"It's the end of august, and the birches are still all green," the information officer of HumLab bemoaned, as she showed me the campus. "It's not supposed to be like this. They are supposed to start turning gold now. It's so beautiful." I had to confess that I was quite comfortable with green birches until far into september, and I was in no hurry to see the weather turn. Two days later I noticed the gold touches in the birches outside the building I live in. It seems like global warming hasn't quite turned Umeå into an all-year summer estate just yet.
"The mean temperature in winter used to be minus 9 degrees celsius," my lunch date echoed the worry. "Now it's minus 5 degrees."
Biking home through the freezing rain, I didn't quite manage to share these concerns. I am here for the people, the University and the chance to hang out with others who are specialising along the same lines as me, I really don't mind if the temperature drops only to minus 10 and not minus 30. But of course, if in the last 20 years winters have been 4 degrees above the common mean temperature, that is not just a temporary change, at least not in human years. Personally, I am more concerned with getting wet, and the darkness even of daylight setting in. I am two degrees further north than Volda. For comparison: Oslo and Helsinki are at (about) 60 degrees north, Volda at 62, Umeå at 64. The arctic circle is at 66.33. For those who want to keep updated on the campus, to see if I am justified when grumping about weather and light, check the campus webcam. It's 8 degrees today, and while that is acceptable summer temperature even in Volda..., well, it's going to be an adventure.
Update: According to the locals this weather is highly unusual, and the pond that can be seen from the webcam is just a few centimeters from running over and potentially flooding the basements of the nearby buildings.
PS: Do anybody somewhat closer to equator need a guest speaker/researcher in January or February? Just checking...