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Home → August, 2015

Monthly Archives: August 2015 − News


Spits­ber­gen calen­dar 2016 avail­ab­le

The Spits­ber­gen calen­dar 2016 is avail­ab­le from now on in two sizes (A3 and A5). Twel­ve beau­ti­ful pho­tos bring Spitsbergen’s sce­ne­ry and wild­life throughout the arc­tic sea­sons onto your wall. Click here for fur­ther infor­ma­ti­on about the new Spits­ber­gen calen­dar 2016.

Der Spitz­ber­gen-Kalen­der 2016 ist ab sofort wie gewohnt in den For­ma­ten A3 und A5 erhält­lich. Zwölf schö­ne Fotos brin­gen Spitz­ber­gens Land­schaf­ten und Tie­re durch die Jah­res­zei­ten auf die Wand. Der Spitz­ber­gen-Kalen­der 2016 ist hier bestell­bar.

The new Spits­ber­gen calen­dar 2016.

Spitsbergen calendar 2016

Mild sum­mer in Spits­ber­gen

Accord­ing to wea­ther data of the Nor­we­gi­an Meteo­ro­lo­gi­cal Insti­tu­te, the cur­rent sum­mer mon­th August is the war­mest of its kind sin­ce the begin­ning of mea­su­re­ments in the 1970s at the air­port near Lon­gye­ar­by­en. The nor­mal average tem­pe­ra­tu­re in August is 4.8°C. The cor­re­spon­ding value for 2015 will be bet­ween 6.6 and 6.8°C (the final value is not yet avail­ab­le).

Lon­gye­ar­by­en has not had sum­mer tem­pe­ra­tures on this average level at least sin­ce the 1970s. And inde­ed, parts of August were real sum­mer in Lon­gye­ar­by­en, with tem­pe­ra­tures up to around 16°C in cases. Peop­le were enjoy­ing the out­side tables of the cafés and restau­rants and their own homes.

Some­ti­mes, the warm tem­pe­ra­tures were more of a local cha­rac­ter: while it was more than 16°C in Lon­gye­ar­by­en, it was plea­s­ant­ly cool (4-5°C) at Kapp Lee on Edgeøya. Altog­e­ther, howe­ver, wea­ther data from other sta­ti­ons (Ny Åle­sund, Isfjord Radio, Bar­ents­burg) indi­ca­te a very mild sum­mer also else­whe­re in the regi­on.

Locals are more worried about war­mer win­ters than war­mer sum­mers. The win­ter cold is important for the fjord ice. Also shrin­king gla­ciers alrea­dy make for very obvious chan­ges in the land­s­cape.

Sum­mer wea­ther in Isfjord.

Summer in Isfjord

Source: NRK

Smol­de­ring fire at cul­tu­ral heri­ta­ge in Cole­s­buk­ta

Almost two weeks ago a team of the Sys­sel­man­nen star­ted extin­guis­hing a sub­ter­ra­ne­an fire in Cole­s­buk­ta cau­sed by a camp fire. The fire was igni­ted at the foun­da­ti­on of a his­to­ri­cal buil­ding which is pro­tec­ted as a lis­ted monu­ment. In Cole­s­buk­ta several buil­dings from the time bet­ween 1913 and 1962 are pre­ser­ved. They ser­ved as a har­bor whe­re coal from the near­by Rus­si­an mining sett­le­ment Grum­ant­by­en was loa­ded. Both sett­le­ments are cul­tu­ral heri­ta­ges.

On Tues­day 13th of August the Sys­sel­man­nen was infor­med by tou­rists about the fire in Cole­s­buk­ta and a team was sent by heli­co­p­ter. The ori­gi­nal camp fire was alrea­dy extin­guis­hed but it had initia­ted a smol­de­ring fire under the ground which was about to spread. First the Sysselmannen´s team pre­ven­ted the fire from sprea­ding by dig­ging a trench and the cul­tu­ral heri­ta­ge could be saved.

As now, almost two weeks later on Tues­day 25th of August the Sys­sel­man­nen and the fire depart­ment exami­ned the place again, they noti­ced that the fire was still smol­de­ring. The fire figh­ters tried to extin­guish it with foam and now they think about using a several meters long hose for pum­ping water from the coast to the fire area.

As it is pro­hi­bi­ted in Sval­bard to make a fire clo­se to cul­tu­ral heri­ta­ges, the Sys­sel­man­nen is inves­ti­ga­ting in this case. So far it is not known who made the camp fire. The Sys­sel­man­nen asks for infor­ma­ti­on, pre­fer­a­b­ly from the respon­si­ble per­sons them­sel­ves.

The old mining/harbour sett­le­ment Cole­s­buk­ta in win­ter.

Colesbukta

Source: Sval­bard­pos­ten

Nord­aus­t­land cir­cum­na­vi­ga­ted by sea kaya­kers

The main island of Spits­ber­gen has been cir­cum­na­vi­ga­ted by sea kaya­kers alrea­dy in 1990. But the second-lar­gest island, Nord­aus­t­land, has so far withs­tood all attempts. Not that the­re have been a lot, but the­re were a few, which never real­ly took off due to hea­vy ice con­di­ti­ons.

Next to dif­fi­cult ice and wea­ther con­di­ti­ons, it is the long ice cliff of the ice cap Aus­t­fon­na on the east and south coast of Nord­aus­t­land, which makes any attempt to kayak this coast a very deman­ding ven­ture. The cal­ving gla­cier front is about 160 kilo­me­tres long and does not afford any oppor­tu­ni­ty to land for a rest or to sit out bad wea­ther.

