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Temperature swings in Gdańsk

Recently, the weather has not been spoiling us. The frosty weather that came this winter (spring?) has been hard even on the inhabitants of Gdańsk. Why even? Well, our city has a very specific microclimate and every inhabitant knows it. In other words, we are accustomed to sudden changes in weather, but it is worth considering why the weather in Gdańsk is so crazy.

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It turns out that according to weather specialists Gdańsk is a very interesting case. It is difficult to say whether it is ennoblement, but such are the facts. We can be happy or complain about the fact that we live in a city with one of the most characteristic climates in Poland and this part of Europe.

An old, local adage says: „W Gdańsku lata ni ma i do kitu zima....” (meaning: There is no summer in Gdańsk and the winter is also rubbish). It's very accurate and it didn't come from nowhere. It is colder in the summer and usually warmer in the winter. Who's to blame? Of course - the Baltic Sea! Add to this the moraine hills surrounding Gdańsk, quite high average rainfall and voila! We have a recipe for a stodgy weather mix.

Snow brings joy to kids, but frustration to drivers...
Snow brings joy to kids, but frustration to drivers...
Fot. Grzegorz Mehring / gdansk.pl


Let us start with the Baltic Sea. It is the influence of this relatively fresh seawater that shapes our climate in Gdańsk. In summer the cool Baltic Sea further lowers the air temperature in the city. It is a disadvantage and an advantage at the same time. It is a little cooler, but the main drawback is that with high humidity it is difficult to bear the heat. In winter, water, which loses its temperature more slowly, raises it in the air. This is particularly true in case of the areas located right by the sea, i.e.  districts such as Żabianka, Jelitkowo, Przymorze or Brzeźno.

The Baltic Sea also causes stronger winds that blow regularly. Gusts of wind, which cause imminent myocardial infarction in most of the inhabitants of Poland, are treated lightly by the residents of Gdańsk. “Such a wind is not a wind”- after all, the gusts can be used to dry our hair up faster after the shower when we go to work. An additional advantage of this phenomenon is the lack of smog, which is a serious problem, for example, in Kraków.

At the same time, it is worth noting a certain curiosity: Gdańsk is much less often the victim of very dangerous, short-lived but violent phenomena, such as tornados, occurring in the south of the country. However, every several dozen or so years, rainfall lasts for several or even several dozen hours, which causes numerous flooding events, such as in the summer of 2001 or 2016. Fortunately, the city draws conclusions and systematically improves flood protection.

Coming back to the temperature difference. In Gdańsk alone, its fluctuations can be significant. In winter, it is definitely colder on the upper terrace, especially behind the line of the moraine hills, or as we say “behind the bypass”. In winter, when it's -5 degrees in Przymorze, in Osowa it can be -8 or even -9 degrees! In summer, the opposite is true. 25 degrees at the coastline, means about 2 or 3 degrees more in the areas located higher.

Interestingly, the winter situation changes radically when the Bay of Gdańsk is frozen. Once a phenomenon that happened regularly, but now it is rather forgotten. When the Baltic Sea doesn't give up its heat but rather does the opposite (coldness from the ice sheet), the districts located the closest to the sea turn into a proverbial freezer and the temperature is even colder than in the areas situated higher and further off the Baltic Sea.

There are people who laugh at cold no matter what
There are people who laugh at cold no matter what
Fot. Jerzy Pinkas / gdansk.pl


At the same time, let us not forget that there is much more moisture in the air in Gdańsk than in other cities. This means that especially in winter, when the wind is stronger, the wind chill is noticeably lower. In turn, in summer, it is more difficult to bear the heat.

As you can see, Gdańsk is unique in every respect - even in terms of weather. However, it is a well-known fact that there is no bad weather, at most, there are people who are not dressed properly!

Winter can be charming
Winter can be charming
Fot. Maciej Nicgorski