This January has been a stormy month here in this area with a series of severe weather systems moving past, one (Gyda) with a name, resulting in many trees down, flooding, landslides and avalanches, but my rocky hillside has escaped lightly with just a few branches ripped from trees. With winds largely blowing from the west it’s also been mild with snow coming and going and no frost in the soil. Higher up, there¨’s been large amounts of snow accumulating. The latest extreme weather system has given a forecast of very high waves on the Norwegian coast with a deep 960 hPa low located off Eastern Greenland and extensive strong wind fields between there and Norway. Due to the limited fetch lengths in the fjord (maximum about 20 km across the fjord) significant wave heights above 1.5 to 2m are rare. With very strong winds from NE blowing across the fjord and the right stage of the tide, there were some impressive waves in the bay earlier this week. The second video shows a woodpigeon (ringdue) hunched up against the wind.
Sea smoke has formed over the fjord in the current cold spell. Locally, thanks to the warming affect of the fjord it didn’t go much below -15C in the night. It’s significantly colder on the other side of the fjord where it was about -20C this morning, cold air (below -30C currently inland) sinking along the major river valley (Stjørdalselven) into the fjord basin. Sea smoke forms when a light wind of very cold air mixes with a shallow layer of saturated warm air immediately above the warmer water. The warmer air is cooled beyond the dew point and can no longer hold as much water vapor, so the excess condenses out. The effect is similar to the “steam” produced over a hot bath or a hot drink, or even an exercising person (Wikipedia). Thus, it’s confined to the water and we almost never have fog on land here. The smoke tends to form thickest on the other side of the fjord where it’s coldest. The sea smoke was constantly changing this morning, witness these pictures and the video where the low lying smoke drifts quickly from land to fjord, whereas the waves that can be seen are coming from a different direction, probably driven by the sinking air (wind) coming out of the river valley in a different direction.
11th February: Still cold at -15C this morning (¨20C on the other side of the fjord and down to -40C inland). Two new videos added below (at the top):
I was surprised yesterday to see my first swallows of 2020, 3 of them hunting in the garden for a few minutes. We’re experiencing the coldest weather this late in spring in my lifetime according to an article in the Trondheim newspaper yesterday, translating as “This burst of cold air from the North Pole is giving the coldest weather this late in the spring in 65 years”, my own arrival on this planet on 29th April 1955 coincided with this. In the UK “On the 17th May 1955, the heaviest SNOWFALL in London in May for about 100 years occurred when snow fell for 2-3 hours across practically the whole of England, accompanied by a widespread SEVERE GALE. One of the LATEST SNOWFALL events across southern England known”. I apologise for the disruption ;) I’m one of the few who enjoy this weather as it means that my perennial vegetables grow slower and actually yield more over a longer period as it’s too cold for flowers to appear but perfect for leaf production! I do feel sorry though for gardeners at higher elevations who will be getting a lot of snow this week :(
The swallows probably arrived on my birthday when the temperature crept over 10C! In this video they were flying over a maple tree whose flowers were trying to open! The 8 day forecast is just as cold with not a single day above 10C!
After the storm some days ago now, it was interesting to see how evenly the seed from Norway maple / sycamore and birch (spiss- og platanlønn og bjørk) was spread evenly over the whole garden…it’s easy to imagine how the more open parts of the garden would quickly transform to forest given the chance!
Most trees had an enormous production of seed and berries this year following the hot summer in 2018 and mild winter last year.
While most of the citizens of Europe and its plants are “cooking” in the heatwave, we are struggling to reach double figures up here and me and the plants are very happy with that :)
Our resident robin (rødstrupe) was nevertheless singing, balancing at the top of this spruce tree last night!
I was woken this morning to the sound of swallows (låvesvale) outside and a flock of some 15-20 birds were feeding low over the tree tops encouraged northwards last week by the warm weather over the whole of southern Norway and a week of temperatures close to 20C and a maximum of 22C in Trondheim. The temperature has now plummeted 15-20C and it’s rained! The hazy dusty warm weather due to farmers ploughing the dry land (a month of drought) in combination with the arrival of Saharan dust and pollen laden air is replaced with a heavy snow warning, although it’s unlikely to be a frost here on the coast. So, those swallows are in for a shock!!