Between 1991 and 2018, Sweden's annual average temperature rose by 1.7C compared to average temperatures in pre-industrial times, which SMHI calculated using data from the years 1861-1890. In the same period the global average temperature only rose by 0.73C.
“It is in line with what we can expect based on existing climate scenarios and calculations of how global warming might affect us, something that is already happening today,” Erik Kjellström, professor of climatology for SMHI, said in a statement presenting the findings.
“The temperature is rising faster in the Arctic, especially during the winter, and this can also be seen here in Sweden. In northern Sweden, the largest increase can be seen in winter.”
Sweden has been tracking annual average temperatures since 1860, and last year was the country's eighth hottest year since then. In the past three decades, only two years – 1996 and 2010 – have been colder than the average annual temperature in the period 1961-1990.
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.
Sweden, frequently hailed as one of the world's environmental front runners, has ratified the Paris Agreement, which calls for keeping the increase in global temperatures below 2C, and has also adopted a long-term target to reach net zero emissions by 2045.