Sun worth chasing in Estonia

The Estonian Environment Agency's sunlight map for 2022.
The Estonian Environment Agency's sunlight map for 2022. Source: ERR

A new map created by the Estonian Environment Agency shows how many sunny hours different parts of Estonia get in a year. Sunny days are more common in the western half of Estonia, the agency's weather department chief Miina Krabbi said.

"The map depicts total sunlight for last year, which was a little sunnier than average. Traditionally, Estonia tends to get more sun in the west and a little less in the east," Krabbi said on the "Terevisioon" morning show.

Differences between regions can be considerable from one year to the next. "While Estonia gets 1,700-2,000 hours of sun on average, [the island of] Vilsandi got 2,200 hours last year," the meteorologist said.

There are also major regional differences inside one year. Tartu saw 1,836 hours of sunlight last year, while Saaremaa got nearly 2,400. "The summer months get around 300 hours of sun in Estonia, so this difference is around a month's worth," Krabbi remarked.

She said that sunlight distribution was regular in 2022, pointing to 2002 when Estonia experienced an unusual amount of sunlight and warmth. "It was the sunniest year to date. Even Võru got close to 2,000 hours [in 2002]," Krabbi said in terms of the sun map a decade ago.

She also said that climate change has slightly increased the average annual sunlight in Estonia. "We have more sun, with the spring months feeling the change the most. The amount of monthly sunlight has grown the most in April."

In addition to total sunlight, the agency keeps tabs on over ten forms of radiation associated with sunlight, including UV radiation.

"We have seen relatively high UV radiation readings in recent years. The index exceeded 8 points last year. The UV index is around 1-2 in winter time, 3-4 in spring and around 6-7 in summer in Estonia. However, total data shows no drastic change in terms of sunlight in Estonia," Krabbi said.


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Editor: Airika Harrik, Marcus Turovski

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