a thousand monkeys with a thousand typewriters to die of humiliation. Such is the wisdom one acquires after more than 25 years in the world's second-least-respected occupation, much of it roaming the seven continents in search of jazz, unrecognizable street food and escorts I f****d with by insisting they give me the platonic tours of their cities promised in their ads. But it turns out this tiny group of islands known as Svalbard is my True Love and, generous contributions from you willing, I'll keep littering until they dig my body out when my climate-change-deformed apartment collapses or they exile my penniless ass because I'm not even worthy of washing your dirty dishes.
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