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Daily Archives: 13. May 2013 − News & Stories

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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