dec19temps

STARTING NEW YEAR/DECADE OF ABNORMALITY: Streak of above-average temps in Longyearbyen extends to 109 months as December 2.6C warmer than normal

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Hey, at least this year we didn’t get rain during the Christmas holidays.

Longyearbyen’s streak of above-average temperatures is now more than nine years long at 109 months entering the 2020s as December’s average temperature of -10.8 degrees Celsius was 2.6 degrees warmer than the average of minus 13.4 degrees, according to the Norwegian Meteorological Institute. Of course, that “normal” average is based on the years 1960-1990, which plenty of experts say skews the “new normal” during the past few decades due to climate change.

Nearly all days were mildly to moderately above average, aside from below average periods Dec. 7-11, 17-21 and 30-31. The biggest departure from “normal” occurred Dec. 5 at minus 1.8 degrees, compared to the historical average of 12.5 degrees.

Also, while Longyearbyen had a very white Christmas thanks to fresh snowfall on Christmas Eve, when 1.7 of the 3.0 millimeters of precipitation during the month fell, the total was far below the monthly average of 16.0 millimeters.

Temperatures in Svalbard and further north during some Decembers in recent years have resulted in global headlines, including a record heatwave in 2016 that saw temperatures 20C above normal at the North Pole. The previous year, when Longyearbyen’s worst blizzard in decades triggered an avalanche that destroyed 11 homes and killed two people, a rainstorm and temperatures reaching 8C a few days later caused severe flooding and nearly all of the snow accumulation to disappear.

A study published earlier last year asserts Svalbard may be 10 degrees warmer by the year 2100 (20 degrees during winter in the northernmost part) and receive 65 percent more precipitation in a “high emissions” scenario. A “medium” scenario includes a seven-degree temperature rise and 45 percent rise in precipitation.

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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