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Yearly Archives: 2013 − News & Stories


Spitsbergen-Svalbard.com 2013, 2014: look back and ahead

Most of us have sen­sed it by now: the year 2013 is almost over. Also for me, for us, for Spitsbergen-Svalbard.com, a lot has hap­pen­ed in 2013 and a lot will hap­pen in 2013. What? Have a look at the­se 4 posts.

One of many high­lights in 2013: the polar bear fami­ly in Tem­pel­fjord, ear­ly May.

polar bear family in Tempelfjord

Thank you and hap­py new year!

It is still me, Rolf Stan­ge, who is behind this web­site, wri­ting the books, lea­ding the polar voya­ges told about on this site and taking the pho­tos. But none of this would be pos­si­ble with all the­se polar enthu­si­asts who are part of all this. I can not men­ti­on ever­y­bo­dy here who has been part of one of the trips, who is hel­ping to make the web­site hap­pen or to get the books on paper and out into the world etc, and some don’t necessa­ri­ly want to read their name on the inter­net. By the way, the inter­net … how did Roald Amund­sen orga­ni­ze his polar expe­di­ti­ons without it?

Even the youn­gest ones are keen to get invol­ved when it comes to my books 😉

Spitsbergen-Svalbard.com-publishing house

And last but not least: ever­y­bo­dy who was on board in the far north or deep south, at good humour in any kind of wea­ther. Thank you for being part of it! Without you, we wouldn’t be able to tra­vel the Arc­tic or Ant­arc­tic, and it wouldn’t be half of the fun. Let’s go again – and all the best to you for the new year, any­whe­re bet­ween the poles!

f6o_Reinstrandodden_07Aug13_128

Some of the crew of Anti­gua, remo­ving a big fishing net that had drifted on to a remo­te beach in Woodfjord. After a long day’s work, this wouldn’t hap­pen without qui­te some enthu­si­asm for the arc­tic envi­ron­ment. Gre­at! On the left, the­re is Michel­le van Dijk, sea­so­ned Spits­ber­gen tra­vel­ler and owner of the camp­si­te in Lon­gye­ar­by­en. On the right, Joa­chim, well known to many of you as Cap­tain of the Anti­gua. Thank you!

Hei­mir from Ice­land, Cap­tain of Ópal, and his crew made the Green­land trips in Sep­tem­ber unf­or­gett­able for us. Gre­at – thank you! We are loo­king for­ward to 2015!

Heimir auf Ópal, Scoresbysund 2013

2013, 2014: Spitsbergen-Svalbard.com’s look back – the publi­shing busi­ness

The publi­shing house Spitsbergen-Svalbard.com has been busy in 2013 as much as all the tra­ve­ling allo­wed. The fourth revi­sed Ger­man edi­ti­on of the gui­de­book Spits­ber­gen-Sval­bard is out. Sin­ce the first edi­ti­on came out in 2007, both the Ger­man and the Eng­lish ver­si­ons have been updated about every second year, that makes one new ver­si­on each year. In other words, this is qui­te a long-term pro­ject which is bin­ding qui­te a lot of resour­ces on a regu­lar basis.

In 2013, the fourth revi­sed ver­si­on of the gui­de­book Spitz­ber­gen-Sval­bard was publis­hed.

Guidebook Spitsbergen-Svalbard

Late­ly this year, our new Spits­ber­gen calen­dar for 2014 came out. It won’t be the last one. But may­be, the next polar calen­dar, for 2015, will be an ant­arc­tic one? Let’s see. What do you think?

Der Spitz­ber­gen-Kalen­der für 2014.

Spitzbergen-Kalender 2014

New book pro­jects are on their way, but con­si­de­ring all the other pro­jects and trips of 2013, the­re wasn’t enough time to get some­thing finis­hed this year and not in the very near future. But things are on their way. More about it when we are get­ting the­re.

This famous pho­to taken by Her­bert Pon­ting shows Robert F. Scott in the hut at Cape Evans in the Ross Sea, being busy wri­ting some­thing not too long befo­re he star­ted the voya­ge to the south pole, which was to be his last one. Regar­ding the wri­ting, I hope I find time for it in 2014.

