Category Archives: Country

Peru

One of the shortest titles you will see here at the Weather Blog, and it is one of our international country adventures. The trip today is Peru, found on the Pacific side of South America, with the Andes in the west and the Amazon in the east, with some desert along the coast. It runs, perhaps, counter intuitive to what we in the State may expect, but in the tropics, flow is typically east to west, so the Andes hem the moisture in across eastern Peru, and the coast in the rain shadow. They are in the tropics, of course, and aside from parts of the central coast affected by the Humboldt current, a cold oceanic current, it is quite warm across most of lower elevation Peru.
The Servicio Nacional de Meteorlogia e hidrologia, or Senamhi as it is known, is the Service with a longer name than the country in question even when abbreviated. Impressively enough, their clickable map is Google based, the first that I have seen that uses that engine since I started this adventure around the world. Everything else on the site, from the satellite to the alerts do not use the map, but it is a fun feature. Not much else I can help you with, however, as the site is only offered in Spanish.

Malta

Malta is a tiny island nation in the Mediterranean Sea of only 121 square miles, about 50 miles south of the much larger island of Sicily. Malta experiences a Mediterranean climate, for obvious reasons, but is slightly more tropical in nature being how far south it’s located. High temperatures don’t swing too wildly from summer to winter here, with average highs in the mid 80s for summer and around 60 for winter. In fact, only once (2/1/1962) has frost been reported! The winter months are also the wet season for Malta, as 80% of the annual precipitation falls from October to March, making for mostly sunny and dry summer months. No wonder tourism is one of the top industries for this tiny island!

The meteorological body for Malta is based at the Malta Airport and have a fairly easy website to navigate and find data on. Including surface analysis, current observations, 5-day forecast, and some other charts and images, it’s pretty easy to find what you need to on there. Hopefully their radar gets up and running soon, that would be pretty fun to see looping images for them!

Saint Vincent and the Grenadines

I always thought this would make a good name for a 60s Motown band, St. Vincent and the Grenadines. Instead, it is a Caribbean Island nation in the Lesser Antilles. It lies in the southern part of the Antilles, which keeps it out of the primary track of Cape Verde hurricanes, but not entirely out of the woods. More likely, they see tropical waves before they develop into a tropical storm and see summer time convection due to easterly trade winds. Naturally, temperatures are decidedly pleasant.
Saint Vincent and the Grenadines do not have their own weather service, relying on a cocktail of international organizations.

Finland

Our trip around the world takes us to Finland this afternoon for a look at their climate and the Finnish Meteorological Institute.
Finland is, as you well know, at a fairly high latitude, and they have a tough time getting particularly warm. Their location off the Baltic is good for preventing things from getting unbearable, but they are cut off from the warmer Atlantic currents by Norway, Sweden and Denmark, so winters are among the coldest in the world for a national average. Still, with extended summers, and a more continental climate on the Russian border, in particular, temperatures can get fairly steamy in the summer. There is a fairly sharp dividing line between moist Baltic Air and the drier continental air to the east, which results in a somewhat active summertime pattern, with a few showers and thunderstorms.
The Finnish Meteorological Institute, as mentioned, is the weather monitoring bureau in Finland. There appears to be a special emphasis on scientific research on the climate and weather of the world. There are several papers readily available on their “Scientific Themes” page. The FMI is another of the European agencies that offers their data for commercial resale, which provides an interesting juxtaposition; a governmental service agency, deep in climactic research who also offers sale of their product.
In the “Weather and Sea” page, you will find your typical weather forecast information. Under weather abroad is the craziest surface analysis I think I have ever seen. It’s probably my favorite image since the geographically challenged Turkish weather map. The Finnish map just demonstrates how much the surface analysis is a work in opinion and almost art rather than exact science. Other than these quirks, the site has all the other elements one would expect. I like the look of their radar, for example.
It’s definitely a thorough site, even with all of the quirks of the FMI.

St. Kitts and Nevis

We are off to the Caribbean to check out the island nation of Saint Kitts and Nevis. The islands have a tropical climate, as can be expected, with drier winters as the tropical flow shifts south and active summers. St. Kitts is right in line for the typical Atlantic hurricane track. When waves develop off the African coast, if they track through the Caribbean, they almost always afflict some harm on the islands.As would be expected, they see more rain in St. Kitts during the late summer months, at the peak of hurricane season. But don’t let me make the islands sound like some storm laden disaster area, because they certainly aren’t. They are definitely a tropical paradise most of the year, with the threat for one or two really bad storms a year, just like anywhere.
St. Kitts and Nevis does not have a local weather service.