This sum­mer, two groups have been suc­cess­ful with their attempts to cir­cum­na­vi­ga­te Nord­aus­t­land. The Nor­we­gi­an group “Nord­aus­t­land” reached Kinn­vi­ka on August 14, whe­re they had star­ted their kaya­king expe­di­ti­on. A crui­se ship pro­vi­ded safe and com­for­ta­ble trans­por­ta­ti­on from Lon­gye­ar­by­en to Kinn­vi­ka and back, the goal of the expe­di­ti­on was kaya­king around Nord­aus­t­land and this has been achie­ved. Congra­tu­la­ti­ons!

But “Nord­aus­t­land 2015” were not the first group. Just about one day befo­re, a group of three kaya­kers, two from New Zea­land and one from Nor­way, had com­ple­ted their kayak-cir­cum­na­vi­ga­ti­on of Nord­aus­t­land suc­cess­ful­ly. Congra­tu­la­ti­ons also to this group! But they have not yet com­ple­ted their expe­di­ti­on, as it is their ambi­tious plan to cir­cum­na­vi­ga­te the who­le archi­pe­la­go, from Lon­gye­ar­by­en to Lon­gye­ar­by­en. But they have done the lar­gest step, Nord­aus­t­land, with impres­si­ve suc­cess.

Both groups met on the way, kept good con­ta­ct and sup­por­ted each other with infor­ma­ti­on. “Nord­aus­t­land 2015” wro­te in their blog “If we reck­on that Nord­aus­t­lan­det is 800 mil­li­on years old, 24 hours dif­fe­rence is insi­gni­fi­cant.” Only a quib­bler would chal­len­ge this 🙂

Both groups have made an ama­zing achie­ve­ment with years of pre­pa­ra­ti­on and trai­ning. The New Zea­land-Nor­we­gi­an group com­ple­ted the 160 kilo­me­ter ice cliff coast wit­hin 40 hours without any major rests. Cam­ping on Isi­søya­ne (ear­lier cal­led Isis­pyn­ten) was not pos­si­ble becau­se of the pre­sence of a num­ber of polar bears. Vibe­buk­ta was the next place whe­re put­ting up a tent was an opti­on. Drift ice and fog slo­wed the trip down. Fri­dt­jof Nan­sen, who in 1895 and 1896 made an incredi­ble kajak adven­ture north of and wit­hin Franz Josef Land tog­e­ther with Hja­l­mar Johan­sen during his Fram Expe­di­ti­on, would be impres­sed.

Gla­cier front on the south coast of Nord­aus­t­land behind den­se drift ice, July 2015.

Glacier front Nordaustland

Sources: Nord­aus­t­land 2015 (Face­book), Ice bears and Islands

Sys­sel­man­nen remo­ves gar­ba­ge from Svalbard´s beaches

This year an amount of 101 cubic meters of gar­ba­ge was collec­ted on the Sysselmannen´s annu­al cleanup crui­se to remo­te beaches in Sval­bard. The Sysselmannen´s ship ‘Polar­sys­sel’ was ope­ra­ting for eight days, approa­ching three pla­ces at the west- and the north coast of the main island Spits­ber­gen and two pla­ces in the nor­thwest of the island Nord­aus­t­lan­det. 24 vol­un­te­ers sup­por­ted the Sysselmannen´s crew in clea­ning the sin­gle coast­li­nes from gar­ba­ge that was was­hed ashore.

It is most of all plastic gar­ba­ge of dif­fe­rent kind and size from all over the world which floats on the ocean´s sur­face, some­ti­mes for years, and final­ly finds its way to the coast. And the big­ger part deri­ves from the fishing indus­try: fish­nets, fish­net floats, ropes and so on. For ani­mals the gar­ba­ge can turn into a let­hal trap, in the water as well as ashore. Sea­b­irds for examp­le swal­low small pie­ces of plastic which they are not able to digest. They final­ly die by the accu­mu­la­ti­on of plastic pie­ces in their sto­machs. Birds and other ani­mals get ent­an­gled in ropes and fish­nets. On this year´s cam­pai­gn the Sysselmannen´s crew found a rein­de­er ske­le­ton com­ple­te­ly wrap­ped in a fish­net and in 2014 a polar bear was trai­ling a huge fish­net with its ear. The net got stuck at an ear­mark pla­ced by sci­en­tists (see also Spitsbergen-Svalbard.com news Again polar bear caught in fishing net from August 2014).

With 101 cubic meters the­re was more gar­ba­ge collec­ted than last year (88 cubic meters). Yet, the Sysselmannen´s cleanup crui­se was not as suc­cess­ful as expec­ted. In the begin­ning the work was two times dis­tur­bed by polar bears showing up and later bad wea­ther pre­ven­ted the approach to high­ly pol­lu­t­ed beaches. Spe­cial thanks go to the local popu­la­ti­on with its wil­ling­ness to sup­port the cam­pai­gn. More than 200 locals vol­un­te­e­red for the cleanup and final­ly 24 were cho­sen to accom­pa­ny the Sysselmannen´s crew.

Gene­ral­ly, the Sys­sel­man­nen can only cover a very small part of Svalbard´s coasts with this annu­al cam­pai­gn, as for examp­le this year the­re were only five beaches clea­ned. The­re­fo­re smal­ler pri­va­te expe­di­ti­on crui­se ships are a signi­fi­cant help in this case, as most of them con­stant­ly arran­ge simi­lar cleanups with their pas­sen­gers (see also Spitsbergen-Svalbard.com news The Oce­an Cleanup: solu­ti­on for the glo­bal plastic pol­lu­ti­on pro­blem from June 2014).

Fish­net was­hed ashore
© Chris­ti­an Nico­lai Bjør­ke

Bear-Fishernet

Source: Sys­sel­man­nen, Sval­bard­pos­ten

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