Robert F. Scott, Cape Evans

2013, 2014: Spitsbergen-Svalbard.com’s look back – pho­to­gra­phy and the inter­net

2013 has been a very suc­cess­ful year regar­ding polar pho­to­gra­phy. From all tho­se trips to the Arc­tic and Ant­arc­tic, I have brought a wealth of good mate­ri­al back home. Some of it is alrea­dy publis­hed as part of the triplog, pho­to gal­le­ry and sli­de­show that come with most trips, a few ones are part of the Spits­ber­gen calen­dar 2014, and more will be seen in future books and calen­dars.

The 360 degree navigab­le pan­ora­ma images are rela­tively new ter­ri­to­ry in pho­to tech­ni­que. The collec­tion of polar pan­ora­mas on this web­site is alrea­dy the lar­gest of its kind on the world wide web, and it has images of pla­ces that have never befo­re been pho­to­gra­phed this way! The­re is still unpu­blis­hed mate­ri­al wai­t­ing to go out, as the pro­ces­sing is qui­te time con­suming, and the­re is defi­ni­te­ly still far more work to be done in 2014 and bey­ond.

It does not mat­ter whe­re I tra­vel in the Arc­tic or Ant­arc­tic: the came­ra is never far away. In this case, it is insi­de an old bar­rel.

camera in the barrel

The results can be seen on Spitsbergen-Svalbard.com. Also bey­ond the new pan­ora­ma collec­tion, qui­te a lot has hap­pen­ed the­re. The Spitsbergen-Svalbard.com news sec­tion has got more than one post per week in 2013, making sto­ries and news from the Arc­tic acces­si­ble in one site in a lan­guage that most peop­le can read. In the future, we will incre­a­se the fre­quen­cy of pos­ting and inclu­de news from other parts of the Arc­tic and the Ant­arc­tic. By the way, the Ger­man part of this web­site (Spitzbergen.de) was the first polar news blog wit­hin the Ger­man spea­king inter­net.

Many parts of the web­site have been updated regar­ding both con­tents and advan­ced tech­no­lo­gy. As an examp­le, the regio­nal descrip­ti­ons of Sval­bard are now get­ting pho­to gal­le­ries to illus­tra­te the indi­vi­du­al parts of the Spits­ber­gen archi­pe­la­go. This is an ongo­ing pro­cess. For examp­le, Bear Island (Bjørnøya), Edgeøya and Bar­entsøya have alrea­dy got their gal­le­ries, more will fol­low.

Qui­te import­ant­ly, the Eng­lish sec­tion of this web­site has got its own domain sin­ce ear­ly 2013, which is obvious­ly spitsbergen-svalbard.com. Well, you know this, other­wi­se you wouldn’t be rea­ding this. But plea­se don’t for­get to update any links. And I am gra­te­ful for links any­way! All rele­vant con­tents – and pret­ty much ever­ything is rele­vant in one or the other way – is publis­hed in both Eng­lish and Ger­man.

And final­ly, Spitsbergen-Svalbard.com has got its own Face­book site sin­ce sum­mer 2013, whe­re all posts are made in both Eng­lish and Ger­man. While I am tra­ve­ling, the­re are regu­lar sto­ries and pho­tos from the field. The­se are of cour­se also acces­si­ble without being on Face­book, you don’t need to log on to read the stuff pos­ted the­re.

2013, 2014: Spitsbergen-Svalbard.com’s look back – polar voya­ges

The core of my polar acti­vi­ties in 2013 has been the direct, unfil­te­red expe­ri­ence of the Arc­tic and Ant­arc­tic. This has always been and will always be the most important part for me, of my life. And regar­ding this, 2013 has defi­ni­te­ly been a very suc­cess­ful year. Some high­lights:

The semi-cir­cum­na­vi­ga­ti­on of Ant­arc­ti­ca, inclu­ding a visit to the Ross Sea, was without any doubt a high­light and some­thing every polar enthu­si­ast will have on his or her wish­list. I am glad that I could be part of it in Febru­a­ry 2013. The next voya­ges of this kind are sche­du­led for ear­ly 2015, and I am alrea­dy loo­king for­ward to it!

One of many unf­or­gett­able polar impres­si­ons in 2013: Emperor pen­gu­ins in the Ross Sea, ear­ly Febru­a­ry.

Emperor penguins, Ross Sea

Several mon­ths in Spits­ber­gen in win­ter and spring 2013 were defi­ni­te­ly a high­light bey­ond the per­spec­ti­ve of 2013. Just have a look at the pho­to gal­le­ries!

