Climate

Most of Sweden has a temperate climate, despite its northern latitude, with largely four distinct seasons and mild temperatures throughout the year. The winter in the far south is usually weak and is only manifested through some shorter periods with snow and sub-zero temperatures, autumn may well turn into spring there, without a distinct period of winter. The country can be divided into three types of climate: the southernmost part has an oceanic climate, the central part has a humid continental climate and the northernmost part has a subarctic climate. However, Sweden is much warmer and drier than other places at a similar latitude, and even somewhat farther south, mainly because of the combination of the Gulf Stream and the general west wind drift, caused by the direction of planet Earth’s rotation. Continental west-coasts (to which entire Scandinavia belongs, as the westernmost part of the Eurasian continent notably warmer than continental east-coasts. And for example, central and southern Sweden has much milder winters than many parts of Russia, Canada, and the northern United States.Because of its high latitude, the length of daylight varies greatly. North of the Arctic Circle, the sun never sets for part of each summer, and it never rises for part of each winter. In the capital, Stockholm, daylight lasts for more than 18 hours in late June but only around 6 hours in late December. Sweden receives between 1,100 and 1,900 hours of sunshine annually.During July are the temperature difference between north and south not large. With exception of the mountains has the entire country a July-average temperature within the range of +15.0 C to + 17.5 C (a difference of 2.5 degrees), while the January-average temperatures varies between the freezing point down to below −15 C along the border to Finland (a difference of 15 degrees)[85]

The Scandinavian Mountains

The highest temperature ever recorded in Sweden was 38 °C, while the coldest temperature ever recorded was −52.6 °C. Temperatures expected in Sweden are heavily influenced by the large Fennoscandian landmass, as well as continental Europe and western Russia, which allows hot or cool inland air to be easily transported to Sweden. That in turn renders most of Sweden’s southern areas having warmer summers than almost everywhere in the nearby British Isles, even matching temperatures found along the continental Atlantic coast as far south as in northern Spain. In winter however the same high-pressure systems sometimes puts the entire country far below freezing temperatures. There is some maritime moderation from the Atlantic which renders the Swedish continental climate less severe than that of nearby Russia. Even though temperature patterns differ between north and south, the summer climate is surprisingly similar all through the entire country in spite of the large latitudinal differences. This is due to the south being surrounded by a greater mass of water, with the wider Baltic Sea and the Atlantic air passing over lowland areas from the south-west.

Apart from the ice-free Atlantic bringing marine air into Sweden tempering winters, the mildness is further explained by prevailing low-pressure systems postponing winter, with the long nights often staying above freezing in the south of the country due to the abundant cloud cover. By the time winter finally breaks through, daylight hours rise quickly, ensuring that daytime temperatures soar quickly in spring. With the greater number of clear nights, frosts remain commonplace quite far south as late as April. The cold winters occur when low-pressure systems are weaker. An example is that the coldest ever month (January 1987) in Stockholm was also the sunniest January month on record.

The relative strength of low and high-pressure systems of marine and continental air also define the highly variable summers. When hot continental air hits the country, the long days and short nights frequently bring temperatures up to 30 °C or above even in coastal areas. Nights normally remain cool, especially in inland areas. Coastal areas can see so-called tropical nights above 20 °C occur due to the moderating sea influence during warmer summers. Summers can be cool, especially in the north of the country. Transitional seasons are normally quite extensive and the four-season climate applies to most of Sweden’s territory, except in Scania where some years do not record a meteorological winter (see table below) or in the high Lapland mountains where polar microclimates exist.

On average, most of Sweden receives between 500 and 800 mm of precipitation each year, making it considerably drier than the global average. The south-western part of the country receives more precipitation, between 1,000 and 1,200 mm, and some mountain areas in the north are estimated to receive up to 2,000 mm. Despite northerly locations, southern and central Sweden may have almost no snow in some winters. Most of Sweden is located in the rain shadow of the Scandinavian Mountains through Norway and north-west Sweden. The blocking of cool and wet air in summer as well as the greater landmass leads to warm and dry summers far north in the country, with quite warm summers at the Bothnian Bay coast at 65 degrees latitude, which is unheard of elsewhere in the world at such northerly coastlines.

Swedish Meteorological Institute, monthly average temperatures of some of their weather stations – for the latest scientific full prefixed thirty-year period 1961–1990 Next will be presented in year 2020. The weather stations are sorted from south towards north by their numbers.

Place Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Malmö 0.1 0.0 2.2 6.4 11.6 15.8 17.1 16.8 13.6 9.8 5.3 1.9 8.4
Göteborg −0.9 −0.9 2.0 6.0 11.6 15.5 16.6 16.2 12.8 9.1 4.4 1.0 7.8
Stockholm −4.3 −4.6 −1.0 3.9 9.9 14.8 16.5 15.2 10.7 6.4 1.2 −2.6 5.5
Gävle −4.8 −4.5 −1.0 3.4 9.3 14.6 16.3 14.9 10.6 6.0 0.6 −3.3 5.2
Jokkmokk −17.5 −14.9 −8.6 −1.1 5.9 12.2 14.3 11.8 5.7 −0.2 −9.3 −14.6 -1.4
Kiruna −13.9 −12.5 −8.7 −3.2 3.4 9.6 12.0 9.8 4.6 −1.4 −8.1 −11.9 -1.7