Press release 12.1.2021

2020 – warmest year since Finland started keeping records

The record-warm year can be explained by the very mild winter periods which raised the average temperature.
Photo: Pixabay

According to preliminary statistics of the Finnish Meteorological Institute, the average temperature in Finland reached a record high – about 4.8 degrees. This exceeds the previous record set in 2015 by about 0.6 degrees. The statistics go back to the mid-19th century.

The mean temperature for 2020 was 2.5 degrees above the long-term average for 1981-2010. The record-warm year is one more indication that our climate is warming.

“Six of Finland's ten warmest years have occurred after 2010”, says meteorologist Pauli Jokinen at the Finnish Meteorological Institute.

Last year the months of January, June, and November were the second-warmest in the history of keeping Finnish temperature records. In addition, on two days in November the Finnish heat record was broken for those dates. Ultimately, the highest temperature was 16.6 degrees, measured in Mariehamn on 6 November.

Examined regionally, the year set heat records in large parts of the country. The only exception was Lapland, and it's average temperature for last year was the second highest.

Rainiest in coastal and central areas

Precipitation for the year did not fall below long-term averages almost anywhere in the country. In coastal areas in Uusimaa, Satakunta, Ostrobothnia, and Kainuu, precipitation for the year was exceptionally high in many locations, at levels that are reached on average less than once every 30 years.

The greatest amount of precipitation will be at Paljakka in Puolanka where initial estimates put it at 1132 millimetres. This is the third-highest amount in the history of keeping meteorological records in Finland. The record, 1242.2 millimetres, was set in the same location in 2015.

The year's highest temperature, 33.5 degrees, was recorded on June 25 in Niinisalo in Kankaanpää. The lowest temperature, -41.1 degrees, was in Kevojärvi in Utsjoki on 27 December.

The deepest snow, 138 centimetres, was recorded in Saariselkä in Inari on 18 April. The greatest amount of precipitation in a 24-hour period was 90.8 millimetres in Venetmäki in Pielavesi on June 30.

December – milder than usual

December was milder than usual in all parts of Finland. The mean temperature varied from more than four degrees Celsius in the southwest archipelago and the Åland Islands to -9 degrees in Utsjoki. The greatest deviation from the long-term average was the western part of Finnish Lapland, where temperatures were about seven degrees above normal. In western parts of Finland and the west of North Ostrobothnia, December was unusually mild, with temperatures that occur less frequently than once in a decade on average.

The coldest days for December were at the end of the month, with temperatures in wide areas of eastern and northern Finnish Lapland falling to between -30 and -40 degrees. December's lowest temperature, -41.1 degrees, was recorded in Kevojärvi in Utsjoki on the 27th of the month. The highest temperature of the month, +8.5 degrees, was recorded on 6 December on Bogskär in Kökar.

Precipitation levels fairly typical – less snow than average

Precipitation levels in December were fairly normal in most parts of Finland. However, in the Åland Islands precipitation was unusually high, with levels that occur less than once in ten years. The greatest amount of precipitation for the month was 102.9 millimetres, measured in Jomala in the Åland Islands.

At the end of the month there was an average of 5-15 centimetres of snow on the ground in southern and central parts of Finland, and 20-40 centimetres over much of the north. In most parts of the country snow depth was 10-20 centimetres below average. Western parts of Finnish Lapland were practically the only areas where the depth of snow was near the long-term average.

Further information:

Weather forecasts from the meteorologist on duty 24 h/day tel. +358 600 1 0600 (€ 3,85/min + local call charge) Weather statistics from the Climate Service tel. +358 600 1 0601 (€ 4,01 /min + local call charge)