On the way to the east coast of Spits­ber­gen, April 2013.

on the way to the east coast of Spitsbergen

This was fol­lo­wed by several voya­ges in the arc­tic on board SV Anti­gua. Always a high­light, that is fore sure. And this sum­mer was cer­tain­ly no disap­point­ment. We star­ted in Nor­way, went to Bear Island and then around Spits­ber­gen several times. Inten­se arc­tic expe­ri­en­ces of all kinds, beau­ti­ful impres­si­ons. This kind of arc­tic voya­ge will cer­tain­ly con­ti­nue to be a focus for me.

This curious polar bear kept swim­ming around Anti­gua for qui­te a while. Unf­or­gett­able for all of us who were the­re!

polar bear swimming near Antigua

Then fol­lo­wed two trips in Scores­by­sund in east Green­land on SV Ópal from Ice­land in Sep­tem­ber. Just gre­at. Beau­ti­ful, big Green­land. Good boat, good peop­le. I am loo­king for­ward to more of this in 2015.

With SV Ópal in Scores­by­sund, east Green­land. Again: Auch hier: Unf­or­gett­able for all of us who were the­re!

Ópal in Scoresbysund, east Greenland

In Novem­ber I had the oppor­tu­ni­ty to visit the South Sand­wich Islands. Rare­ly visi­ted, and new land for me. Exci­ting stuff! This was part of a voya­ge that went to some of the gre­at pla­ces on Earth: the Falk­land Islands, South Geor­gia and the Ant­arc­tic Pen­in­su­la.

Saun­ders Island, South Sand­wich Islands. And once more: Unf­or­gett­able for all of us who were the­re!

Saunders Island, South Sandwich Islands

I will con­ti­nue tra­vel­ling in polar are­as as long as I can, by all means. For sure. I’ll be in Spits­ber­gen several times next year: soon in the polar night, then during the spring sea­son which is ide­al for any kind of win­ter tra­ve­ling, and of cour­se during the sum­mer sai­ling sea­son. I’ll tra­vel on sai­ling ships of tall ship size (Anti­gua) and smal­ler (Arc­ti­ca II, a true arc­tic yacht). In July, I’ll spend about a week on Jan May­en. And I’ll be back to Green­land in 2015 at the latest. 2014 will be too short. As every year.

Cour­se for the Arc­tic in 2014!

Course for the Arctic!

Geo­ther­mal ener­gy in Lon­gye­ar­by­en?

The ques­ti­on for Longyearbyen’s future ener­gy sup­ply still needs to be ans­we­red. The local coal power plant is now get­ting old, and the local CO2 emis­si­ons per per­son are cur­r­ent­ly amongst the hig­hest in the world, emit­ting about 65,000 tons of CO2 per year – for just abo­ve 2,000 inha­bi­tants.

Now Mal­te Joch­mann, seni­or geo­lo­gist of the Nor­we­gi­an mining com­pa­ny Store Nor­ske, has brought geo­ther­mal ener­gy into the dis­cus­sion. Sval­bard is per­ma­frost area, but below the per­ma­frost, the geo­ther­mal gra­di­ent is stee­per than in Nor­way. The rea­son is pos­si­ble the shor­ter distance to the midd­le atlan­tic ridge.

Warm springs are known from the Bockfjord-area on the north coast of Spits­ber­gen, but the warm springs the­re are small com­pa­red to tho­se for examp­le in Ice­land. Bockfjord is too far from the sett­le­ments to use that area tech­ni­cal­ly (and it is a Natio­nal Park). But the­re is the pos­si­bi­li­ty that a geo­ther­mal heat reser­voir exists also in cen­tral Spits­ber­gen, whe­re Lon­gye­ar­by­en is, at depths that may be usable. Espe­cial­ly if car­bo­na­te lay­ers are found whe­re hot waters tend to cir­cu­la­te in karst caves. The poten­ti­al of geo­ther­mal heat won’t com­pa­re to Ice­land, but it is not about buil­ding alu­mi­ni­um plants, but to sup­ply a place as small as Lon­gyea­by­en with just abo­ve 2,000 peop­le with warm­th and pos­si­b­ly electri­ci­ty.

