John Wheeler: Oslo, Norway, is north of us, but has milder winters

The main reason for this is the proximity of western Europe to the Atlantic Ocean.

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FARGO — Oslo, the capital of Norway, is located at 60 degrees north. Fargo and Duluth are closer to 47 degrees north. Winter weather in the Dakotas and Minnesota, however, is much colder than in Oslo. Europe is very far north, but many of its western countries do not experience the temperatures in winter that we get. The main reason for this is the proximity of western Europe to the Atlantic Ocean.

The waters of the eastern Atlantic do not typically freeze in winter, so the air blowing into western Europe in winter is usually cool, but never frigid, except in far northern parts of Scandinavia which are actually in the Arctic. The only way most of western Europe gets winter weather well below freezing is when the pattern retrogrades and cold, Siberian air backs in from the east. It is an easterly wind in western Europe that usually brings snow.

Related Topics: WEATHER
John Wheeler is Chief Meteorologist for WDAY, a position he has had since May of 1985. Wheeler grew up in the South, in Louisiana and Alabama, and cites his family's move to the Midwest as important to developing his fascination with weather and climate. Wheeler lived in Wisconsin and Iowa as a teenager. He attended Iowa State University and achieved a B.S. degree in Meteorology in 1984. Wheeler worked about a year at WOI-TV in central Iowa before moving to Fargo and WDAY..
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