The Finnish Meteorological Institute warns that sea ice can be deceptive. As the weather has been exceptionally warm especially in Southern Finland, venturing onto sea ice may be dangerous in many places.
Photo: Tuija Vuorinen
"At the moment, there is no way to tell where ice will give way and where it will carry, as the warm weather and fluctuations in sea level have made it very difficult to accurately predict the thickness of ice," Senior Ice Expert Jouni Vainio reminds. In addition to this, moving sea water under the ice eats at the ice from underneath and sea level fluctuations lift water on top of ice,
Jouni Vainio very adamantly discourages those planning to venture out on the ice. "Do not go out on the sea ice, unless it is unavoidable. If you go out on the ice, be properly equipped. The minimum equipment required when going out on the sea ice is ice claws, which must be hung around your neck. In addition to this, it is a good idea to have a backpack that can act as a floating device and to include a change of clothing packed in a watertight way. You should also pack your mobile phone in a water proof plastic bag."
January's freezing temperatures ensured that sea ice cover increased quickly. On 7 February, the sea ice cover was at its largest and covered an area of one hundred thousand square kilometres. After this, the weather grew warmer and especially the warm weather in recent days has caused the ice area to shrink quickly. Now, the ice cover only comprises an area of 50,000 square kilometres High winds have caused the ice in the Bothnian Bay to amass in the bay's northeast corner, where at the moment nearly all vessels need assistance from ice-breakers.