The exis­tence of sui­ta­ble rocks and heat reser­voirs in reach­a­ble depths is still to be pro­ven, and sci­en­ti­fi­cal­ly, eco­no­mi­c­al­ly and poli­ti­cal­ly it is still a long way to go until geo­ther­mal heat may or may not be used in Lon­gye­ar­by­en.

Warm spring in Bockfjord: Troll­k­jel­dane (“troll springs”). The­se springs are 8 km inland and lar­ger than Jotunk­jel­dane, which are clo­se to the coast of Bockfjord.

Warm springs: Trolljeldane in Bockfjord on the north coast of Spitsbergen

Source: Teknisk Uke­b­lad

Arc­tic sea ice: 2013 more than 2012, but long-term nega­ti­ve trend unbro­ken

The area of arc­tic sea ice has been moni­to­red by satel­li­te for 34 years not, but the Euro­pean satel­li­te Cryo­sat, ope­ra­ti­ve for 3 years now, is able to mea­su­re not only area, but also the thic­kness of the ice, giving sci­en­tists much more pre­cise and reli­able data to moni­tor the deve­lo­p­ment of arc­tic sea ice. Befo­re Cryo­sat, data about ice thic­kness had to be collec­ted manu­al­ly, giving only con­trol sam­ples with gre­at effort.

2012 remains so far the mini­mum year for arc­tic sea ice, both in terms of area and volu­me. In Octo­ber 2012, the­re were about 6,000 cubic kilo­me­tres (km3) of sea ice in the Arc­tic, com­pa­red to 9,000 at the same time in 2013. This means an incre­a­se of 50 %. Most of the incre­a­se is due to an incre­a­sed thic­kness of mul­ti-year ice, which is cur­r­ent­ly most­ly two year ice, by 20 % or 30 cm. The pro­por­ti­on of mul­ti year ice is, howe­ver, still signi­fi­cant­ly lower than it used to be.

The inter­pre­ta­ti­on of the­se data is that 2012 was an extre­me nega­ti­ve year, due to per­sis­tent strong winds that pushed a lot of sea ice out of the Arc­tic Oce­an and into the North Atlan­tic, whe­re it mel­ted quick­ly. The­re is no indi­ca­ti­on of a chan­ge of the long-term nega­ti­ve trend, and the Arc­tic is still expec­ted to be ice-free in sum­mer wit­hin a few deca­des – some pre­dic­tions even talk about a few years only.

In com­pa­ri­son, the sea ice volu­me of the ear­ly 1980s is esti­ma­ted near 20,000 km3, more than dou­ble com­pa­red to the pre­sent value.

Sea ice in the Arc­tic: more than 2012, but much less than 30 years ago.

Eis Arktis

Source: ESA

Zodiac acci­dent in Fjor­ten­de Juli­buk­ta: no juri­di­cal con­se­quen­ces

When a zodiac flip­ped in Fjor­ten­de Juli­buk­ta (Krossfjord) on June 17 this year, all 13 per­sons on board fell into the water. They reached the shore soon, but one Ame­ri­can woman in her six­ties lost con­scious­ness and died, befo­re the res­cue heli­co­p­ter arri­ved on the sce­ne (see Spitsbergen-Svalbard.com-news from June 2013). The zodiac was one out of nine that belon­ged to the Sea Spi­rit, which is ope­ra­ted by the US-Ame­ri­can com­pa­ny Quark Expe­di­ti­ons.

A video that was publis­hed on you­tube inclu­des foo­ta­ge taken short­ly after the acci­dent. The wea­ther was appear­ent­ly calm. This sup­ports the assump­ti­on that the wave that tur­ned the zodiac over ori­gi­na­ted from a cal­ving from the gla­cier in the bay. The claim that the wave that cau­sed the acci­dent was unfo­re­se­en and unex­pec­ted seems doubt­ful when seen in this light. The dan­ger of such waves, which often break vio­lent­ly on the shore and in shal­low waters with some delay after the actu­al cal­ving, is gene­ral­ly well known. Without fur­ther detail­ed know­ledge of the inci­dent, it would, howe­ver, be pure spe­cu­la­ti­on to infer a lack of expe­ri­ence or any respon­si­bi­li­ty on behalf of the zodiac dri­ver.

