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Home → April, 2014

Monthly Archives: April 2014 − News & Stories


Polar bear found dead in Petu­nia­buk­ta had been ana­es­the­ti­sed for sci­en­ti­fic pur­po­ses

Initi­al­ly, it see­med to be a very nor­mal, natu­ral cour­se of things when locals from Lon­gye­ar­by­en found a dead polar bear in Petu­nia­buk­ta, near Pyra­mi­den, on 07 April. Soon, howe­ver, it tur­ned out that the ani­mal had been ana­es­the­ti­sed for sci­en­ti­fic pur­po­ses just a few days befo­re, on 04 April. The body was con­se­quent­ly brought to Lon­gye­ar­by­en for a post­mor­tem.

In con­tra­ry to ear­ly local rumours, it has been sta­ted that outer inju­ries, as might have been cau­sed by ano­t­her bear, are not pre­sent. Other polar bears pose a real thre­at to ana­es­the­ti­sed bears. The cau­se of death is at pre­sent unclear. Tis­sue sam­ples have been taken for fur­ther inves­ti­ga­ti­ons, but it may take weeks until results are avail­ab­le.

Ana­es­the­ti­sa­ti­on of polar bears can have secon­da­ry effects which may be let­hal in extre­me cases. Once sci­en­ti­fic works are finis­hed, the ani­mals are not being sur­vey­ed any fur­ther. Other bears may do harm to defen­celess polar bears. Also a chan­ge of posi­ti­on can inflict suf­fo­ca­ti­on. This is what hap­pen­ed to a polar bear found dead on Edgeøya in Sep­tem­ber 2013, which had been ana­es­the­ti­sed short­ly befo­re (see Spitsbergen-Svalbard.com news: Polar bear dead after ana­es­the­ti­sa­ti­on by sci­en­tists)

Ana­es­the­ti­sa­ti­on of polar bears, which inclu­des fol­lowing them with a heli­co­p­ter, is a trau­ma­tic expe­ri­ence for the ani­mals with secon­da­ry effects that are obvious­ly poten­ti­al­ly very dan­ge­rous. Popu­la­ti­on data are, in Spits­ber­gen, not nee­ded for admi­nis­tra­ti­ve pur­po­ses: here as well as in the neigh­bou­ring Rus­si­an Arc­tic, polar bears are com­ple­te­ly pro­tec­ted. The­re is no acti­ve manage­ment such as the fixing of an annu­al quo­ta for hun­ting. Thre­ats are more glo­bal, main­ly cli­ma­te chan­ge and long-lived envi­ron­men­tal pol­lu­ti­on, and can­not be mana­ged regio­nal­ly.

In late sum­mer 2012, a polar bear fami­ly with two first year cubs were ana­es­the­ti­sed in Bill­efjord. The fami­ly show­ed signi­fi­cant beha­viour chan­ges at least for a while, poin­ting to the stress such an expe­ri­ence invol­ves for the ani­mals (see Cha­sing polar bears with heli­co­p­ter in the name of sci­ence, Octo­ber 2012). It is pos­si­ble that the bear found dead now is one of the two litt­le cubs of the fami­ly in Bill­efjord seen by many in Bill­efjord in 2012: it was a 1.5 year old fema­le.

Not always the natu­ral way of life: dead polar bear (archi­ve pho­to, Nord­aus­t­land).

dead polar bear, Nordaustland

Source: Sval­bard­pos­ten (16/2014)

First pho­to gal­le­ries from the Arc­tic 2014

Pho­to gal­le­ries from the cur­rent arc­tic spring are now get­ting online on this web­site. A small collec­tion of pho­tos from late March makes the begin­ning – back then, it was still get­ting dark at night­time! Unbe­liev­a­ble …

Over the next weeks and mon­ths, much more will fol­low, from the ongo­ing spring sea­son with snow mobi­le and ski trips in the arc­tic win­ter to the sum­mer sai­ling sea­son in Spits­ber­gen and Jan May­en. So it will be worth to come back and check the pho­to gal­le­ries and tra­vel reports/triplogs regu­lar­ly!

Bey­ond this, new polar pan­ora­ma pho­to­gra­phy is cur­r­ent­ly in pre­pa­ra­ti­on for publi­ca­ti­on on this web­site.

In late March, it was still get­ting dark at night time. That made the fire in a wood bur­ning sto­ve in a cosy cabin even nicer!

