Winters are supposed to be fluctuating between warm and cold

Vapaa Sana
Editorial
31.1.2012

When reading this, January has already turned into February and the traditionally coldest month is behind us.
Toronto weather has altered like a roller coaster all the through the beginning of this year. Minus fifteen temperatures have soon turned to high single digits on the plus side.
The winters, or actually any seasons in the northern latitudes are never alike. Average temperatures can fluctuate widely.
Sometimes the feel of cold depends on the air humidity and the winds. When it’s calm even the double digit cold doesn’t feel too bad, while in severe northern wind will turn a zero temperature freezing.
Toronto’s blight is an open lake next to us. A big reservoir seldom, if ever, becomes frozen. This, for its part, humidifies the air and makes the winter weather feel colder.

This winter has been milder than average. It can be interpreted in two ways. Either our climate is warming in general or this is just within a normal range. “The years are not brothers”, goes an old Finnish phrase.
In Finland and Scandinavia, at the mercy of the Gulf stream, the winters have fluctuated more dramatically. The weather records have been broken both ways.
In our homeland they had warmer than usual fall season and early winter. It rained at the Yuletide. But then came January and started a long frost period that’s still ongoing. The last winters have been nice and cold, but before that there were milder ones.
The old folks still remember a winter 25 years ago, in 1987 January average temperature was about -20 degrees and the Bay of Finland froze heavily. All-time records were broken all over the country.

Only three winters later, 1990, the January was the warmest in the century and the average was above zero. After this the climate has zigzagged from one extremity to another.
Two summers ago they broke all time heat records in Finland and also the summer 2002 was very hot and summer 1997 so far the hottest on the whole northern hemisphere.
On the opposite side October 2002 was by far all time coldest. Permanent snow landed in mid-month and lasted until April and there were even -15 temperatures in October.
Of course these have happened before. Grandparents recall the hot summers in Karelia in the thirties. However they were redounded upon the war years with record colds.
No matter what, somehow one gets a feeling that in the youth there was always snow in winter and sunshine in summer. Or is it just time and nostalgia that makes the memories golden?

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