Tourism favorites like dog sleds have been "on ice" this year, euphemistically rather than literally. With temperatures breaking records across northern Europe, there is literally no ice for the popular winter tours. Mid-December to mid-January there was only hiking. Recent snows have re-employed the idle huskies, but the weatherman is not as optimistic as the sled owners: February 2008 was the second warmest on record since 1900. Other indicators demonstrate the unusual warm streak throughout the region.
The ice on the Baltic is so thin that ferries running between Tallinn, Estonia and Helsinki, Finnland have been in operation non-stop; no need for the usual pause in services between December and April. The German daily Der Spiegel references Jürgen Holfort of Germany's Federal Maritime and Hydrographic Agency predicting that this winter will have the least ice in the Baltic Sea since 1720.
The Swedish weather service reports temperatures in Stockholm breaking all records back to 1756, when the first records were kept. Ski marathons and ice skating races were repeatedly delayed, and some cancelled. Although German temperatures won't break records set last year, the image above shows crocuses blooming in Bavaria, long before springtime.
Weatherpersons consulted for the article in Der Spiegel avoid mentioning the causes, throwing the question to Saint Peter, the saint Germans believe to be responsible for the weather. What do you think? Caused by the saints? or by man? Well, there is always the ice-free dogsled method.
Via ::Der Spiegel, English pages