Denmark’s weather forecasters hint at ‘local’ white Christmas

Small margins could decide whether Denmark gets a white Christmas in 2021 – or a grey or wet one.

A snowy Christmas scene in Denmark back in 2001. Forecasters predict some parts of the country could get snow at Christmas in 2021.
A snowy Christmas scene in Denmark back in 2001. Forecasters predict some parts of the country could get snow at Christmas in 2021. Photo: Henning Bagger/Ritzau Scanpix

National meteorological agency DMI says that prognoses for Christmas Eve weather are “ambiguous” and that small margins could decide whether the country awakes to a white layer of fresh snow on December 24th, the day on which most Danes traditionally celebrate the Christmas holiday.

But there is good reason for snow lovers to hold out hope for Christmas weather in keeping with the iconic imagery of the season, meteorologist Jens Lindskjold said via the agency’s website.

“The latest prognoses suggest that there will be snow or sleet in almost all of the country. That will begin as soon as the 23rd with snow, sleet and rain in large parts of the country, but margins will determine whether the snow will melt in a couple of degrees above zero around Christmas,” Lindskjold said.

Uncertainty around the forecast is related to whether a cold front moves north or south around the Christmas period, according to the meteorologist.

“In short – the forecast in uncertain and right now there’s just a hair’s breadth between wet and white,” he said.

A weather front passing over Denmark on the 23rd and 24th is likely to bring snow to central and southern parts of the country, while snowfall coming in from the north also increases the chance of a white Christmas in northern and eastern Jutland on Christmas Eve, according to DMI.

This means that “local” white Christmases are possible while a “national” white Christmas, in which over 90 percent of the country is under a snowy blanket, is less likely.

The latter is a relatively rare occurrence and has only happened on nine occasions since 1900, DMI’s climatologist Mikael Scharling said on the agency’s website.

That happened most recently in 2009 and 2010, with the previous occasion before that as long ago as 1995.

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Is Denmark having its sunniest March ever?

March is not a month famous for sunshine and mild temperatures in Denmark, but the current month has broken with that reputation and could set new records.

Is Denmark having its sunniest March ever?

Sunshine and blue sky have dominated weather reports so far throughout March 2022 and, although the end of the month could bring some cloud, the current month is on course to set a record as the sunniest March in Denmark.

As of Thursday morning, 170 hours of sunshine had been registered in March, leaving it 30 hours short of the existing record of 200 hours, a record that has stood for almost 80 years according to broadcaster DR.

The remaining hours of sunshine look achievable if the forecast for the coming days is anything to go by, according to the broadcaster’s meteorologist Søren Jacobsen.

“With the daylight hours we are having now, we get around 10 hours of sun per day when there are no clouds,” he told DR prior to Thursday, which also saw day-long sunshine.

March normally gets 138.4 hours of sunshine, according to DR. The figure is based on the average for the past 10 years.

The Danish Meteorological Institute (DMI) measures and records Denmark’s sunshine hours. The sunlight must be of a certain strength for it to count towards the total, but in general, a clear sky across the entire horizon and no clouds are required.

The most sun-drenched March on record in Denmark occurred in 1943, when 200 hours were registered. Second place is 2013 with 189.7 hours.

In 2020, Denmark got 182 hours of sun, placing that year 6th on the current list. The country was locked down due to Covid-19 from March 11th through the end of the month.