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December in Helsinki was unusually dark

December in Helsinki was unusually dark
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As anyone who lives here will confirm with alacrity, it was grim up north in December. During the 31 days of December 2007 the sun shone for a total of just 20 hours in the Greater Helsinki area.
      The number is a good deal lower than normal. For example in December 2006 the sun made an appearance for 32 hours, while in 2002 the sun shone for as many as 47 hours during the entire month.
      "In Helsinki, the average number of sunny hours in December is 27", reports meteorologist Niina Niinimäki from the Finnish Meteorological Institute. The figure is based on the observations made at the Helsinki-Vantaa Airport in the period from 1971 to 2000.
As the snow cover was almost non-existent in the Greater Helsinki area at the end of last year, the darkness appeared even gloomier than usual.
      However, there is perhaps some consolation in that the end of last year was not the darkest December of all time in the Finnish capital. In 2000, the sun came out in Helsinki for just SEVEN hours during the entire month of December, while back in 1984, the corresponding figure was even one hour less.
      The amount of sunshine depends both on the length of the day and on the degree of cloudiness, which is a sum of many factors.
      However, even though climate change is a general hot topic these days, global warming cannot be blamed for last December’s lack of sunshine in the capital - at least not directly, meteorologist Niinimäki concludes.

Previously in HS International Edition:
  December in the city: short days and dim (18.12.2007)

  Finnish Meteorological Institute

Helsingin Sanomat

  4.1.2008 - TODAY
 December in Helsinki was unusually dark

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