The Baltic – Ice makes a comeback

February 2021 has seen an increase in both aerial extent and a gradual thickening of the Baltic Sea ice. This is a result of recent extended high pressure blocking funnelling cold Siberian Air over north eastern Europe. The blocking pattern does not allow Atlantic lows and associated warmer temperatures into the region.

Temperatures will hover near freezing over the next few days with another surge of cold air expected to move in across the Gulf of Finland over the days ahead of the weekend. The extent of Baltic Sea ice is nearing climatological norms following a period of several years when it has been well below those levels due to winters with a more westerly warmer air flow. 

Comparing the images below for 15th February 2021 to the climatological normal, one can see levels are not far apart.

Finnish Meteorological Institute Ice Report for 15 Feb 21 compared to a normal year

A more dramatic comparison can be made between this year and last year’s ice extent.

Finnish Meteorological Institute Ice Report for 15 Feb 21 compared to same time last year with ice cover mostly confined to inshore northern Gulf of Bothnia.

More cold is on the way with temperatures expected to be well below 0 deg C and as much as -25 deg C across the entire Gulf of Finland 17th through 20th February, with temperatures of -8 to -12 deg C extending as far south as the Sea of Azov. Beyond the 20th Feb temperatures are expected rise above freezing.

ECWMF 2m Air Temperature and 10m wind 18/00Z Feb (T+72 h from 15/00Z)

Stay connected and safe (and warm!).

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