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Home → June, 2008

Monthly Archives: June 2008 − News & Stories

Start of sum­mer sea­son 2008

Ear­ly and mid June sees the onset of the arc­tic “high sum­mer”. The sum­mer tou­rist has begun, and the first ships have alre­a­dy arri­ved Lon­gye­ar­by­en. An extra­or­di­na­ry amount of snow has fal­len during the past win­ter and spring; locals say that they have never seen so much snow befo­re. In Lon­gye­ar­by­en at sea level, most of the snow has mel­ted by now (10 June), but in many places, the­re is still a lot of snow at sea level (which on the other hand is not so uncom­mon at this sea­son).

The ice situa­ti­on seems to be “bet­ter” than in 2006 or 2007 in that sen­se that the­re seems to be more sea ice this year. Nor­t­hern and eas­tern parts of the archi­pe­la­go are still most­ly sur­roun­ded by drift ice, and it will be inte­res­t­ing to fol­low the deve­lo­p­ment throug­hout the sum­mer. In recent years, even the nor­the­as­tern­most parts of Sval­bard were acces­si­ble as ear­ly as late June/early July.

Snow-rich ear­ly sum­mer. Ear­ly June, Trygg­ham­na.

Start of summer season 2008

Ice chart as of 09 Juni 2008 (© Nor­we­gi­an Meteo­ro­lo­gi­cal Insti­tu­te)

Ice chart as of 09 Juni 2008

Hur­ray! Start of sea­son soon!

Hurray! Start of season soon!

The PCB-pro­ject is making pro­gress

In 2007, con­cen­tra­ti­ons of the long-lived envi­ron­men­tal toxin PCBs hig­her than expec­ted have been found in and near the sett­le­ments in Spits­ber­gen. Buil­ding mate­ri­als (paint, con­cre­te) and elec­tri­cal parts seem to be major sources. The hig­hest values were found in the Rus­si­an sett­le­ments of Barents­burg and Pyra­mi­den. PCBs from the­se local sources have alre­a­dy been found in the bot­tom sedi­ments in the near-by fjords.

Both Rus­si­an and Nor­we­gi­an aut­ho­ri­ties have appar­ent­ly alre­a­dy made some pro­gress in remo­ving the dan­ge­rous mate­ri­als. Almost 1000 elec­tri­cal parts (con­den­sa­tors from light­ing instal­la­ti­ons) have alre­a­dy been remo­ved, and ano­ther 2000 is to fol­low as soon as repla­ce­ment parts have arri­ved. The­se are said to be on the way alre­a­dy. It is also announ­ced that in Pyra­mi­den, which was aban­do­ned in 1998, all rele­vant parts will soon be com­ple­te­ly remo­ved.

All con­ta­mi­na­ted mate­ri­als will be ship­ped to Lon­gye­ar­by­en and from the­re to the main­land for dis­po­sal in Fin­land as part of the gene­ral Nor­we­gi­an gar­ba­ge manage­ment sys­tem.

In the Nor­we­gi­an sett­le­ments and sta­ti­ons (Isfjord Radio, Lon­gye­ar­by­en, Ny Åle­sund and Sveagru­va), samples were taken from soil, paint and other mate­ri­als to iden­ti­fy PCB sources. Known sources have alre­a­dy been remo­ved. The aim is to remo­ve all mate­ri­als con­tai­ning PCBs within a short time frame.

Light­ing in Barents­burg.

Source: Sys­sel­man­nen


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