This article is part of the series “2020-10: New in Tromsø”.
Perhaps you saw the photos that I took on my way to work five weeks ago. The sky was blue, it was quite warm and the sun was shining.
Today it was completely different. For the first it was dark. Dark on my way to work and dark again on my way back. Sunrise was at 8:33 and sunset already at 14:21.
Then it was quite windy and very rainy the whole day. Sometimes it just rained a bit, sometime it was bucketing down huge amounts.
Here are some photos from my way to work. Taken with my iPhone and black-and-white again.
The way back was more exciting. When I went round the Framsenteret – the marina to my left – I first thought I was totally lost in the dark. I didn’t know that there was a huge artificial lake to the right. I never saw it before. Carefully I tested with my rubber boot, it was 25 cm deep. Then I realised that this was no lake but the parking place. It was completely flooded. Did it really rain so much? Apparently.
I continued stomping through huge water puddles. My outfit: rubber boots – rain pants — waterproof parka – reflective vest to be seen by others – headlamp (in one of the parka pockets)
Then I realised that even the sea water level was exceptionally high. Would I be able to go back the very same gravel path you can see on the second photo? That path lies quite low and in the morning I could see a chain of seaweed lying on the side facing land. When I arrived, the way was completely gone. I could only see the water of the sea up to the site fence.
To make a long story short: I continued the path. Mostly it was 30 cm of sea water covering the gravel. That still worked with my rubber boots, but it shouldn’t have been more. I was really glad to have a bright LED lamp. Probably I wouldn’t have dared without it. And not it beacme clear that there will come a day where this part of my favourite way to work will be impassable without offshore survival equipment.
Appendix one: and the sun?
Tromsø is located at the latitude of 69° 39′ N, almost 350 km north from the polar circle. That means, that the days not only get shorter and shorter but that there’ll be a time where the sun doesn’t rise and set at all. This time is quite near: In three weeks it will be the last time you’ll be able to see the sun and then again in January.
To illustrate this I made some charts. The y axis of each chart shows the dates from 1 January (top) to 31 December (bottom). Each row shows the solar altitude for that day by color.
From left to right: München, Germany – Obbola, Sweden (my home) – Tromsø, Norway (my current workplace)
Sun | Sun (golden hour) | civil twilight | nautical twilight | astronomical twilight | deep night
These are the main differences:
München has sun each day, but a real dark night, too.
In Obbola in Northern Sweden there’s always at least 4 hours of sun (if the clouds allow it) but it hardly gets dark in summer.
Tromsø has the most extreme changes of sun altitude during the year: Round seven weeks of polar night in winter and almost ten weeks of polar days with midnight sun between May and July.
So there’s much to experience here. The next experience will be the technique sea kayak course this weekend. Probably with a lot of rain at 3 °C and on Saturday even gusty winds round 14 m/s.