Frozen Finland Thaws

Frozen Finland Thaws

Located within the Arctic Circle, northern Finland experiences some the world’s harshest and snowiest winters. But even the 2020 winter season was exceptional by Finnish standards.

Lapland, the northernmost region of Finland, just endured its snowiest winter in 60 years. Meteorologists reported that the winter snow arrived in October, and persistent cold temperatures hindered the snow from slowly melting over the months. By January 2020, some towns recorded almost triple the amount of snow on the ground than normal for the season.

In late May, unusually warm temperatures began to rapidly melt the high volume of snow and caused significant flooding to nearby homes and farms. Several rivers have swelled, causing the closure of a bridge and prompting flood warnings for several towns.

The natural-color image above shows the area around Ivalo, Finland, on May 25, 2020. While some land remains frozen, other portions have become muddy with melt water. The image was acquired by the Operational Land Imager (OLI) on Landsat 8. The extent of the flooding also appears in images by satellites using synthetic-aperture radar.

NASA Earth Observatory image by Joshua Stevens, using Landsat data from the U.S. Geological Survey. Story by Kasha Patel.

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