Damage fear as storm strengthens

Sweden is set for a wind of change and the forecast is looking bleak. Bad weather is brewing and there are fears that Swedish forests won't be able to weather the storm.

The Swedish Met Office (SMHI) has issued a storm warning for parts of southern Sweden. Temperatures are expected to drop rapidly over the next few days and gale force winds are on their way.

In January this year, the storm they named Gudrun wreaked havoc through the region. And there are concerns that the damaged forests will not survive a repeat performance.

As Hans Samuelsson from the National Board of Forestry explains to Monday’s DN.se: “After Gudrun, many of the trees’ root systems have been weakened so they can easily fall down.”

“When wind speeds reach 24 metres per second it starts to concern us. The forests have already been damaged and we really don’t want to see any more.”

On Sunday night, gusts of 25 metres per second were recorded. Still somewhat milder, however, than Gudrun’s breakneck pace which peaked at 30 metres per second.

Monday’s Expressen views the Swedish climate a little differently, observing the season’s record high temperatures so far.

The “heatwave” as they call it may be a little extreme, as is their remark that the country has still been enjoying Sweden’s customary “sitting outside” weather.

But temperatures around the country have been around five degrees above average for November. In Stockholm the average daily temperature has been 8.8 degrees compared to the usual 4.1 degrees. And the locals of Östersund enjoyed 11.7 degrees last week – not since 1938 has the town experienced such a record high for the time of year.

As Expressen explains, the mild conditions are a result of high pressure over Russia and the Atlantic, allowing a warm front to sweep over Sweden. The newspaper sensibly concedes, however, that it will get colder pretty soon.

And talking about the extremes of the extremities; researchers are now raising the alarm over how climate change will affect Sweden in the future.

As a result of the greenhouse effect, Sweden could become a seasonal danger zone with heatwaves, drought, floods and violent storms.

Monday’s Expressen quotes a UN climate committee report which concluded that in just 70 years time, rainfall will become more severe, sea levels will rise and parts of the country could disappear altogether.

According to SMHI climate researcher Gunn Persson the risk is that we in the north won’t have time to adjust to the heat. “Illness could spread because fauna will be affected,” she says. “Vermin such as rats and Colorado beetles could take over our forests and ticks and mosquitoes will increase in numbers.”

Sea levels are expected to rise ninety centimetres over the next century and the coast of southern Sweden could simply drown. “The biggest danger is that we don’t know what’s going to happen,” adds Persson.

As the saying goes: ‘There’s no such thing as bad weather, only bad clothing’. The forecast suggests, however, that the old Swedish adage won’t be much use 100 years from now.

How’s the weather in your neck of the woods? Discuss!