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Home → May, 2013

Monthly Archives: May 2013 − News & Stories


Evacua­ti­on from Bear Island (Bjørnøya) after sola­ri­um use

This is not how sta­ti­on chef Erling Gus­tav­sen had pic­tures his fare­well from Bear Island (Bjørnøya): In mid May, he got pain­ful chan­ges to the skin on the ankle. Tele-medi­cal con­su­la­ti­on resul­ted in some fear that he might have caught Sta­phy­lo­coc­cus spec. Final­ly, it was deci­ded to heli­co­p­ter-evacua­te him from Bear Island to get him into medi­cal tre­at­ment.

In the hos­pi­tal in Trom­sø, howe­ver, it tur­ned out that Gus­tav­sen had sim­ply burnt his ankle in the sola­ri­um. He had, at the same time, used cream to cure pro­blems with his Achil­les heel, which makes the skin more sen­si­ti­ve to UV radia­ti­on.

The pati­ent is impro­ving rapidly, but he finds the sto­ry a bit embarr­as­sing. Effects of the evacua­ti­on of the chef on the meals for the remai­ning sta­ti­on crew on Bear Island are not known.

The wea­ther sta­ti­on on Bear Island (Bjørnøya). The sola­ri­um is of cour­se the only place to be in such con­di­ti­ons.

Evacuation from Bear Island Bjørnøya

Source: Finn­marks­dag­b­la­det

Gui­de­book “Spits­ber­gen-Sval­bard”: book review

A very posi­ti­ve book review for the gui­de­book “Spits­ber­gen-Sval­bard” has recent­ly been publis­hed in the Czech Polar Reports, a perio­di­cal for polar rese­arch. The aut­hor, Miloš Bar­ták, is Pro­fes­sor for Bio­lo­gy at the Masa­ryik-Uni­ver­si­ty in Brno (Czech Repu­blic). Amongst others, he wri­tes:

“Thanks to his per­so­nal expe­ri­ence with Sval­bard, the aut­hor wro­te an excel­lent gui­de …”.

“I would like to point out the pre­cise descrip­ti­on of plants and ani­mals that fol­lows a well-desi­gned sche­me”.

“Sub­stan­ti­al part of the book deals with histo­ry, geo­lo­gy and geo­gra­phy of Sval­bard. I find it very use­ful becau­se the­re are many infor­ma­ti­on attrac­ting both tra­vel­lers and polar rese­arch pro­fes­sio­nals. For each important loca­ti­on, detail­ed infor­ma­ti­on of the histo­ry of dis­co­very and/or sett­le­ment is given …”

“Throughout the book, the­re are many posi­ti­ve fea­tures that … pushes the book from a stan­dard turist gui­de to a hig­her qua­li­ty.”

“… the book is not only a per­fect turist gui­de attrac­ting peop­le to come and see but also a com­pre­hen­si­ve source of infor­ma­ti­on for pro­fes­sio­nals in polar sci­ence who may use it for logistic and field works plan­ning. It could be also recom­men­ded to uni­ver­si­ty stu­dents of geo­lo­gy, bio­lo­gy, and eco­lo­gy of polar regi­ons,…”

The full review is publis­hed here: Bar­ták, M. (2013): R. Stan­ge (2012): Spits­ber­gen / Sval­bard. A com­ple­te gui­de around the Arc­tic archi­pe­la­go. Book Review. Czech Polar Reports, 3: 78 – 79.

Spits­ber­gen-Sval­bard: this gui­de­book has recent­ly recei­ved a very posi­ti­ve review in the Czech Polar Reports.

Guidebook Spitsbergen Svalbard: book review

Arc­tic expe­di­ti­ons 2014: Spits­ber­gen and Jan May­en

House news: we will offer 4 exci­ting arc­tic voya­ges in 2014, to Spits­ber­gen and Jan May­en.

The expe­di­ti­on to Jan May­en has been in a plan­ning sta­ge for qui­te some time, but the details are almost fina­li­zed so the trip can be boo­ked soon. If you have alrea­dy con­ta­c­ted me about the Jan May­en expe­di­ti­on 2014, then you will get a mes­sa­ge the next days befo­re the final details go public on the web­site.

We will also run 3 trips in Spits­ber­gen: two with SV Anti­gua, one in high sum­mer in late July/August and one in Sep­tem­ber. And in August, we want to offer “advan­ced Spits­ber­gen”: with a small sai­ling boat and a small group (about 10 pas­sen­gers) to the remo­te parts of Sval­bard. For tho­se who are out for a very inti­ma­te, acti­ve expe­ri­ence of natu­re and excel­lent pho­to­gra­phic oppor­tu­nities, inclu­ding wild­life. The Spits­ber­gen voya­ges are expec­ted to be Ger­man spea­king, but for tho­se of you who speak a bit of Ger­man and are not afraid of a bunch of Germans/Swiss, plea­se have a look at the more detail­ed descrip­ti­ons for the Arc­tic 2014!

Sun­set on the west coast of Spits­ber­gen, Sep­tem­ber 2012.

Sunset, west coast of Spitsbergen, September

Lon­gye­ar­by­en CO2 neu­tral?

Will Lon­gye­ar­by­en be Norway’s first CO2 sett­le­ment? This is the visi­on of a group of sci­en­tists wit­hin UNIS (Uni­ver­si­ty in Lon­gye­ar­by­en). The geo­lo­gy around Lon­gye­ar­by­en seems sui­ta­ble for long-term sto­rage of lar­ge amounts of CO2 (CCS, car­bon cap­tu­re and sto­rage): porous sand­stones are able to host lar­ge volu­mes of vola­ti­les (liquids, gas), and over­ly­ing lay­ers of fine-grai­ned sedi­ments seal this natu­ral sto­rage off to pre­vent vola­ti­les from esca­ping into the atmo­s­phe­re. First tests with water ins­tead of gas went well.