Bjørndalen

26 ended their Eas­ter holi­days in the SAR heli­co­p­ter in Spits­ber­gen

Eas­ter is high sea­son for the out­doors in Scan­di­na­via, and the same is true for Search and Res­cue (SAR) for­ces – depen­ding on the wea­ther. This year, the wea­ther was not very sta­ble during the Eas­ter wee­kend, with lots of snow­fall and some strong winds, which in some regi­ons reached gale for­ce.

In the end, the local SAR for­ces had to air­lift 26 per­sons out from their Eas­ter trips. This inclu­des a group of 19 on Aka­de­mi­kar­breen (not 16 as men­tio­ned ear­lier), who had got stuck in bad wea­ther, with 2 tents alrea­dy des­troy­ed in gusts. They got their ride back to Lon­gye­ar­by­en on Satur­day. The same day, a per­son was evacua­ted from Petu­nia­buk­ta (near Pyra­mi­den) after a snow mobi­le col­li­si­on. Yes, such a thing can hap­pen, even in the wide-open wil­der­ness of a fro­zen fjord. Espe­cial­ly in strong winds with poor visi­bi­li­ty.

Bey­ond this, one per­son had to be air­lifted from Kapp Lin­né and ano­t­her one from the rese­arch ves­sel Lan­ce, both with inju­ries.

All per­sons are well, the­re were no serious inju­ries.

Hap­py Eas­tern …

The SAR heli­co­p­ter in Spits­ber­gen during an exer­cise. 26 went back to Lon­gye­ar­by­en with it during the last wee­kend.

SAR helicopter

Source: Sys­sel­man­nen

Yet ano­t­her SAR ope­ra­ti­on in Spits­ber­gen: 16 ski­ers stuck in storm on Aka­de­mi­kar­breen

Eas­tern is high sea­son for the out­doors in the who­le of Scan­di­na­via, but unfor­tu­n­a­te­ly also high sea­son for SAR (search and res­cue) ope­ra­ti­ons. On Eas­ter Sunday, again an emer­gen­cy beacon has been acti­va­ted in Spits­ber­gen. A group of 16 ski­ers, inclu­ding 3 gui­des, is cur­r­ent­ly stuck in a storm on Aka­de­mi­kar­breen, in cen­tral parts of eas­tern Spits­ber­gen, bet­ween New­ton­top­pen and Storfjord. With a satel­li­te pho­ne they infor­med the Sys­sel­man­nen that 2 tents are alrea­dy des­troy­ed in the storm.

Next to the SAR heli­co­p­ters, which are cur­r­ent­ly on the way, the SAR for­ces are pre­pa­ring a snow mobi­le expe­di­ti­on, as it is uncer­tain whe­ther the heli­co­p­ters can land in the pre­vai­ling bad wea­ther.

Cur­r­ent­ly, the­re is no fur­ther infor­ma­ti­on about the situa­ti­on of the group avail­ab­le.

Aka­de­mi­kar­breen in strong winds. Cur­r­ent­ly, 16 ski­ers are stuck the­re in a storm, wai­t­ing for res­cue for­ces.

Akademikarbreen in storm

Source: Sys­sel­man­nen

Rese­arch ves­sel Lan­ce breaks ice in Dick­son­fjord

In the north and east, the drif­ting sea ice is now more and more clo­sing around Spitsbergen’s coast, but the fjords remain lar­ge­ly ice-free this year. Even fjords that usual­ly free­ze over qui­te reli­ab­ly, such as Tem­pel­fjord, Bill­efjord, Dick­son­fjord, Ekmanfjord (all bran­ches of Isfjord) as well as Wij­defjord and Van Mijen­fjord are far more open than they usual­ly are, much to the reg­ret of tho­se who are enjoy­ing the cur­rent ski, dog sledge and snow mobi­le sea­son – and, more import­ant­ly, the wild­life, who needs the ice to give birth to their off­spring, such as Rin­ged seals, or to find food, as the polar bear does.

At least, some fjords are fro­zen in their inner­most parts. Dick­son­fjord had an ice cover that came clo­ser to nor­mal stan­dards than in the case of most other fjords.

Recent­ly, from 8 to 10 April, the rese­arch ves­sel Lan­ce bro­ke a lead of several kilo­me­tres into the fast ice of Dick­son­fjord. This was done as part of a field cour­se in sea ice, ori­gi­nal­ly sche­du­led to take place in Horn­sund, but as ice con­di­ti­ons the­re did not deve­lop sui­ta­b­ly, UNIS app­lied for per­mis­si­on to break a lead of “several ship’s lengths” into Dick­son­fjord.