The acci­dent was inves­ti­ga­ted by the Nor­we­gi­an pro­se­cu­tor in Trom­sø with regards to juri­di­cal rele­vant beha­viour on behalf of ship ope­ra­tor, cap­tain, tour ope­ra­tor and dri­ver. The Sys­sel­man­nen has now clo­sed the case, as rele­vant beha­viour was not iden­ti­fied. It is unknown if the fami­ly of the woman intends to take fur­ther steps.

The Sea Spi­rit in Horn­sund, a few weeks after the acci­dent in Fjor­ten­de Juli­buk­ta.

Sea Spirit, Hornsund

Source: Sval­bard­pos­ten (49/2013)

Rein­de­er can see wit­hin the spec­trum of UV-radia­ti­on

News from the world of the rein­de­er, who are cur­r­ent­ly facing hard times in the Arc­tic with the pre­vai­ling polar night. The toughest times will, howe­ver, come in spring, when the light returns. By then, fat reser­ves are most­ly used up, but snow and ice still make access to food dif­fi­cult for qui­te some time.

To sur­vi­ve under such extre­me con­di­ti­ons, rein­de­er have deve­lo­ped a num­ber of asto­nis­hing adap­t­ati­ons. The­se inclu­de the abi­li­ty to see wit­hin the UV-spec­trum of light. We humans can see from 400 nm to 700 nm: this is the spec­trum of (for us) visi­ble light, the rain­bow colours. We can­not see anything bey­ond, neit­her wav­elengh­tes below 400 nm (ultraviolet=UV radia­ti­on and shor­ter) or abo­ve 700 nm (infra­red radia­ti­on and bey­ond). Qui­te oppo­si­te, UV radia­ti­on can be harm­ful to our eyes and skin (snow blind­ness and sunburn).

Rein­de­er can, howe­ver, see wav­elengh­tes down to 320 nm, which is well bey­ond our own ran­ge. It is, howe­ver, unknown what exact­ly they see: colours or greysca­le.

This abi­li­ty may help rein­de­er to find food: important tun­dra plants absorb parts of the UV spec­trum and may accord­in­gly be more con­trast-rich and thus easier to see wit­hin the UV spec­trum. Being able to see UV may also make ori­en­ta­ti­on easier in white­out con­di­ti­ons, when visi­bi­li­ty for humans is redu­ced to almost (or actual­ly) zero. It is not dark, but any con­trast gets com­ple­te­ly lost in true white­out, so we are then unab­le to detect or iden­ti­fy objects, distan­ces, ter­rain fea­tures etc. Also pre­d­a­tors are easier to detect in advan­ce wit­hin the UV spec­trum.

With their UV sen­sing abi­li­ties, rein­de­er are no excep­ti­on in the ani­mal world. Simi­lar see­ing ran­ges have been found in birds, bats, rodents and insects. It is qui­te pos­si­ble that we as humans with our limi­ted see­ing abi­li­ty are the expec­tion rather than the rein­de­er.

In ano­t­her arti­cle, forskning.no reports about the evo­lu­ti­on of rein­de­er: the gene­tic diver­si­ty of reein­de­er has deve­lo­ped lar­ge­ly during the ice ages. Split­ting of are­as due to inland ice for­ma­ti­on in North Ame­ri­ca has led to gene­tic split­ting and accord­in­gly an incre­a­sed gene pool espe­cial­ly for tun­dra rein­de­er. Tho­se rein­de­er living in wood­lands may in con­trast have expe­ri­en­ced a reduc­tion of their gene­tic diver­si­ty during ice sheet growth, when their habi­tat was redu­ced in area and popu­la­ti­ons moved tog­e­ther. Espe­cial­ly tun­dra rein­de­er may accord­in­gly be qui­te well sui­ted to adapt to cli­ma­te and habi­tat chan­ges. In the past, they have shown an ama­zing abi­li­ty to sur­vi­ve a chan­ging envi­ron­ment: they are amongst few spe­ci­es of Qua­terna­ry (ice age) megafau­na that has sur­vi­ved until modern times, while mam­mo­th, smi­lodon, mega­lo­ce­ros and many others have disap­peared from the pla­net.

Sur­vi­val experts in har­sh cli­ma­te: Rein­de­er in Spits­ber­gen.

