Over the last 40 years, warming has occurred four times faster in the Arctic than in the rest of the world, according to a recent study by a team of Norwegian and Finnish scientists, with northern European countries now witnessing scenes that until recently would not have seemed possible in the region. Sweden had forest fires in the summer of 2018, alerting the entire Scandinavian world. Like that of its neighbours, the country’s soil has begun to suffer the effects of drought, obviously on a “Nordic” scale, which can unleash fires of similar dimensions to those in southern Europe.
In countries that can be classified as “cool”, such as Sweden and Norway, a shelter for those fleeing the heat in summer, temperatures close to 40 degrees were recorded last July. Finland even had heat waves earlier than countries in southern and central Europe this year. By mid-June, thermometers exceeded 32 degrees, 10 degrees higher than usual. Although that was a much shorter wave than the one that has affected other European regions, in countries where houses are built with the harsh winter conditions in mind, it is a cause of distress. The situation was not such an exception either: the previous summer, temperatures in Norway exceeded 34 degrees, and in Lapland, Finland, they rose above 33 degrees. The risk of fires in these sparsely inhabited regions was, like the heat, extreme.