The result is an ope­ning several kilo­me­tres long. At the inner­most posi­ti­on, the ice thic­kness was a mere 35 cen­ti­me­tres. Fur­ther out, it was even less. It can accord­in­gly not be expec­ted that the ice free­zes solid again during the cur­rent sea­son. It seems rather likely that the long crack may decre­a­se the sta­bi­li­ty of the who­le fjord ice, poten­ti­al­ly con­tri­bu­ting to an ear­lier break-up of the ice in Dick­son­fjord.

The lead bro­ken by Lan­ce is met with cri­ti­cism from several sides. Amongst others, Harald Soleim, a Nor­we­gi­an trap­per who has lived in Dick­son­fjord for many years, is less than amu­sed. During spring, he uses the fjord ice to tra­vel wit­hin his hun­ting area by snow mobi­le. He was not even infor­med about the lead bro­ken by Lan­ce and descri­bed the unex­pec­ted ope­ning as “direct­ly life dan­ge­rous”. UNIS reg­rets not having infor­med Soleim in advan­ce. If brea­king up fjord ice in times of low ice cover, at the cost of wild­life and humans, is jus­ti­fied for a sci­en­ti­fic field cour­se, may be dis­pu­ted. It is doubt­ful that per­mis­si­on had been given if stan­dards for sci­en­ti­fic ope­ra­ti­ons were equal­ly strict as for tou­ris­tic acti­vi­ties.

Fjord ice in Tem­pel­fjord: much less than nor­mal in terms of area and thic­kness. It is con­tro­ver­si­al for which pur­po­se the ice may be bro­ken when the­re is alrea­dy less than nee­ded any­way.

Fjord ice, Tempelfjord

Source: Sys­sel­man­nen (Feltlogg), Sval­bard­pos­ten

Man fell 6 metres into gla­cier crev­as­se on Con­way­jø­ku­len

The simi­la­ri­ty to the next to last head­line is no coin­ci­dence: again, a ski­er fell down a crev­as­se on a gla­cier in Spits­ber­gen. And again, it went well in the end.

A group of five tou­rists led by one gui­de was on the way back from a trip to New­ton­top­pen, Spitsbergen’s hig­hest moun­tain. In the area of Con­way­jø­ku­len, nor­the­ast of Bill­efjord, the group got into crev­as­sed area. At the time (Thurs­day, 16 April) the wea­ther was bad in the area, with strong winds and drif­ting snow and visi­bi­li­ty accord­in­gly poor. The six ski­ers were roped up into two groups of three per­sons each, when the gui­de, lea­ding the first group, well down into a crev­as­se. His two fol­lo­wers could, howe­ver, stop his fall after 6 metres. The second team approa­ched the crev­as­se and final­ly mana­ged to retrie­ve the emer­gen­cy beacon, which the gui­de had with him.

Due to the poor visi­bi­li­ty on the ground, the res­cue heli­co­p­ter was not able to land, des­pi­te several attempts. Res­cue for­ces in Lon­gye­ar­by­en pre­pa­red a ski expe­di­ti­on, and the heli­co­p­ter pre­pa­red to winch the six per­sons all up indi­vi­du­al­ly, when the wea­ther impro­ved slight­ly, allowing the heli­co­p­ter to land. Mean­while, the five ski­ers on the ground had mana­ged to get their gui­de up from the crev­as­se. He had suf­fe­red light shoul­der inju­ries, but was other­wi­se unhurt.

All six and their dog could then board the heli­co­p­ter and return to Lon­gye­ar­by­en.

The exact posi­ti­on of the crev­as­se has not been publis­hed. The wide gla­cier are­as of Lomo­no­ss­ov­fon­na are gene­ral­ly thought to have few crev­as­ses only. It is pos­si­ble that the group had ended up some­whe­re they would not have gone in bet­ter visi­bi­li­ty. It is not known if the crev­as­se had been visi­ble under bet­ter con­di­ti­ons.

Gla­cier land­s­cape in the area of Lomo­no­ss­ov­fon­na, not far from Con­way­jø­ku­len, whe­re a man fell 6 metres into a crev­as­se on Thurs­day.

Lomonossovfonna

Sources: Sys­sel­man­nen, Sval­bard­pos­ten

East Sval­bard Natu­re Reser­ves: new regu­la­ti­ons in for­ce on 01 May 2014

The high­ly con­tro­ver­si­al pro­cess of new regu­la­ti­ons in the lar­ge natu­re reser­ves in East Sval­bard is now lar­ge­ly com­ing to an end: the new law is com­ing in for­ce on 01st May 2014. The quar­rel has been open and part­ly hea­ted sin­ce at least 2007.

