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CLIMATE

Sweden’s temperature increasing more than the global average

NASA scientists announced this week that 2018 was the fourth hottest year on record, continuing a trend in which the past five years were the hottest collective five-year period in history and 18 of the 19 warmest years on record have occurred since 2001.

Sweden's temperature increasing more than the global average
2018 saw record highs in Sweden, including this reading in Malmö on August 8th. Photo: Johan Nilsson/TT
In Sweden, temperatures are rising even faster than the average. Since 1860, the temperature in Sweden has increased by 1.5C, while the global average increase is roughly 1 degree. 
 
“We clearly see a trend that it is getting warmer in Sweden, and this is most noticeable during the winter,” Gustav Strandberg, a climate scientist at the Swedish Meteorological and Hydrological Institute (SMHI), said. 
 
The reason that Sweden’s temperature increase is outpacing the rest of the Earth is its proximity to the Arctic. As the Arctic ice retreats, Sweden gets warmer. 
 
“The ice is cold and lies like a cover over the sea’s surface. Just a bit of warming can cause the ice to melt, which in turn leads to the water heating up the air further,” Strandberg said. 
 
One result of the rising temperatures in Sweden will be “fewer white winters in the future,” Strandberg said. For years, SMHI has been warning that popular ski resorts in Sweden could be without any thick snow by the end of the century. Already this year, the southern parts of the country face the possibility of missing winter altogether
 
But as last summer’s heatwave, drought and wildfires showed, the effects of a warmer Sweden will not only be felt during the winter. A governmental climate study from 2017 warned that summer temperatures in northern Sweden could increase by as much as 7C by 2080. Meanwhile, the likelihood of additional record-breaking summers increases along with the average temperature. 
 
“No one really knows what will happen. But the likelihood of extreme weather with drought and forest fires is increasing,” Jonas Allerup, a climate analyst at the Swedish Environmental Protection Agency, said. 
 
Rising temperatures will also lead to sea ice in the Arctic melting faster. According to a report in the journal Nature, this, in turn, will slow ocean currents that according to the researchers' simulations could mean increasingly extreme climate situations around the globe. 
 
“Here in Sweden, this could lead to the warming slowing down, but not so much that the temperature rise will stop,” Strandberg said. 
 
Allerup said that we have not yet reached the point of no return and that it is not too late to reach the climate goals laid out by the Paris Agreement, which calls for keeping the increase in global temperatures below 2C. But to do so, he stressed, emissions must decrease drastically over the next ten to 12 years.
 
“If we are to stick to a maximum increase of 1.5C then the Paris Agreement alone is not enough. We need to go one step further, but right now things look dark,” he said.

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WEATHER

Record crowds on southern Swedish beaches despite coronavirus warnings

Temperatures of 30 degrees and up have caused southern Swedish sun worshipers to flock in record numbers to beaches and bathing areas.

Record crowds on southern Swedish beaches despite coronavirus warnings
Långholmsbadet, Stockholm in Saturday's 30-degree August heat. Photo: Fredrik Sandberg / TT

The police can do nothing about the congestion as long as no crimes are committed, as the Public Order Act which bans public gatherings of more than 50 people does not cover beaches and bathing areas. 

In Tylösand outside Halmstad, as many as 40,000 beach visitors gathered on Saturday.

At Kämpingestranden in Höllviken in Skåne, there has been a record number of visitors with over 10,000 guests, reports Kvällsposten. 

“It is an uncontrollable chaos. It is completely full”, says Pontus Carlsson, head of security at Falsterbonäset's lifeguard, to the newspaper.

According to Carlsson, it is impossible to get down to the beach due to the congestion. For security reasons, he does not let his staff walk around among the guests. 

“Where I stand now I do not see sand, I only see people.”

He and the staff have been forced to turn away cars that intended to park incorrectly. 

“It gets quite an angry atmosphere quite quickly, when everyone just goes to the beaches in a completely panicked way.”

The police in the South region have not responded to any cases in beach and bathing areas on Sunday.

“Ensuring that people keep their distance during corona times is not a police task.  In general, some land is privately owned and some is municipally owned, but no land belongs to the police.

“Our mission is order and safety – we come when people start threatening and fighting or when there is an accident,” police spokesman Ewa-Gun Westford told TT.

“I know that Simrishamn municipality and the road association produced a temporary emergency solution yesterday in Knäbäck outside Rörum beach. They put up signs that said ‘full – please choose another beach’.

Westford says that throughout her life in Österlen she has never experienced such crowds. 

“I'm out walking my dog ​​in Ystad now, and it's completely insane. There are an incredible number of people.”

The ban on gathering more than 50 people does not apply to beaches and bathing areas, but only to activities that can be classified as public gatherings or public events. 

Crowded in Pålsundet in Saturday's 30-degree August heat. Photo: Fredrik Sandberg / TT 

It includes theatre performances, cinemas, concerts, amusement parks, sporting events, dance performances, markets, street parties, festivals, demonstrations, lectures, religious gatherings and fairs. 

These events are regulated by the Public Order Act, which means that organisers risk being sentenced to a fine or imprisonment for a maximum of six months if the ban is broken. 

For other environments and activities where many people gather, the Swedish Public Health Agency's recommendations apply, which are not statutory.

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