An 111-Month Long Climate Change Streak Has Ended in Norway

We all know that climate change and global warming have been having a significant impact on our planet for quite some time now. Melting ice in the polar regions, retreating glaciers, and record temperatures have shown this to be true. But, in March a dubious warming streak came to an end in Norway, where the remote town of Longyearbyen on the island Svalbard saw a 111-month run of warmer temperatures come to an end.

March may have just ended, but the data is already in. Following 9+ years of monthly increases in the average temperature recorded at the Svalbard airport, the town finally had a month of below average temps. Historically speaking, the temperature in March at the airport has been -15.7ºC (3.74ºF). This year, for the month, those temperatures averaged -16.2ºC (2.84ºF), marking the first time since 2010 that the region has seen a drop in the average temperature. That’s a long warming trend to say the least.

For the record, the warmest temperature recorded their in March was 2.1ºC (35.78ºF), while the lowest was -29.9ºC (-21.82ºF). According to meteorological data, it seems it was a close call going either way as to whether or not the streak would continue. But a cold snap that arrived just as March was wrapping up secured the colder than normal average, ending the long string of months that saw an increase in temps.

As with other part of the Arctic, Svalbard is often seen as a canary in the coal mine when it comes to tracking climate change and global warming. Whether or not the shift in pattern for March is just an anomaly or the start of a new trend remains to be seen. For now though, the streak is broken and the residents of Longyearbyen will reset the clock, watching the world around them gradually get warmer.

Kraig Becker