The result is lar­ge­ly fol­lowing the Sysselmannen’s pro­po­sal from Janu­a­ry 2013. It remains, in the eyes of the pre­sent aut­hor, valid and true that the exper­ti­se behind the new regu­la­ti­ons is, in lar­ge parts, weak or not exis­tent. Nevertheless, most of tho­se tra­ve­ling the are­as in ques­ti­on should at least lar­ge­ly find them­sel­ves able to get used to the new situa­ti­on (and if not, they will have to, any­way) without too drastic chan­ges. Regar­ding some poten­ti­al­ly important details, it remains to see how it will work in prac­ti­ce. This con­cerns access to the new, so-cal­led sci­en­ti­fic refe­rence are­as.

The important chan­ges are the fol­lowing (part­ly quo­ted from Spitsbergen-Svalbard.com news, Janu­a­ry 2013. Updated and added to as nee­ded).

Six part­ly new zones will be deter­mi­ned in the lar­ge Natu­re Reser­ves in East Sval­bard. Some of them are lar­ge, others restric­ted to sin­gle loca­ti­ons. Dif­fe­rent regu­la­ti­ons app­ly to the­se zones (see map below):

Zone A (yel­low): “Sci­en­ti­fic refe­rence are­as”. Anyo­ne who wants to tra­vel the­re needs to noti­fy the Sys­sel­man­nen at least 4 weeks in advan­ce. The Sys­sel­man­nen can requi­re chan­ges of plans or stop them altog­e­ther. The result could poten­ti­al­ly still come clo­se to a com­ple­te clo­sure of the are­as in ques­ti­on, which are lar­ge, alt­hough most­ly (but not com­ple­te­ly) irrele­vant for tou­rism. The sci­en­ti­fic need for and value of such refe­rence are­as remains very con­tro­ver­si­al, no solid argu­ments that sup­port such a need or value bey­ond gene­ral, rather dif­fu­se remarks of gene­ral pre­ven­ti­on, have been put for­ward. This did not keep DN and other inte­res­ted par­ties from decla­ring that such are­as were necessa­ry. By the way, an obli­ga­ti­on to app­ly for per­mis­si­on to tra­vel in the East Sval­bard Natu­re Reser­ves – which cover the pro­po­sed refe­rence are­as and far more – is alrea­dy in for­ce and has been so for many years. Time will have to show what the new regu­la­ti­ons will real­ly bring. Anything is pos­si­ble from a litt­le bit more paper­work befo­re the trip to a fac­tu­al clo­sure of lar­ge are­as.

Zone B (oran­ge): No admis­si­on bet­ween May 15 and August 15. This means in prac­ti­ce a clo­sure of parts of Lågøya and all of Tus­enøya­ne for most of the rele­vant sea­son. This is the only “detail” whe­re the map below needs to be updated: the clo­sed area does not inclu­de the who­le island, but the west coast and the nort­hern tip. The lat­ter is the only part of the island that is regu­lar­ly visi­ted by tou­rists. A simi­lar regu­la­ti­on is alrea­dy in for­ce for the bird reser­ves, but the­se are restric­ted to smal­ler are­as and loca­ti­ons, most­ly the actu­al bree­ding colo­nies on smal­ler islands, rather than lar­ger islands and who­le island groups.

Zone C (green dots): site-spe­ci­fic regu­la­ti­ons are to app­ly. This is a pro­ce­du­re which is get­ting incre­a­singly com­mon for polar tou­rism, for examp­le in Ant­arc­ti­ca. The site-spe­ci­fic rules are to be com­pi­led by the tou­rism indus­try (repre­sen­ted by AECO) under the Sysselmannen’s super­vi­si­on. A lot of work on the­se site-spe­ci­fic regu­la­ti­ons has alrea­dy been done. In the east Sval­bard natu­re reser­ves, the­re are 4 rele­vant loca­ti­ons: Polar­sta­r­od­den (Storøya), Andrée­ne­set and Kræ­mer­pyn­ten (Kvi­tøya), Doleritt­ne­set (“Kapp Lee”) and Andréet­an­gen (Edgeøya).

Zone D (red dots): smal­ler are­as around cul­tu­ral heri­ta­ge sites that are clo­sed com­ple­te­ly year round. In for­ce sin­ce 2010.

