Kevo -the Hot Spot of European Science

Kevo Subarctic Research Station has turned from one of the coolest places to the site of the hottest research in Europe. For a couple of days the weather station at Kevo (run by the Finnish Meteorological Institute) recorded the highest daily maximum temperatures among all the official meteorological stations in the whole Europe. On 31st of May Kevo station recorded the highest May temperature ever recorded in Finnish Lapland 30.5 ⁰C.  On the following day we recorded the highest temperature ever recorded on June 1st in Finland 31.7 ⁰C. Thanks to the early date for hot weather we have had a rare pleasure of enjoying the warmth wearing very little clothes without the harassment by mosquitoes.

Research assistant Heini Koivuniemi is carrying the hand reared autumnal moth larvae in the buckets.
Research assistant Heini Koivuniemi is carrying the hand reared autumnal moth larvae in the buckets.

In addition to these few exceptional record warm days the whole May was warm at Kevo. Only in 1963 the thermal sum of May has been higher at Kevo.  In this May the thermal sum (dd5⁰) was 122 which is almost twice as high as the sum in the third highest recorded year (2003).   The average sum for May during the last 30 years has been 28 dd5. According to the latest weather forecasts the temperatures continue to be quite high during next week. Growing season at Kevo is already now about three weeks ahead of the average year. This means that the thermal sum and plant growth etc. at the end of May resembled the situation on summer solstice during ‘normal’ year. This causes a lot of trouble to the researchers since their work often depends on the advancement of the growing season. Thus, researchers who had planned to come to Kevo to work with geometrid moth larvae or flowering of a certain plant have planned their timetable and booked flights etc. according to the average year. Now they have to make rapid changes to their plans. In some cases that is not possible with such a short warning and some research planned to for this summer at Kevo will not be conducted this year.

Best wishes,

Otso Suominen

Station Manager, Kevo Subarctic Research Station

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