Thursday 30 January 2014

Winter wildfires in Norway

Temperatures are about -5C. Norway experienced an unusually warm December

Arctic Wildfires In Winter: Norway Experiences Freakish Historic Wildfire In January

(Flatanger Fire during the long winter night in Norway. Image source: NRK)
30 January, 2014
Major wildfires in California in winter are bad enough… Unfortunately, now we must include Arctic Norway to the anomalous tally.
On Monday, a major wildfire erupted along the western coast of Norway near the city of Flatanger. The fire, fanned by winds ranging from 30-50 miles per hour and by a drought in which almost no precipitation has fallen since Christmas spread rapidly, rushing over the mountainous terrain to put both life and livelihood at risk.
By Wednesday, the fire had exploded to the largest wildfire recorded in Norway since World War II. It had also consumed 139 homes as it raced down the rocky mountain sides of western Norway.
The Flatanger fire mirrored a still large but less intense blaze that erupted in Norway during early December, consuming 40 homes near the town of Laerdal.
Needless to say, it is not at all normal for Norway to experience wildfires of record intensity during winter time. A clear sign that climate change together with a mangled jet stream and extreme polar amplification are well in play to create dangerous and freakish conditions.
Drought, Fuel, Wind, Ignition
Western Norway has been in the midst of an ongoing drought since late fall. The drought, spurred by a ridge in the polar Jet Stream has steered storms away from Norway and slammed them over and over into the British Isles, France and Spain. The drought left mountain scrub and thawing tundra in the region very dry and vulnerable to fire.
In recent years we have seen increased fire vulnerability in far northern regions due to thawing tundra, increasing periods of heat and drought, and, possibly, maritime emissions of flammable gasses. The tundra is full of organic material and, in certain regions, emits methane in high enough concentrations to burn. The Arctic seas have also been emitting high volumes of methane and related flammable gasses, but it has not been determined that these emissions come in high enough concentration to add a potential secondary ignition source. Though a cause has not yet been determined for the historical Flatanger fire, it is likely that a combination of drought, related dry scrub and the yearly advance of thawing tundra in the region contributed to the intensity of the blaze.
Strong winds over the drought-stricken coastal region enabled the fire, which would generally be suppressed by temperatures near freezing, to rapidly spread through the tinder-dry underbrush and sporadic regions of thawed tundra. Fire fighters have been unable to locate an ignition source at this time.
You can watch a video of this anomalous blaze racing down the Flatanger mountainsides here:

(Video source: Se Flammen Fra Luften)
Climate Change Context
Climate change drives both increasing heat, extended periods of drought in previously damp regions, and changes to the environment, especially in the Arctic, that provides more fuel for wildfires. In addition, more numerous Arctic thunderstorms provide an expanding ignition source for these blazes while the Arctic Ocean and adjacent tundra now emit prodigious volumes of methane.
It is also worth noting that both the World Meteorological Organization and UN Climate Chief Christiana Figueres have both established an ‘absolute’ link between human caused warming and increasing numbers of wildfires. And the fact that we are seeing the eruptions of major wildfires throughout the Northern Hemisphere during winter, a time when wildfires hardly ever occur, is yet more evidence that the situation is growing ever more extreme.

This article came with this very apropos comment:
This story just leaves me speechless. It speaks for itself, and requires no comment. A bit off topic, and maybe someone will comment on it. The United Kingdom is being and has been battered by storms off the Atlantic for so long now I have lost track. Major rain and wind events arrive one after the other, month after month. This weekend another one is slamming into an already heavily flooded South West England. David Cameron, a moderate climate change denier and great proponent of Fracking all of Britain as fast as well can be drilled, has taken personal charge of dealing with the floods in Somerset Levels. Now, this never makes US news, nor does the great Alaskan heatwave, nor do these Norway fires, nor does anything but the minor cold snap brought on by tropical heat streaming into the Arctic to push the polar vortex south. NO, these stories are NOT covered. This is a deliberate attempt to cover up mass climate change from the public, this is due to corporate ownership of media and it slavish behavior to fossil fuel industry. You can read about how cold a Siberian city is today in the Daily Mail, you can read about 2 inches of snow in Atlanta in the New York Times, YET, all the stories of record heat and the complete collapse of normal arctic weather patterns and these crazy blocking patterns causing droughts and record rain. NOPE, these are off limits. I read Orwell in High School 1984 with it’s control of news present and past, well this is in full operation in the US and British Main Stream Media. They disgust me, as if their children and grand children will escape the world wide disaster that draws nearer than anyone dared predict. What we see right now, today has put the almighty fear of god into me. None of this was supposed to happen or begin to happen till earliest 2050 to 2100. Imagine if you will, what will this blog be writing about when the next major El Nino develops and heat comes roaring out of that sea water where the energy is being stored. Wild fires in Norway in January burning hundreds of building? Really, that is Science Fiction level events.

From earlier in the month - 

Northern Europe sees unusually mild December
OSLO (Norway): While part of North America is suffering through a record freeze, northern Europe is enjoying unusually balmy temperatures that are disturbing wildlife, traffic and the winter sports season.

9 January, 2014

The month of December was one of the mildest in a century in the Nordic countries, according to meteorologists, with temperatures exceeding their normal seasonal average by four to five degrees Celsius in Norway and Finland.

Oslo experienced its warmest Christmas since records began in 1937, while in Helsinki and southern Finland the second half of December was the mildest in 30 years. In Koege outside Copenhagen the mercury reached 11.6 degrees C on Christmas Eve.

This year began in a similar vein: pavements in all the Scandinavian capitals were uncharacteristically free of ice and snow, with the white stuff appearing only briefly in Oslo and Stockholm in early December.

Swedish daily Dagens Nyheter said several types of migratory birds have yet to leave for warmer climes, and showed cherry blossoms that normally only appear in the spring.

In the north, winter has arrived, but in the south it's autumn according to the meteorological definition,” the Swedish Meteorological and Hydrological Institute (SMHI) said.

On Norway's west coast, local newspaper Sunmoereposten published reader photographs of crocuses, daisies and dandelions, and budding branches of honeysuckle.

The lack of snow forced the organisers of the Norway Ski Championships, held in mid-January, from the town of Molde to the more reliable location of Lillehammer, which hosted the 1994 Winter Olympics.

In Finland, the snow-free weather is worrying the organisers of the cross country skiing championships set to be held in Vantaa from January 17 to 19, amid fears that it may be too warm to cover the trails with artificial snow.

In Denmark, outdoor skating rinks designed to withstand temperatures of 5 C were covered with water this week.

Finnish roads were rapidly deteriorating due to the constant shifts between sub-zero temperatures during the night and warmer weather during the day, Jukka Karjalainen, director for road maintenance at the Finnish Transport Agency, told daily Helsingin Sanomat.—AFP

No comments:

Post a Comment

Note: only a member of this blog may post a comment.