Reindeer in Sweden usually migrate in November. But there's still no snow.

Via:  perrie-halpern  •  4 days ago  •  11 comments

Reindeer in Sweden usually migrate in November. But there's still no snow.
I can't ask my father what to do now because he hasn’t seen this; it hasn’t happened during his lifetime.”

S E E D E D   C O N T E N T


By Linda Givetash

It may be December but almost 100 miles north of the Arctic Circle there’s still not enough snow for reindeer to begin their annual migration.

Sweden’s indigenous Sami people have herded the animals for generations, with the corral usually happening over a two-week period in November.

But this year the tradition has been postponed because temperatures keep fluctuating above and below the freezing mark.

“Something is really wrong with nature,” said Niila Inga, 37, who lives in Sweden’s northernmost town of Kiruna. “I can't ask my father what to do now because he hasn’t seen this; it hasn’t happened during his lifetime.”


The past four years have been the warmest on record globally, according to the World Meteorological Organisation.

Reindeer husbandry is carried out in countries throughout the Arctic including Norway, Russia and China. A 2009 report on the future of the practice says that there are 3,000 reindeer herders in Sweden alone, and a total of nearly 100,000 globally.

It's a family business. Inga said he took the lead from his father when he turned 18 and works alongside 17 other full-time herders in the community that includes his cousins and nephew.

Every September, reindeer are gathered and killed for meat. It’s the main source of income for the herders.

181204-sami-reindeer-mc-905_99a78570143dA Sami man labels a reindeer calf near the village of Dikanaess, Sweden, in 2016.Jonathan Nackstrand / AFP/Getty Images file

After the slaughter, the remaining reindeer are left to graze in the wild until it’s time for the winter migration eastward to better grazing territory. For Inga, that's a trek of more than 62 miles.

Herders follow the animals on snowmobile, spending nights in cabins along the route. Children get the time off school to take part in the process.

“Everything is connected to the reindeer and the reindeer herding,” Inga said. “It’s something you’re born and raised in.”

But Inga, who is also the chairman of the Swedish Sami Association, believes "something is shifting."

The snow is vital to every aspect of reindeer husbandry so this winter's erratic freeze-thaw cycle is a problem.

Research suggests the effects of global warming are amplified at the poles, with average air temperatures rising faster than elsewhere on the planet. This results in the rapid loss of ice, according to the National Snow and Ice Data Center in Colorado. This year's winter freeze is being forecast to come late for the Scandanavian region and ice formation will be below-average.

The herders need the snow for their own travels through the wild terrain. Snow also makes it easier for the Sami to track reindeer and predators.

Most importantly, the snow impacts vegetation. A delayed winter could be viewed as a good thing, allowing the reindeer more time to graze by the mountains, Inga said. But it could also lead to the reindeer trampling the plants and prompt overgrazing.

Research is backing up the changes the Sami are witnessing. Gunhild Rosqvist, a geography professor at Stockholm University, is part of a team studying the changing Arctic landscape, including the accelerating loss of glacier ice in the Scandinavian mountains.

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Perrie Halpern R.A.
1  seeder  Perrie Halpern R.A.    4 days ago

A snowless winter in the Arctic Circle will impact Santa. What else will it impact?

 
 
Kavika
1.1  Kavika   replied to  Perrie Halpern R.A. @1    4 days ago
What else will it impact?

Everything else...and not in a good way.

 
 
WallyW
1.2  WallyW  replied to  Perrie Halpern R.A. @1    3 days ago

But this year the tradition has been postponed because temperatures keep fluctuating above and below the freezing mark.

The above statement means absolutely nothing. There is always annual variability in the weather at any particular locality on the planet. This year is it is being influenced by an El Nino event in the Pacific, and this pattern can affect weather on a global scale. That includes as to where the large semi-permanent areas of high and low pressure form up and establish the predominant storm track.

This particularly true of personal observations of animals in cases like this one. Their internal clocks would be more influenced by the temperature than the amount of snow on the ground. The weather does not follow any strict guidelines as to when seasonal events occur. First snowfall in Denver has been as early as September 3rd (1961) and as late November 21st (1934). For the last 10 years:

October 9, 2017
November 17, 2016
November 5, 2015
November 11, 2014
October 18, 2013
October 5, 2012
October 25, 2011
November 15, 2010
October 21, 2009
November 14, 2008

 
 
bccrane
2  bccrane    3 days ago

His dad is all of what 35 to 40 years old and had never seen this before, well maybe his grandfather did.  They're holding off the migration because it's inconvenient for the herders, oh on we can't run our snowmobiles.  His grandfather would be saying "for pete's sake it's 62 miles, walk like I had to". 

 
 
squiggy
2.1  squiggy  replied to  bccrane @2    2 days ago

... using the ancestral Kawasaki to travel from cabin to cabin.

 
 
bccrane
2.1.1  bccrane  replied to  squiggy @2.1    2 days ago

Yep that's the other thing, they go from stocked cabin to stocked cabin, where grandfather had to carry the reindeer hide tent with him.  On a side note I made a mistake in his fathers age, he would more likely be 55 to 60 years old, didn't see the one that made the statement was 37 not 18.

 
 
badfish hαηd ⊕ƒ †hε Ωuεεη
3  badfish hαηd ⊕ƒ †hε Ωuεεη    3 days ago

Not sure what the author of this article is talking about but there is plenty of snow in that area.

Webcams? ROFL  it's been snowing, it's snowing now and more snow is on the way.

 
 
MUVA
4  MUVA    3 days ago

Funny that some will say it is bad remeber Africa at one time was mostly rain forest.

 
 
Split Personality
4.1  Split Personality  replied to  MUVA @4    3 days ago

No, that's a myth.

The Sahara Desert has literally covered over 1/3 of the continent for several thousand years.

While deforestation is a huge concern in Africa,

the Savannah grasslands were and are the largest environment in Africa.

Reduction of the east and western rain forests originally around 30%,  has increased the size of the Savannah to almost 45%

and decreased the forests to about 22% of the 'habitat'.

 
 
MrFrost
4.1.1  MrFrost  replied to  Split Personality @4.1    3 days ago
The Sahara Desert has literally covered over 1/3 of the continent for several thousand years.

Straying a bit from the topic here but...

One definition of a desert is any land mass that gets 5" or less precipitation per year... That means the poles are...deserts. 

 
 
Freefaller
5  Freefaller    3 days ago
But there's still no snow.

They are more than welcome to come take some of mine, heck I'll throw in the -20 we had today for free.

 
 
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