Reindeer, Spitsbergen

Source: Forkning.no (UV-visi­bi­li­ty, gene­tic varia­ti­on)

17 com­pa­nies sear­ching for oil in new area in the eas­tern Bar­ents Sea

The exact posi­ti­on of the bor­der bet­ween Rus­sia and Nor­way in the Bar­ents Sea has been deter­mi­ned in a trea­ty bet­ween the two coun­tries as late as in 2010. Nor­way has recent­ly ope­ned a new area, as lar­ge as Switz­er­land, for explo­ra­ti­on. On Tues­day, no less than 17 inter­na­tio­nal com­pa­nies have announ­ced that they want to enga­ge in explo­ra­ti­on in the new area in 2014. The­se are BP, Che­vron, Cono­co­Phil­lips , Eni, Roy­al Dut­ch Shell, Lukoil, Ide­mit­su, Rep­sol, Det nor­ske, Win­ters­hall, Sun­cor, VNG, PGNiG , Spike, Sta­toil, GDF Suez and Lun­din Petro­le­um.

The U.S. Geo­lo­gi­cal Sur­vey esti­ma­tes the poten­ti­al near 90 mil­li­on bar­rel. Explo­ra­ti­on is sche­du­led to start in April 2014. The Nor­we­gi­an oil minis­try has alrea­dy car­ri­ed out some first explo­ra­ti­on work.

It is safe to assu­me that envi­ron­men­tal aspects will not keep the Nor­we­gi­an aut­ho­ri­ties from giving out licen­ses for explo­ra­ti­on, which inclu­des seis­mic sur­veys with explo­si­ves, and for explo­ita­ti­on. (side note: it is easier to clo­se some more are­as for tou­rists and then pre­tend you have done some­thing for the envi­ron­ment the­re).

Drift ice in the Bar­ents Sea.

Drift ice, Barents Sea

Source: Finan­cial Post

Norway’s worst christ­mas tree stands in Lon­gye­ar­by­en

The christ­mas tree that has recent­ly been set up in Lon­gye­ar­by­en has been cal­led the worst one in Nor­way by several major media of the coun­try (Nord­lys, TV2). The local news­pa­per Sval­bard­pos­ten has devo­ted two full pages to the tree and asked pas­sers-by about their opi­ni­on. The­se were mixed, inclu­ding comments like “a bit fun­ny”, “a bit thin”, “aero­dy­na­mic” and “thin branch”, which speak a clear lan­guage.

Longyearbyen’s christ­mas tree is tra­di­tio­nal­ly dona­ted by Trom­sø com­mu­ni­ty, who has sent the tree up as flight car­go this year. Accord­ing to media, the car­ri­er had reques­ted the tree not to be too volu­mous. After pho­tos had star­ted to cir­cu­la­te in media, it was quick­ly deci­ded in Trom­sø to send a new tree – this time by ship, so the new tree will cer­tain­ly be more hand­so­me and is expec­ted to satisfy cri­tics in Lon­gye­ar­by­en and else­whe­re. Well, then – mer­ry christ­mas!

“Norway’s worst christ­mas tree” (image: Chris­ti­an Nico­lai Bjør­ke / Sval­bard­pos­ten).

Norway's worst christmas tree

Fine after seri­es of mining acci­dents in Bar­ents­burg

After three serious acci­dents in the Rus­si­an coal mines in Bar­ents­burg wit­hin just a few mon­ths, the Nor­we­gi­an aut­ho­ri­ties have reac­ted by giving the mining com­pa­ny Trust Arc­ti­cu­gol a fine of 1.3 mil­li­on Nor­we­gi­an Kro­ner (ca. 154,000 Euro) on the basis of the Nor­we­gi­an labour pro­tec­tion law (arbei­ds­mil­jøl­o­ven).

Two out of the three acci­dents led to loss of human life: A Ukrai­ni­an worker died on April 04 after he had been hit by fal­ling stones in a mine 500 m below sea level. On June 20, ano­t­her Ukrai­ni­an was hit by a stone­fall in a ven­ti­la­ti­on shaft at depths of 300 meters. The third acci­dent hap­pen­ed on Sep­tem­ber 10, when a third Ukrai­ni­an miner got his legs jam­med in the pro­duc­tion area of the mine. He lost one of his legs.

Dan­ge­rous ter­rain: mine ent­ran­ce in Bar­ents­burg.