The next step should be to press a lar­ger volu­me of CO2 into the ground in Advent­da­len, whe­re the test sited is situa­ted, to test the sui­ta­bi­li­ty of the sedi­ments under more rea­listic con­di­ti­ons. The­re are three opti­ons: sepa­ra­ting CO22

The “CO2.

Longyearbyen CO2 neutral? CO2-lab, Adventdalen

Source: Aften­pos­ten

… the arc­tic sum­mer is on its way!

The Litt­le auk colo­nies that are in many pla­ces on the slo­pes high abo­ve Lon­gye­ar­by­en are acti­ve, some­thing that is easy to hear now. Snow bun­tings are play­ing their spring games on snow-free patches of tun­dra, which are gro­wing lar­ger day after day. And the geese have arri­ved after their spring migra­ti­on. Sum­mer on 78 degrees north is on its way.

Pink-foo­ted goo­se in Lon­gye­ar­by­en, 22nd May.

Ping-footed goose, Longyearbyen

The end of the arc­tic win­ter …

The win­ter has come to an end in Spits­ber­gen, and it is being repla­ced by a short in-bet­ween sea­son. The snow mobi­les are calm now, the snow is get­ting wet and hea­vy and the snow-free patches lar­ger and lar­ger. Around 20th/21st June, the first small run­let was flowing down over snow in the river bed of Lon­gyea­rel­va, the river in Lon­gye­ar­by­en.

Calm days, not­hing big hap­pe­ning here other­wi­se. Good.

The first water run­ning down the river in Lon­gye­ar­by­en, 22th May.

Snow melt, Longyearbyen

Cli­ma­te chan­ge: fjord ice on the west coast of Spits­ber­gen stron­gly redu­ced

A recent visit of the Nor­we­gi­an envi­ron­men­tal minis­ter Bård Vegar Solhjell to the rese­arch sett­le­ment Ny Åle­sund in Kongsfjord has put cli­ma­te chan­ge back in the poli­ti­cal deba­te in Nor­way. Accord­ing to lea­ding local sci­en­tists, the boat excur­si­on into Kongsfjord would have hap­pen­ed with snow mobi­les just 10 years befo­re, fol­lowing exact­ly the same rou­te. The loss of solid fjord ice in many fjords on the west coast of Spits­ber­gen espe­cial­ly during the last 2 years is inde­ed alar­ming. This leads to mas­si­ve pro­blems for examp­le for Rin­ged seals, who can­not give birth and rai­se their off­spring without good fjord ice. Hard­ly any Rin­ged seal, gene­ral­ly the most abundant arc­tic seal, has been born and rai­sed suc­cess­ful­ly in Kongsfjord in recent years.

The loss of solid fjord ice in the fjords on the west coast of Spits­ber­gen espe­cial­ly during the last two win­ters is inde­ed dra­ma­tic. This invol­ves pro­blems for examp­le for Rin­ged seals, which need solid ice and good snow con­di­ti­ons to rai­se their off­spring suc­cess­ful­ly. Hard­ly any young Rin­ged seal has sur­vi­ved in Kongsfjord during the last 10 years.

The incre­a­se of sea sur­face tem­pe­ra­tures on the west and north coasts of Spits­ber­gen during the last 2 years is signi­fi­cant and has redu­ced the drift and solid ice con­si­der­ab­ly. In eas­tern Spits­ber­gen, the deve­lo­p­ment is less dra­ma­tic and the ice con­di­ti­ons are com­pa­ra­tively nor­mal. On the west coasts, many fjords remain lar­ge­ly open. Most­ly, only inner reaches of the fjords are fro­zen over.

The Nor­we­gi­an envi­ron­men­tal minis­ter has spo­ken of clear signals for an alrea­dy ongo­ing war­ming.

Rin­ged seal in Tem­pel­fjord, ear­ly May 2013. Here, the fjord ice is cur­r­ent­ly still solid.

climate change Spitsbergen: Sveagruva

Source: Aften­pos­ten

Store Nor­ske: black gold yiel­ds red num­bers

The Nor­we­gi­an mining com­pa­ny Store Nor­ske is cur­r­ent­ly ope­ra­ting deeply in red num­bers. After several good years, an excep­ti­on in Spitsbergen’s mining histo­ry, the loss was near 234 mil­li­on Kro­ner (29 mil­li­on Euro) in 2012, and 2013 is not expec­ted to be much bet­ter. The main rea­sons are said to be low pri­ces on the world mar­ket for coal and the incre­a­singly dif­fi­cult con­di­ti­ons in the main mine Svea Nord near Sveagru­va, which is now ope­ra­ting in mar­gi­nal parts of the coal seam, with lower quan­ti­ties and infe­ri­or qua­li­ties.

A new mine is expec­ted to ope­ra­te from 2015 at Lunck­ef­jel­let, north of the cur­rent mine Svea Nord, but only until 2018.

Store Nor­ske reacts by cut­ting down cos­ts. Employees will have to face release, and the daugh­ter com­pa­ny Store Nor­ske Gull, which has been pro­spec­ting for gold for years at St. Jonsfjord on the west coast of Spits­ber­gen, will not con­ti­nue its acti­vi­ties in 2013.

Sveagru­va in Van Mijen­fjord: the cur­rent cent­re of coal mining in Spits­ber­gen.

Spitsbergen mining - Sveagruva

Source: Finnmarken.no

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