Zone E (red): This is Kong Karls Land. No admis­si­on around the year. Has alrea­dy been in for­ce sin­ce for many years.

Addi­tio­nal­ly, it has been deci­ded that ships sai­ling in the east Sval­bard natu­re reser­ves may not car­ry more than 200 pas­sen­gers. Grey water and toi­let waters may not be dischar­ged wit­hin 500 metres off shore and not at all in Rijpfjord, a site for long-term ocea­no­gra­phic stu­dies. Tog­e­ther with the ban on hea­vy fuel on board ships tra­ve­ling insi­de the natu­re reser­ves, which has alrea­dy been in for­ce for some time, the­se parts of the new regu­la­ti­ons make a lot of sen­se from a con­ser­va­ti­on per­spec­ti­ve.

Ost Svalbard Entwurf Sysselmannen_09 Januar 2013

This map is from the Sysselmannen’s pro­po­sal from Janu­a­ry 2013 and is used here for prac­ti­cal rea­sons. The only details that needs some updating is Lågøya, which is not com­ple­te­ly clo­sed (15 May-15 August), but only along the west coast and nort­hern tip (Purchas­ne­set), indi­ca­ted by the red line on the map. The offi­cial maps as enc­lo­sed with the new law text can be acces­sed in the Nor­we­gi­an online law libra­ry

Click here for a lar­ger ver­si­on of this map.

Source: Press release of the Nor­we­gi­an government: east Sval­bard Natu­re Reser­ves .

Here you can read the com­ple­te law (Nor­we­gi­an), inclu­ding maps.

Man fell 25 metres into gla­cier crev­as­se on Nor­dens­kiöldfjel­let

On Sunday, a ski­er fell 25 metres down into a crev­as­se in a gla­cier on Nor­dens­kiöldfjel­let near Lon­gye­ar­by­en. With a lot of luck and swift reac­tion by the local SAR for­ces, the man could be res­cued essen­ti­al­ly without inju­ries.

The moun­tain Nor­dens­kiöldfjel­let, 1050 metres high, is the sou­thern, hig­her part of Pla­tå­ber­get and a popu­lar desti­na­ti­on for spor­ti­ve outings from Lon­gye­ar­by­en. The crev­as­ses in the hig­her, stee­per part of the gla­cier are not unknown. Com­mon rou­tes lead eit­her over parts of the gla­cier gene­ral­ly assu­med to be safe (in a distance of the crev­as­se in ques­ti­on) or over rocky rid­ges at eit­her side to the gla­cier. The lat­ter opti­on is dif­fi­cult or imp­rac­ti­ca­ble in win­ter, when the rocks, which inclu­de some stee­per steps, are fro­zen over with ice.

The ski­er was in a group of altog­e­ther 9 per­sons who were on the way down from the sum­mit. On the way, the 9 had split up into 2 groups. Once the man, who is in the mid twen­ties, had fal­len into the crev­as­ses, his com­ra­des did not dare to move any­whe­re, but alar­med the Sys­sel­man­nen. Res­cue for­ces of Sys­sel­man­nen and Red Cross whe­re soon on the sce­ne with 2 heli­co­p­ters and after about 2 hours in total the man was in safe­ty again, luck­i­ly without any inju­ries des­pi­te a fal­ling distance of 25 metres. It can be assu­med that the crev­as­se was not ver­ti­cal, which would not be uncom­mon for a crev­as­se near the steep con­ta­ct bet­ween ice and rocks at the hig­her end of a gla­cier.

The posi­ti­on of the crev­as­se is given as N78 10.95 E15 26.55 by the Sys­sel­man­nen, which is in accordance with the crev­as­se mar­ked in the pho­to below. The pho­to was taken on July 19, 2009 and shows the gla­cier with less snow cover than cur­r­ent­ly. At the time of the acci­dent on last Sunday, the crev­as­se was cove­r­ed with snow and accord­in­gly invi­si­ble at the sur­face.

Gla­cier at Nor­dens­kiöldfjel­let (archi­ve image, July 2009). The crev­as­ses near the upper end are part­ly visi­ble. On Sunday, a ski­er fell 25 metres deep into a crev­as­se in this area.

