Why white Christmases are becoming rare in Denmark

Why white Christmases are becoming rare in Denmark
Aalborg on December 26th, 2011. Photo: Henning Bagger/Ritzau Scanpix
The chance of seeing a snow-covered Denmark at Christmas is slim, not just this year but for many to come, according to meteorologists.

The Danish Meteorological Institute (DMI) has updated its prognoses for the country’s climate for the rest of this century.

A general temperature increase of 3.5 degrees Celsius is predicted if CO2 emissions remain at current levels.

That will result in fewer sub-zero days during the winter. The current average of 80 days each year with sub-zero temperatures will fall to 30 days, according to senior DMI climate researcher Rasmus Anker Pedersen.

“The probability of snowfall will be reduced, as will the probability that the snow will settle when it falls. So overall, white Christmases will become even more seldom,” Pedersen said.

“When frost disappears it also means that the season in which you can expect to be able to grow crops will be significantly longer. At the moment it’s 8 months, but it could increase to 11 months,” he added.

The warmest summer days will increase from 29 degrees to 33 degrees, according to the DMI long term prognosis. Heat waves will become more commonplace and summer rainfall will be more likely to take the form of thunderstorms.

“We are looking at a marked increase in heavy rainfall and up to 70 percent more downpours. That could mean that rain will not be taken up by the soil in the same way as if it rains more evenly,” Pedersen said.

Major floods, which currently occur around once every two decades, could become as frequent as biannual occurrences, according to DMI.

The meteorological prognoses can be used as a resource by local authorities that need to account for climate changes in city development plans.

“But it could also be used as a motivation to reduce CO2 admissions,” Pedersen said, noting that several scenarios using different projected CO2 admission levels had been mapped out by the agency.

READ ALSO: Here’s how to check what your local weather in Denmark could be like in 2100


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