Anyone who spent November in Finland this year can be forgiven if they found the weather tough going. New meteorological data shows that many parts of the country experienced just a fraction of the average number of sunshine hours this month.
Figures from the Finnish Meteorological Institute show that conditions in the south of Finland were significantly more overcast and gloomy than normal, with Helsinki enjoying just 12 hours of sunshine between the 1st and 26th of November, compared to an average of almost 40 hours.
The last time the country experienced such a dingy November was in 2010. This time round, meteorologist Seija Paasonen says the sunless November has been down to a weather front between an area of low pressure in the west and high pressure in the east settling above the country.
Even a completely cloudless and sunny last few days of the month would not now be enough to boost the number of sunshine hours in the south back up to average.
However, in Lapland residents saw 23 hours’ worth of sunlight during the month, which is in fact above the average for this time of year of 20 hours.
Those in the capital can perhaps take some comfort from the knowledge that there have at least been fewer grey skies this month than in the bleakest ever November on record. That was in 1974, when only five hours of sunlight were measured.
Three years earlier Helsinkians had lived through the sunniest November ever recorded, with 65 hours’ worth of sunshine.
Up in Lapland, meanwhile, residents of Sodankylä basked in 45 hours of November sunshine in 1975 – an all-time high. The other extreme was set five years ago, when the clouds parted to let in no more than six minutes of sunlight during the entire month.