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Home* News and Stories → Cli­ma­te chan­ge: fjord ice on the west coast of Spits­ber­gen stron­gly redu­ced

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

By the way, my new book is in print and it can now be orde­red 🙂 it is a pho­to book with the tit­le “Nor­we­gens ark­ti­scher Nor­den (1): Spitz­ber­gen – vom Polar­licht bis zur Mit­ter­nachts­son­ne”, with Ger­man text Click here for fur­ther details!

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last modification: 2014-07-01 · copyright: Rolf Stange
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