Air Masses in Northern Finland

Location, location, location!

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The town of Sodankylä, like the rest of Finland, is situated between the 60th and 70th northern parallels. Finland is influenced by both maritime polar (mP) and continental polar (cP) as well as maritime tropical (mT) air masses at certain times. It might come as a surprise that a country lying within the Arctic Circle is affected by the maritime tropical air mass brought in by the Gulf Stream… but what is interesting to note, is that although Finland’s geographic location is so far North, the country is actually able to maintain an annual mean temperature which is significantly warmer than other places at the same latitude. This is in part due to a warming mechanism swept northward known as the North Atlantic Drift (which is actually an extension of the Gulf Stream). 

Weather and Climate

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An interesting aspect of Finland’s location is the fact that it is located on the edge of where tropical and polar air masses meet, and this area is also severely influenced by the westerlies. Becuase the jet-stream plays a major role in where mid-latitude cyclones will form, and due to Finlands geographical location (near the meeting point of the westerlies and the polar easterlies) it should come as no surprise that this area experiences severely unstable atmospheric conditions that provide excellent circumstances in which these cyclones can form. It is due to these mechanisms and due to Finland’s location, that mid-latitude cyclones effect the region. It should also be noted that because of where Finland is situated, along the edge of the Polar Jet Stream, as well as in between where the Polar Easterlies and the Westerlies come into contact with one another- this region typically experiences more cold fronts, although warm fronts and occluded fronts have a tendency to affect the country as well. (

Current Weather

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Currently in Nothern Finland, there is a high pressure system that is moving in from off of the western coast of Sweden and if this catches up to the low pressure system that has developed on the eastern portion of Finland, then there is a possibility that these high and low pressure systems colliding could bring some precipitation in the coming days. A stationary front may also be observed on the northwestern region of Russia, but this should not effect the weather that will be eperienced in Finland in the coming days.


Not only does the geographical location play a major role in affecting the types of weather characteristics that Finland and much of Scandinavia experiences, but the actual features that are located in the region play a major role of influence. Finland is abundant with lakes and wetlands as well as a two different mountain ranges (the Karelids and the Scandinavian Mountains). Both of these have an effect on mediating the overall average annual temperatures in Finland, and a part of the reason why, again, Finland does not get as cold as other regioins at the same latitude.

What makes Finland’s climate unique?

In my opinion, the most interesting part of Finland’s weather and climate patterns is the fact that it is located at such a northern latitude, but does not experience such extreme low temperatures, that other locations at the same latitude experience. This proves that different climatological mechanisms such as the Polar Jet Stream, the Westerlies, the Polar Easterlies and the Gulf Stream,  really do have a visible and signifcant effect on the temperatures of different areas in the Northern Europe.


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