Now that the weather has quieted down, a pair of notes from Switzerland

After I had written the country post on Switzerland, oh, January, I received a couple of e-mails from Meteoswiss, the Swiss weather agency. The first e-mail, they passed along a pair of links.
The first was to the Wikipedia page for the foehn wind, which is the Alpine version of the downslope. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Foehn_wind
Next, they wanted to point to the COSMO information page, a model developed by MeteoSwoss that is integral to their forecasting: http://www.meteoswiss.admin.ch/web/en/weather/models/cosmo.html
Then, a few days later, we received another e-mail with a link to a new English climate page at Meteoswiss: http://www.meteosuisse.admin.ch/web/en/climate/swiss_climate/swiss_climate_overview.html
Thank you to everyone at MeteoSwiss who was able to help teach we Americans something new!

San Marino

As is our weekly tradition, we are upon another nation to review their client. Today we are going to take a brief look at San Marino, an enclave on the Italian Peninsula about 6 miles from the Adriatic in the northern half of the Peninsula. Since the country is small, there isn’t any variation from one end of the country to the other in terms of annual climate. They have a Mediterranean climate in San Marino, with a warm summer and cool winter, with generally dry weather over all.
San Marino apparently has something called the National Centre of Meteorology and Climatology, though Wikipedia is the only place that offers that allegation.

Uzbekistan

Our weekly trip to an exotic locale takes us to the center of Asia, and the nation of Uzbekistan. Uzbekistan is one of only 2 doubly landlocked nations in the world (the other is Liechtenstein) and is very far away from any major bodies of warm water. As such, Uzbekistan is quite dry. They have one of the widest annual temperature variations, getting up over 100 degrees often in the summer, with temperatures regularly dropping below 0 in the winter, especially in those lonely deserts of the western part of the state.
Uzhydromet is the Uzbek meteorological service. Even in the English version, their site is predominantly written in Cyrillic. I can’t get at any of the forecasts or anything else, but they all have English headers. No maps that I can find either. Very strange.

Solomon Islands

The Solomon Islands lie just east of Papua New Guinea and northeast of Australia. The were the site of some of the most influential battles in the Pacific Theater in World War 2, most notably the Battle of Guadalcanal. Guadalcanal is the home of the capital Honiara and the largest island in the Solomons. The islands lie surrounded by ocean, lie in the tropics and have little in the way of substantial elevation changes. This means that there is little variation through the course of the year. The Islands are hot and humid through the year, with a tropical season from about April to November.
The Solomons have a website for their Solomon Islands Meteorological Agency, a rarity in the south Pacific. While it’s a coding nightmare, the forecasts (found on the right hand side of the screen) are valid. Other than that, like I said, if you know anything about HTML, there is an outfit in the Solomons that could use your help.

Norway

I was in Norway last June in what can only be described as one of the best vacations in my life. Part of it was seeing the native homeland of my grandmother, and part of it was being entirely surprised by what was going on around me. I was expecting a jagged, barren, cold nation, with exposed rock, or at the very least, snow covered rock. I wasn’t prepared for how lush and green the country is, The border between Sweden and Norway is dominated by the Scandinavian Mountains, and the Norwegian Sea to the west is actually quite a bit warmer than one might expect, as it is fed by the warm Gulf Stream. This means that the western coast of Norway sees a LOT of rain as it is drawn from relatively warm Sea and squeezed out by the sharp contrasting elevation. Of course, there is plenty of snow, especially inland, but along the coast, temperatures in the winter are moderated to be tolerable. The stretch of southeastern coast and Plains sees warmer, drier conditions in the summer and colder, snowier winters, as they are on the lee side of the mountains, not exposed to the Sea and sheltered from the primary sources of moisture.
When I was there, I went to Trondheim, which is midway up the coast and set in the third longest fjord they have over there in Norway, and there was a thunderstorm that came rolling into town. As luck would have it, 2009 was a quiet spring in the States, and it was the first thunder I heard that year. An obese Swede on the train from Sweden told me about yr.no, which is the weather forecasting website for the Meteorological Institute of Norway. The Meteorological Institute has their own site, met.no, which makes this unique in that it has a site set only for the purpose of forecasting and another for the institute itself. The YR site is a joint operation with the Norwegian Broadcasting Corporation and highlight the fact that they are detailed and completely free, which is a huge change from many European sites, with France standing out highest among them. They have a very cool animated forecast map on the main page that I could stare at for hours. Not only is it functional, but it’s beautiful to look at. Another interesting thing; if you look at a site like Finnmark way on the top of the country, they have a symbol to indicate that they are in polar night, i.e. the sun doesn’t actually rise during the “day”. (When I was there, the set for most of the night) For other fun components, the radar is wonderful, the satellite is crisp, and I seem to have begun drooling on my laptop. The imagery and presentation is word class. We should put Norway in charge of more things, if you ask me.