The heat is a symptom of climate change

Nice to swimNice to swim.Photo: Erik Johansen / NTB scanpix

The extreme spring heat is a symptom of changes in the climate, according to researcher,Hans Olav Hygen.


Over the past few weeks, people in southern Norway have experienced something unmistakable about a good and warm summer.

But the calendar shows May, not July. At the Meteorological Institute, they are working to get an overview of new temperature records, and it will be very likely to be many broken.

In Oslo, a new record was set on May 15th, when the grade scale showed 27 degrees.

“It’s easy to enjoy warm weather in Norway.But this is not only positive,” said Hygen, who is a climate researcher and department manager at the Meteorological Institute.

A monster

Hygen emphasised that he is very careful about linking individual events to climate change. Basically, the spring heat is due to a high pressure zone that has been there for a long time.

‘’At the same time, this enters into a pattern. In recent years,there have been more frequent hot showers, it is quite clear that it gets warmer.

The average temperature of the globe has risen 1.1 degrees since the late 1800s, mainly due to man-made climate change emissions, according to the UN climate panel. In Norway, the temperature increase has been approximately 1 degree.

Hygen said this underlying heat increase comes in addition to the effect of the high pressure that is located across southern Norway.

“A few decades ago, it would probably not be so hot in the same situation.’’

Changes in April

In addition to the overall warming, some researchers believe that the weather in our part of the world is affected by climate change in a more indirect way.

According to this theory, the warming of the Arctic contributes to weakening of the jet stream – a wind system high up in the atmosphere.

This may cause both heat and cold periods to last longer than they would otherwise.

“There is a very real possibility that the jet flow will be affected by climate change. We see a little more variability both ways,” said Hygen.

Just a few months ago, new cold records were put in place in southern Norway.But Hygen emphasised that the heat is now more extreme than the cold in early April.

The cold records were broken in weather stations that have not been very long in operation, and therefore have not been exposed to really cold periods before.

Now it’s up to May records on stations that have been run for decades.

One of these is the weather station at Færder lighthouse where temperatures have been measured since 1895.

‘’Big global challenge’’

Hygen described the unusual spring heat as a symptom of climate change.

It constitute a major global challenge, emphasised the researcher.

Pakistan has also had unusually hot weather lately. In April there were new heat waves, and one and a half weeks ago there were reports that more than 60 people had died of heat stroke in the big city of Karachi, something that was denied by local authorities.

According to Hygen, both Pakistan and India are very vulnerable to climate change and rising temperatures.

“Some places in these countries are approaching a limit that could make it impossible to live there over time. Well over 1 billion people live there, and in some areas we must expect people to move,” said the researcher.


© NTB scanpix / #Norway Today