extreme winter 1940/41.
Cold pole Skagerrak! Did man contributed?
By Arnd Bernaerts, 04 November 2010
Fig.1, 2 & 3
believe in natural climate variability. It seems the
Norwegian too. 70 years ago the year and winter in
Norway was extreme cold[. Actually the regions adjacent
to the Skagerrak, South Norway, West Sweden, and North
Denmark experienced the lowest temperature in winter
1940/41 for many decades. From a global perspective
the world was warmer than the average from 1900-1939,
but colder from Great Britain, via Scandinavia, and
north-east wards (see: Fig.1, D/J/F, Giss) The last
very cold winter 2009/10 was almost modest compared
with what happen at that time. At Oslo/Blindern the
mean winter temperatures (D/J/F) had been more than 3°C
colder as in winter 2009/10.
The lowest temperature in last winter was -20.5 °C (9.
(see Fig.2 annual,, Fig. 3, D/J/F, Giss) Only few years later
Hesselberg et al. stated that many low temperatures all over Norway
had been the coldest ever observed in January 1941.
What do the Norwegian think about this winter? It was definitely a
remarkable winter for the Skagerrak region, but presumably chopped
down as ‘natural climate variability’, as the reasons for the
event have been never scientifically investigated and explained. A
Fig.4 & 5
assumption of a mere ‘natural climate variability’ event, would
be certainly an unforgivable flaw, if human activities contributed
to the cause Lets briefly recall that the 1930s had been the warmest
since the Little Ice Age. That turned suddenly to the coldest
winters in Europe in the moment World War II started in September
1939. The first war winter became the coldest in Northern Europe for
more than 100 years. The third even succeeded the 1st war
winter in some parts. Towards the end of this two winters naval
activities run high in the North and Baltic Sea. That was quite
different prior the winter 1940/41. The Baltic Sea had had a year
without belligerent activities. The naval activities and fights took
place elsewhere. In early April 1940 the Germans occupied Denmark,
and moved forward north ward in the so called Norwegian Campaign (see
Fig.4). 100 naval vessels and 1’000 air planes were sent north
wards to take Norway as well. For the rest of the year the sea areas
along Norway was a battle ground from the Skagerrak to Narvik.
Uncountable naval activities penetrated the sea over considerable
depths, which may have contributed that the winter in the regions
were record cold in the winter that followed this onslaught.
For details see: ”Occupation of Norway - Return of Ice Age
(3_11)” at: http://climate-ocean.com/03_11-Dateien/03_11.htm
center of the wintry
cold reached from London to Stockholm (See: Fig.1). The cold could
have happen only due to a lack of heat reserve in the sea area from
Dover to Bergen. Presumably the Skagerrak has contributed as well.
That is easily achieved by huge naval activities during the autumn
and early winter season. Further more, the southern coast of Norway
the sea has a depths of up the 700 meters, with a temperature
difference to the surface of more than 10°C
in August (see Fig.5). Any mixing up side down would cool the
surface layer as well. Has this combination contributed to the
record winter conditions in the countries around the Skagerrak? (see
Fig.6) That was 70 years ago, and we do not know. For decades we
talk about human induced climatic changes, and we do not know
whether the Norwegian Campaign and other naval activities in Western
European seas areas should be partly been blamed for the event to
January 1941, southern and middle parts of Sweden had been colder
than during January 1940, and in some locations colder than even
1860. The greatest heat deficit was observed in the inner parts of Götaland
and northern Dalarna. Denmark recorded the coldest January since
1874, whereby northern Jutland was about 6°C colder than southern
Jutland, with record low temperature of –30°C measured at a
station near Viborg on 29 January 1941. As already mentioned, the
southern coast of Norway was caught up in the cold as well. All
stations reported great deviation form the mean: Oslo/Blindern
–8.3°C; a few miles south of Oslo
– 9.6°C; Ferder at the entrance to the Oslofjord -7°C;
Lyngor (between Ferder and Kristiansand) –7.9°C, and Oksoy (near
Kristansand) with –7.3°C.
Was it a “great event”?
the winter 1940/41 a “great event”? One shivers by considering
any time of WWII, the Norwegian Campaign, and the occupation of
Denmark and Norway, a “great event”, as one event was more
horrible than the other, and in a no ending number. But from a far
distant and a climatologically point of view, the event possibly
marks a great failure of atmospheric science. For science the war
activities at sea could be regarded as a human experiment on the
interchange between the sea and the atmosphere. Did naval activities
in 1940 have anything to do with the extreme cold from London to
Stockholm, and the a cold center around the Skagerrak? (see Fig.6)
If that would be proved one day, it would be shocking. Human
activities moderated the winter 1940/41 seven decades ago, and
science and the general public do not know. Man or ‘natural
climate variability’ that is a great question.
about the subject:
“Climate Change & Naval War” (2005),Victoria/CA, pages 326.
calculation is based for 1941 on data from Jahrbuch des
Norwegischen Inst. (deviation from average 1901-1930), and for
2009/10 from Met/No the difference between monthly average and
“Normal” (Source: see Fn. 3).
Hesselberg, TH., and Birkeland, B.J. (1944); ‘The continuation
of the secular variations of the climate of Norway 1940-50’,
in: Geofysiske Publikasjoner Vol. XV. No. 5. , Bergen 1944-56;
p.14, Table C.