Crevasse at Nordenskiöldfjellet bei Longyearbyen

Source: Feltlogg Sys­sel­man­nen

Trap­pers Trail 2014: Spitsbergen’s lar­gest dog sled race

Impres­si­ons from the Trap­pers Trail 2014, Spitsbergen’s lar­gest dog sled race. Sin­ce 2009, the Trap­pers Trail is an annu­al event. The rou­te is in toal 75 kilo­me­tres long and takes the teams from Lon­gye­ar­by­en via Toda­len and Bøda­len to Kapp Lai­la on the first day, whe­re the teams, orga­ni­zers and visi­tors enjoy a memo­r­able evening with bon­fire, oven-hea­ted tents and a grand view over Isfjord. The second day takes the teams through Farda­len and up to Lon­gyear­breen. The slo­pe up to the pass to the gla­cier is the toughest part of the rou­te, which is, altog­e­ther, well wit­hin rea­son for rea­son­ab­ly well trai­ned teams.

The­re are several disci­pli­nes, depen­ding on the num­ber of dogs per team and the kind of sledge. “Ski and pulk” is a group on its own. This year, “Lon­gye­ar­by­en Hun­de­klubb” has announ­ced a record-brea­king num­ber of par­ti­ci­pants: 23 teams with 38 mus­hers and 199 dogs. The win­ner was not yet cer­tain at the time of wri­ting.

Trap­pers Trail (gal­le­ry)

Click on thumb­nail to open an enlar­ged ver­si­on of the spe­ci­fic pho­to.

Trap­pers Trail: Spitsbergen’s big­gest dog sledge event

This wee­kend (April 05/06) it’s time again for Spitsbergen’s big­gest dog sledge event, the famous Trap­pers Trail race. This time, records have been bro­ken befo­re the race even star­ted: No less than 22 teams with 38 mus­hers and 199 dogs have signed in to par­ti­ci­pa­te. This is an all time record until now. The Trap­pers Trail race is an annu­al event sin­ce 2009.

As the wea­ther fore­cast is pret­ty good – over­cast, but litt­le wind – the teams, orga­nisers and visi­tors are loo­king for­ward to a gre­at dog sledge wee­kend. The rou­te is on Satur­day from Lon­gye­ar­by­en via Toda­len and Bøda­len to Kapp Lai­la, whe­re Lon­gye­ar­by­en Hun­de­klubb has got a hut, whe­re the par­ticpants will stay until Sunday. The rou­te back is going through Farda­len and up the rather steep slo­pe to the pass over to Lon­gyear­breen. The total distance is 75 kilo­me­tres.

Good trip! Loo­king for­ward to it …!

Just after the start of the Trap­pers Trail in Lon­gye­ar­by­en (2013)..

Trappers Trail, Longyearbyen

More: Lon­gye­ar­by­en Hun­de­klubb

It’s win­ter in Spits­ber­gen, but the fjords don’t noti­ce

Tem­pe­ra­tures in Janu­a­ry and espe­cial­ly Febru­a­ry were far abo­ve the long-term average (see Spitsbergen-Svalbard.com news: Febru­a­ry tem­pe­ra­tures in Lon­gye­ar­by­en 15 degrees abo­ve average). Now, win­ter has final­ly come to Spits­ber­gen the way it should be, but it loo­ks as if it is too late for the sea water to cool down and allow the fjords to free­ze pro­per­ly. Even fjords that are usual­ly reli­ab­ly fro­zen such as Van Mijen­fjord, Tem­pel­fjord and inner Wij­defjord are lar­ge­ly open, and fjord ice cover is cur­r­ent­ly limi­ted to rela­tively thin she­ets in the inner­most parts.

Noor­der­licht, usual­ly fro­zen in the ice in Tem­pel­fjord during the spring sea­son, has can­cel­led the “ship in the ice” for this sea­son and is ins­tead run­ning the first sai­ling excur­si­ons in Isfjord with geo­lo­gy stu­dents.

The pho­to below shows the ice edge in Tem­pel­fjord as of last Satur­day (March 29). It is only behind Kapp Schoultz/Kapp Mur­doch that the fjord is fro­zen. The days to come are sup­po­sed to be rea­son­ab­ly cold and we hope they may bring more ice. Locals and tou­rists can cho­se alter­na­ti­ve rou­tes inde­pen­dent of fro­zen fjords for their excur­si­ons, for examp­le to Bar­ents­burg or to the east coast, but the regio­nal envi­ron­ment would great­ly bene­fit from nor­mal ice con­di­ti­ons, for examp­le Rin­ged seals, which give birth to their off­spring on fjord ice later in spring.

The fjord ice edge in Tem­pel­fjord last Satur­day (March 29). The fjord is open west of Kapp Schoultz..

Ice edge Tempelfjord

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