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When it rains October has brought extreme rain events to many parts of the North, from Southeast Alaska to Northern Finland. In Scotland a month of rain fell in a single day, unleashing mud slides and wreaking havoc with transportation systems. The storms and “atmospheric rivers” are increasingly causing damage and disruption to community water systems. Iceland Review reported on the ‘boil water notice’ in Borgarfjörður Eystri after a dislocated pipe caused contamination of the drinking water system. Yle reports on water contamination in Jakobstad, Finland. Heavy rains turned the tap water brown as high levels of iron were flushed out of the aging water system. These stories highlight the vulnerability of northern water sources, and systems and the need for improved infrastructure and water treatment processes. See also in this edition articles on avian flu in Scotland, and the novel emergence of mosquito-borne illnesses in Maine. Mike Brubaker, Editor

Jakobstad, Ostrobothnia, Finland
News / October 17, 2023

Heavier rains and aging distribution networks are triggering more cases of public water supply contamination. The local utility takes water from the Esse River for processing and distribution. Because of recent heavy rains and strong runoff, it contains an unusually high level of solid matter.

Read article on News



Bakkagerði, East, Iceland
Jelena Ćirić / Iceland Review / October 17, 2023

Residents of Borgarfjörður Eystri have had to boil their drinking water for two weeks due to coliform bacteria in their water sources. “This has probably come about because of soil subsidence [sinking ground] in the wet land in that area,” stated Glúmur Björnsson, a geologist at utilities contractor HEF Veitur.

Read article on Iceland Review



Ketchikan, Alaska, United States
Angela Denning, CoastAlaska / KTOO / October 17, 2023

Remnants of Typhoon Bolaven brought the rain from the Pacific. The typhoon has been bringing rain to the Southeast region for days. Ketchikan's one-day record is nearly nine inches, set on Oct. 11, 1977.

Read article on KTOO



Dumbarton, Scotland, United Kingdom
BBC News / October 7, 2023

An amber rain warning has been extended for the north and east of Scotland, causing severe flooding and travel disruptions, with the Scottish government urging people to heed travel warnings and take precautions. Some areas have seen up to a month's worth of rain in a 24-hour period resulting in heavy flooding across much of the rail network.

Read article on BBC News



Enontekiö, Lapland, Finland
News / October 17, 2023

Unusually heavy rains in Lapland have caused water levels to rise near flood levels, and further rises will depend on temperatures over the next few days, with climate change being a contributing factor.

Read article on News



Iceland
RÚV / October 13, 2023

Melting glaciers in Iceland are contributing to an increased supply of electrical power. In the past ten years, the additional supply has amounted to one medium-sized power plant.

Read article on RÚV



Stord, Vestland, Norway
Olav Røli / NRK / October 17, 2023

Several bird species in the forest in Stord, Vestland, Norway are experiencing a significant decline, as indicated by the Raudlista 2021 report. Since 1980, 600 million birds in Europe have disappeared..

Read article on NRK



Maine, United States
Press Herald / October 17, 2023

Viruses have now been found in mosquitoes or in animals around the state, prompting health officials to warn Maine residents to protect against mosquito bites. The Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention reported positive tests for eastern equine encephalitis, or EEE, in several emu flocks and multiple horses. Also, a horse tested positive for West Nile Virus in York County.

Read article on Press Herald



Forvie National Nature Reserve, Newburgh, Scotland, United Kingdom
BBC News /

Scottish seabirds, including guillemots, kittiwakes, and terns, have experienced significant losses due to avian flu, with 2,300 sick and dead birds reported in a two-week period, and it is expected to take years for populations to recover.

Read article on BBC News



Dettah, Northwest Territories, Canada
CBC / October 17, 2023

Samuel Roberts, 65, and Mark Elson, 51, said they were not prepared to be lost along the shore of Great Slave Lake when they headed out for a short fishing trip. But it became smoky and foggy, and the men became disoriented. The following day, when the air cleared, Roberts said they couldn't recognize anything. "We had no idea that we crossed over the Dettah side and [were] headed to the East Arm," said Elson.

Read article on CBC



Ulukhaktok, Northwest Territories, Canada
CBC / October 18, 2023

David Kuptana, an elder and full-time harvester said ice should be forming around his home on Victoria Island this time of year — but instead, temperatures have been hovering around zero and it's been raining.

Read article on CBC



The Northern Climate Observer is published by the Center for Climate and Health. We track news coverage from across the circumpolar north and provide readers with a curated roundup of climate change related events. Thank you for reading our newsletter and for paying attention to our changing world.

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Northern Climate Observer

The Northern Climate Observer is published weekly by the Center for Climate and Health. We track news from across the circumpolar north and provide readers with a curated roundup of climate change related events.

Click here to view back issues (2009 to present) of the Northern Climate Observer.


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