The climate and the Midnight Sun phenomenon
The Lofoten Islands and the wonders of nature..
The northern lands are characterised by their light and climate. North of the Arctic Circle we have the midnight sun phenomenon at the turn of the summer solstice – in Svolvær the sun stays above the horizon for twenty-four hours from 25 May to 18 July.
Similarly, the sun disappears from the horizon for a period of time in the middle of winter and, therefore, we have the Arctic night – in Svolvær it lasts from 7 December to 5 January. This phenomenon is caused by the inclination of Earth’s axis, an imaginary line that runs from pole to pole on which the planet rotates. Rotating around the sun, the Earth’s inclination causes the North Pole to be exposed to the sun (keeping it illuminated even when the earth is spinning) and away from it in winter (keeping it in the dark).
Hence the continuous sunlight during the summer. Twenty-four hours of sunlight give the flora and fauna along the coast a burst of energy and rapid and luxuriant growth. The Lofoten Islands have also a very mild climate although they are so North because sea currents convey warm water northward along the Norwegian coast. It is the Gulf Stream that keeps the climate so mild. The weather conditions and wind can change very quickly.
Towards the Norwegian coast, in autumn and winter, very often we have low pressures with south-westerly winds or storms and a lot of rainfall, while in summer the high pressure on the Arctic ice cap often gives clear weather conditions. The coast towards the Vestfjord is better sheltered on the internal side where we find most of the population of Lofoten still engaged in fishing Arctic cod, the “Skrei”. The “Arctic” cod lives in the Barents Sea, north of Lofoten and in autumn it begins its migration towards the Vesfjord where it will remain till the end of March, before beginning its northward migration again. Skrei finds the optimal conditions for spawning in the Vestfjord. The external side, however, is much more weather-beaten, the coast is barren and almost unapproachable.