The heatwave in Finland is causing some unusual scenes: a pair of reindeer were spotted on the beach in northern Finland.
It’s been a sizzling couple of days in Scandinavia. The heatwave that’s been ravaging central and western Europe has migrated northwards, making for some tropical days in Norway, Sweden, and Finland. Authorities have issued heat warnings, urging people to stay indoors if possible and stay hydrated. But humans aren’t the only ones affected by the scorching temperatures.
In Finland, authorities have warned motorists to be mindful of moose, who are crossing more roads than usual in their attempts to find water and quench their thirst. Elsewhere, the newspaper Helsingin Sanomat reported earlier this week of reindeer “queuing at the Kela office” — after a group of reindeer gathered outside a social benefits agency in a Lapland village of Inari to stand in the shade.
But without a doubt, the star of the show were the two reindeer that sought some respite from the heat on a beach in Lapland — Finland’s northernmost region known for its Christmas spirit and its reindeer. They didn’t seem to care about anything other than cooling down.
“Many people took photos and it didn’t seem to bother them in the slightest. Children were playing nearby and that didn’t disturb them either,” said Johanna Koivisto, who snapped a picture of the resting duo.
Koivisto said she wasn’t surprised too surprised to see reindeer at the beach — it’s become quite a common sight, as temperatures in Finland continues to rise. Temperatures at the beach were around 28 °C (82 F).
The annual Finnish mean temperature has risen 2.3 °C since preindustrial times. Warming has been greatest in early winter, nearly 5 °C, but summer temperatures are harder to bear for wildlife. The month of July 2018 in Finland had the highest-ever temperatures recorded by the Finnish Meteorological Institute since recordings started in 1838, although this month is very similar.
July temperatures in Finland average 13 to 17°C (55-63 F), but pass 30°C in some parts during heatwaves. The northernmost municipality of Utsjoki, north of the Arctic Circle, experienced a record-breaking temperature of 33.3 °C (92 °F) in July 2018.
As for reindeer, the pair that made it to the beach can consider themselves lucky. The climate crisis which our world is facing is devastating for reindeer populations, and more than 50% of their population has collapsed over the past few decades. Reindeer in Lapland, like those all over the Arctic, are finding it extremely difficult to cope with the high temperatures.