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Monday's papers: Cooler temps, Earth Overshoot, warming gulf and the end of white nights

Record weekend temperatures, Earth Overshoot Day, Gulf of Bothnia warming, sun setting – and Putin in a submersible.

Yötön yö ja Inarijärvi.
The sun finally set in Utsjoki, Finland. Image: Tuula Salo

The tabloid Iltalehti starts the week with news of relief from the heat, as temperatures are set to cool down considerably this week. The change will be particularly dramatic in Lapland. Rovaniemi basked in 30 degree temperatures on Saturday, but on Monday, a high of only 11 degrees Celsius is predicted.

This past weekend Finland got a taste of the hot conditions Europe and the US have been enduring this summer, although the "record temperatures" charted on Sunday in the south still look small compared to heatwaves exceeding 40 degrees Celsius in Paris and New York.

The Finnish Meteorological Institute tweeted that historic heat records were set on Sunday at measurement stations in Helsinki's Kaisaniemi, the cities of Kaarina, Salo, Lohja and the Åland Islands.

IL reports that the summer's hottest temperature to date – 33.7 degrees Celsius – was also measured in Finland's southern city of Porvoo.

Today marks 2019's Earth Overshoot Day

The Jyväskylä paper Keskisuomalainen reports on Earth Overshoot Day, the day when humanity’s demand for ecological resources and services in a given year exceeds what Earth can regenerate in that year.

This year the world reached its overshoot day today – 29 July – two days earlier than last year. The paper reports that Finland already exceeded its share of the Earth's natural resources in early April. At the time, the WWF said the world would need 3.8 planets if everyone in the world consumed resources at the rate Finns do.

Finland hosted an informal meeting of EU environment and climate ministers in mid-July that focused on expanding the circular economy to mitigate climate change and halt the loss of biodiversity. The paper cites a Ministry of the Environment press release from today that says quickly cutting down on consumption is the only solution. The Ministry points out that of the 80 billion tones of natural resources that the population consumes each year, only nine percent is reused or recycled.

Fast-forward heating in the Gulf of Bothnia

In a similar vein, the country's most widely-read daily Helsingin Sanomat carries a story on how climate change is projected to warm up the Gulf of Bothnia faster than the rest of the Baltic Sea.

Among other things, HS ponders how increasing temperatures in the waters that separate Finland and Sweden will affect the area's shipping and fish farming industries, wind power projects, coastal residences and tourism.

Markku Viitasalo from the Finnish Environment Institute (SYKE) is part of a six-year SmartSea research project that includes 40 researchers from Finland and Sweden studying sustainable use of the Finland’s marine resources.

"The Baltic Sea is like a miniature model, compared to the big oceans, so everything happens faster and more dramatically there. This is why it's a good research topic for analyzing the shape and dynamics of the changes," Viitasalo tells HS.

He further informs the paper that climate change will bring more rain, which will further dilute the saline content of the Baltic. This will change the fauna and flora of the sea, prompting some native species to move farther north and allow invasive species to move in.

Putin floats off the western coast

Other news from the Baltic Sea comes from Russia today, as the state news agency TASS reports that Russian President Vladimir Putin dove to the bottom of the Gulf of Finland this weekend in a bathyscaphe (self-propelled submersible). The Russian leader inspected the remains of a Shch-308 Semga submarine that sank off the Finnish island of Utö during WWII. During the operation, divers placed a plaque on the site of the wreck and observed a moment of silence in tribute to the killed submariners.

White nights end in the north

And the Turku-based newspaper Turun Sanomat finishes with annual news of the 24-hour daylight in the north period officially coming to an end for this summer.

The "nightless nights" of Finland's (and the EU's) northernmost municipality of Utsjoki came to a close when the sun dipped below the horizon for the first time since 17 May late Saturday night.

It didn't go away for long, however. The sun officially set at 0:46 am, but rose again at 1:52 am.

The paper writes that in the village of Nuorgam, the northernmost village in the Utsjoki municipality, the "Midnight Sun" phenomenon won't end until tonight. The sun will set there for the first time in almost three months at 0:42 am.

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