Less snow cover, shorter winters in Finland since 1960s

Snow cover averages across many areas of Finland have decreased between the years of 1961-2014, according to a study carried out by researchers at the Finnish Meteorological Institute (FMI).

“Snow conditions in high‐latitude regions are changing in response to climate warming, and these changes are likely to accelerate as the warming proceeds,” the report’s authors wrote.

The maximum annual amounts of snow cover in southern and western Finland – and locally in some central areas – have decreased by an average of 2-4 cm every ten years during 1961-2014.

However, there was no statistically significant change in snow cover amounts in northern Finland during that 53-year period, according to the FMI.

Researcher Anna Luomaranta said maximum snow cover averages measured around 20-40 cm in south-western Finland and more than one metre in Finnish Lapland.
According to the research, the duration of snow cover also decreased during those five decades.

Luomaranta said that the snowy season arrived later particularly in central, south-western and western parts of northern Ostrobothnia.

Snow cover melted earlier especially in western Finland, according to the researcher.

The disappearance of snow cover took place about four days earlier each decade during that period in western areas, and about one to three days earlier across the rest of the country, according to Luomaranta.