Between the Powers of East and West
By the middle of April, spring has usually arrived in the southern half of Sweden, garnishing roadsides with yellow sun-like flowers of tussilago (coltsfoot, Tussilago Farfara), filling meadows and clearings with vitsippor (wood anemones, Anemone Nemorosa), and spotlike occurences of the increasingly rare blåsippor (blue anemones, Anemone Hepatica).
Not so this year. Despite my ardent searching along the roads, there’s no flowers in sight. The dirt roads and trails I use to walk with my dog are largely covered with ice, and makes walking quite unsafe. Nights have been cold and the ground is frozen, even if the sun has managed to melt the snow in most open places.
Sweden, and Scandinavia as a whole, is trapped between the climatical powers of east and west: high pressure anticyclones from Siberia and the Russian plains on one side, and an everlasting string of low pressure rainstorms from the North Atlantic Sea on the other side. This creates the typical Swedish weather, which simply can be characterized as “unpredictable”.
The western influence usually dominates and gives an “English” weather: the cyclones seem to be threaded on the west wind like a string of pearls, with a few sunny days in between. In the summertime, that’s quite nice: the rain keeps the greenery lush between the warm sunny days. And in spring, it melts the ice and brings out the flowers. But I could do without the winter’s arctic snowstorms from Greenland.
This year, the early spring has been dominated by a strong Siberian high pressure system, an anticyclone. The sky is clear and the nights are freezing cold. The days are bright and sunny, but the sun hasn’t been able to soften the icy ground, even if you can feel comfortable in shorts at noon if you are sitting near a wall or slope facing south! If a Russian high pressure should park over Scandinavia in summertime, as it sometimes does, it brings hot and dry air from the Russian steppe in a brutal heat wave. But if it comes in wintertime, it brings bitter Siberian cold, sometimes down to -30° C, even -40° C.
Occasionally, a weather system can approach from the Mediterranean Sea via Italy, France and Germany… and that can be just like anything.
Guess what is the most common topic of conversation in Sweden, Norway and Finland? Yes, you’re right. It’s the weather.
Designed by Endless Range Marketing, LLC.