Whenever it snows after the snow has already melted or frost freezes on your car in May, Norwegians say ‘Global warming, Pfffft!’.  When it gets below zero in summer or the wind chills you to the bone… ‘Global warming, pffft.’  When there is snow still on the ground in June or colds days for a whole month… ‘Global warming, pffft’.  When Norwegians think about Norway getting warmer, the sun getting hotter and the ground getting dryer, they say ‘Bring it on!’

It would be lovely if Norway got warmer in summer, and since we had -25C months last winter, to have warmer winters too.  But that is not how global warming works in Norway.  We don’t just get warm.  It seems here that other places get warmer and Norway feels the effects of it – rain, winds, wetness, freeze snaps.  And there is one very real issue that we have to deal with right here on the farm.

Last year we had a particularly wet season.  In fact, some of our fields did not dry.  This has meant we have been left with huge tractor tracks after the winter feed harvest and those tracks are now filling with water. ( This starts a chain reaction – puddles, mosquitoes, bites on animals, animals itching and scratching off hair, more equipment (blankets, repellents) and so more work.)

But we have a much greater problem with river water.  A couple of days back I ask Moose about the river that runs along our farm.  It didn’t seem to be racing down into the fjord like I had seen it in previous years.  He said, ‘I have never seen it so low before at this time of year’.  Then just yesterday the river was raging ferociously along our farm and down the waterfall.  Today is no better and Moose said ‘I have never seen the river so high before.’  It is now so high that it has busted through the banks and onto our farm.  Our grazing fields have a series of gullies to quickly divert the winter melt into the river but now the river water is back tracking up the gullies.

It is likely that this year the snow off the mountains hasn’t melted slowly as usual.  Instead a sudden temperature raise over the last few days has melted the mountain snow quickly, more than what the river bed can handle at one time.  I see houses low along the river.  I used to think they had a lovely spot so close to the river but now I am glad we have our house on top of the hill.  This is one time when we cannot say ‘Pfft, global warming’.

 

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