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Daily Archives: 7. May 2012 − News & Stories


Isfjord: curr­ent­ly a sub-arc­tic fjord

The most­ly rela­tively mild wea­ther of the last months is only of secon­da­ry importance for the fact the the fjords on Spitsbergen’s west coast are curr­ent­ly lar­ge­ly ice free. The warm water tem­pe­ra­tu­re is the most important fac­tor. The water tem­pe­ra­tu­re in the ent­rance to Isfjor­den is curr­ent­ly at 1,5 degrees Cel­si­us or even more through the who­le water column. Sea­wa­ter free­zes near -1,7 degrees C. Nor­mal­ly, parts of the water column should be below zero.

The reason is the curr­ent­ly strong influence of the West Spits­ber­gen cur­rent (“gulf stream”) that has pushed col­der arc­tic waters out and away from the west coast. This chan­ges not only the phy­si­cal cha­rac­te­ristics of the west coast fjords from high arc­tic to rather sub arc­tic, but also the local flo­ra and fau­na. Cod has been found more and more com­mon­ly in the bot­tom waters, tog­e­ther with had­dock (ano­ther mem­ber of the cod fami­ly). Living blues­hell have been obser­ved for the first time in Isfjord in 2004 and has now been found in the har­bour of Lon­gye­ar­by­en. Her­rings rea­dy for repro­duc­tion as has now been found is ano­ther “first” for the­se waters.

It can be assu­med that the­se spe­ci­es have come to stay. Con­se­quen­ces for local eco­sys­tems are dif­fi­cult to pre­dict.

Outer Isfjord seen from Alk­hor­net.

Isfjord

Source: Mari­ne bio­lo­gists from UNIS, Jør­gen Ber­ge, Ole J. Løn­ne, Tove M. Gabri­el­sen, in Sval­bard­pos­ten 17/2012.

Bear Island will get its own “port”

Bear Island (Bjørnøya), situa­ted half way bet­ween Skan­di­na­via and Spits­ber­gen, has always had a bad repu­ta­ti­on for dif­fi­cult landing con­di­ti­ons: the island does not have any har­bours or well shel­te­red fjords. Landings and any trans­port by boat are accor­din­gly high­ly depen­ding on wea­ther con­di­ti­ons.

The situa­ti­on is sup­po­sed to see some impro­ve­ment for the Nor­we­gi­an wea­ther sta­ti­on on the north coast of Bear Island. A 26 met­re long con­cre­te wave brea­k­er is sup­po­sed to make boat ope­ra­ti­ons on the small pier easier. Con­s­truc­tion work is sche­du­led to start in late July 2012. Curr­ent­ly, the pier can not be used during hea­vy wea­ther.

Ships will, howe­ver, have to stay at anchor off the coast. Small boats will have to be used for any ship-to-shore ope­ra­ti­ons also in the future, when con­s­truc­tion works have been com­ple­ted.

The cur­rent “port” at the wea­ther sta­ti­on on Bear Island on a rare fair­wea­ther day.

Bear Island will get its own port - Bjørnøya Radio

Source: Fol­ke­bla­det

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