Mine entrance inBarentsburg width=

Source: Sys­sel­man­nen

Polar bears in the polar night

Several polar bear obser­va­tions clo­se to Lon­gye­ar­by­en were repor­ted wit­hin just a few weeks. Not all obser­va­tions could be con­fir­med, but some are bey­ond any doubt, such as the fresh tracks seen yes­ter­day in Advent­da­len clo­se to Lon­gye­ar­by­en. The Sys­sel­man­nen reminds all who are moving around in the field to to so with care, being alert and car­ry­ing ade­qua­te wea­pons.

Other than that, it is pret­ty calm the­se days in and around Spits­ber­gen.

Polar bear tracks: qui­te impres­si­ve during day­light. Even more so in darkness!

Polar bear tracks, Spitzbergen

Arc­tic ice deve­lo­p­ment in 2013

New data about the arc­tic ice loss in 2013: A danish report gives new figu­res about the ice loss from the Green­land inland ice and sea ice in the Arc­tic Oce­an. Accord­ing to the report, ice loss was signi­fi­cant in 2013, but slight­ly less dra­ma­tic than in 2012 both for land and sea ice.

The con­tri­bu­ti­on of the Green­land inland ice to glo­bal sea level rise in 2013 is 1.2 mm. The time frame con­si­de­red is from Octo­ber 2012 to Sep­tem­ber 2013, to inclu­de one win­ter and one sum­mer sea­son (gla­cio­lo­gi­cal year). This sea level rise is the value that cor­re­sponds to the total net­to ice loss of 430 Gt (1 Gt = 1 Giga­tonn = 1 bil­li­on tonns). The lar­gest ice volu­me lost wit­hin 24 hours was on July 25, when an incredi­ble 12 Gt eit­her mel­ted or bro­ke off as ice­berg! In 2012, howe­ver, the cor­re­spon­ding value is an even more incredi­ble 20 Gt. The nega­ti­ve trend of the Green­land inland ice’s mass balan­ce is accord­in­gly con­ti­nued in 2013, even though it is slight­ly less rapid than in 2012, regar­ding some important key figu­res.

The gla­cier move­ments were more or less nor­mal in 2013. At least, no dra­ma­tic events were recor­ded as in 2012, when the lar­ge Peter­mann Gla­cier in wes­tern north Green­land show­ed some dra­ma­ti­cal­ly huge cal­ving.

The trend of the sea ice in the Arc­tic Oce­an seems to be rough­ly com­pa­ra­ble. During spring, the time of the lar­gest ice cover, the­re was at least more ice than during the past 5-8 years on average, but this is hard­ly good enough to relax con­si­de­ring the seri­es of recent nega­ti­ve records. The ice loss con­ti­nues, even if it is slight­ly less rapid then in the nega­ti­ve record year of 2012. The annu­al ice mini­mum is num­ber six on the list of years of the smal­lest sea ice cover sin­ce 1979. An important rea­son is belie­ved to be in the rela­tively calm wind con­di­ti­ons of the Arc­tic Oce­an, which pushed less ice out through the Fram Strait bet­ween Green­land and Spits­ber­gen into the Atlan­tic than in pre­vious years.

Polar­por­tal is an infor­ma­ti­on platt­form run by several Danish rese­arch insti­tu­ti­ons, inclu­ding DMI (the Danish Meteo­ro­lo­gi­cal Insti­tu­te) and GEUS (Danish Geo­lo­gi­cal Ser­vice) to publish their results.

Gla­cier ice in Scores­by­sund, east Green­land.

Glacier ice, east Greenland

Source: Polar­por­tal

Trap­per sta­ti­on at Aus­t­fj­ord­ne­set to be used again

The trap­per sta­ti­on at Aus­t­fj­ord­ne­set in inner Wij­defjord will be used again. The hut belongs to the Sys­sel­man­nen, who used to give it to app­li­cants who wan­ted to live as trap­per for at least one year. A few years ago, the sta­ti­on was clo­sed. Rea­sons given were too high cos­ts or legal uncer­tain­ties, both of which was not real­ly con­vin­cing and the decisi­on to clo­se Aus­t­fj­ord­ne­set accord­in­gly con­tro­ver­si­al.

Now, a new trap­per may move in. He or she should have expe­ri­ence with hun­ting and trap­ping, sledge dogs, good health and a CV without dark spots and may then app­ly to the Sys­sel­man­nen until the end of 2013.

Trap­per­sta­ti­on at Aus­t­fj­ord­ne­set

n_c7_Austfjordneset_27Juli11_01

Source: Sys­sel­man­nen

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