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Daily Archives: 1. January 2016 − News & Stories

Loo­king back at 2015 – March

Spits­ber­gen got back into inter­na­tio­nal head­lines in ear­ly March, when a polar bear was shot after an encoun­ter with Czech ski tou­rists in their camp. One man suf­fe­r­ed mild inju­ries when he was drag­ged out of his tent. The event might have been avo­ided, which makes the result – a dead polar bear – even more sad. And still more sad for us, as we are quite sure that this bear was one of the two cute litt­le cubs that were play­ing so beau­tiful­ly with their mother in Tem­pel­fjord in ear­ly May 2013. We had the pri­vi­le­ge to spend many hours obser­ving them, a stun­ning expe­ri­ence that will stay with us fore­ver. I am stray­ing off cour­se, this was 2013. And now they are dead … the first one pro­ba­b­ly died in April 2014, after anaes­the­sia for sci­en­ti­fic pur­po­ses. A con­nec­tion? Does not exist, offi­ci­al­ly. Of cour­se.

Now, away from sad­ness and dis­as­ter. On March 20, short­ly after 11 a.m. local time, Spits­ber­gen was bles­sed with a total eclip­se. Once befo­re, I had seen a par­ti­cal eclip­se, which I found quite impres­si­ve. Many peo­p­le have sin­ce told me that a total eclip­se is some­thing com­ple­te­ly dif­fe­rent from a par­ti­al one. Yes, of cour­se. Always gre­at to tell someone „what you have seen isn’t the real thing“. Pure bla­tancy, isn’t it?

No, they were sim­ply right. A total eclip­se is an unre­al, other­world­ly, frigh­ten­in­gly beau­tiful expe­ri­ence. And this in the con­text Spitsbergen’s win­ter land­scape, which is magi­cal by its­elf! From the diver­se light phe­no­me­na to the atmo­sphe­re that silen­ced ever­y­thing while it crept over val­leys and moun­ta­ins and the tem­pe­ra­tu­re which was fal­ling dra­sti­cal­ly within moments: all this was extre­me­ly impres­si­ve. Unfor­gettable.

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

All the eclip­se tou­rists, who had come from all over the glo­be, whe­re so extre­me­ly lucky with the wea­ther, may­be more than the­re were awa­re of. Until then, the­re had been remar­kab­ly few clear days. But this Fri­day had been imma­cu­l­ate­ly beau­tiful.

Street floo­ded in Advent­da­len

The extre­me wea­ther in the north Atlan­tic has brought this sec­tor of the Arc­tic again into inter­na­tio­nal media. A strong low pres­su­re is pum­ping warm air up north, resul­ting in unu­sual­ly high tem­pe­ra­tures in Sval­bard and the cen­tral Arc­tic. In Lon­gye­ar­by­en, the mer­cu­ry went up to almost 9°C, making it war­mer than in parts of cen­tral Euro­pe at the same time. Strong rain­fall did not make it nicer, with up to 50 mm within two days in Ny Åle­sund.

Warm air incur­si­ons in mid­win­ter are a more or less regu­lar phe­no­me­non in the mari­ti­me cli­ma­te of Sval­bard, but the cur­rent event is quite strong.

The com­bi­na­ti­on of mild tem­pe­ra­tures and rain lets the snow melt and the rivers flow. In Lon­gye­ar­by­en, a litt­le bridge local­ly known as Per­le­por­ten, a walk­way across the river coming out of Vann­led­nings­da­len, is curr­ent­ly clo­sed by the aut­ho­ri­ties. His­to­ri­cal­ly, melt­wa­ter ava­lan­ches coming out of Vann­led­nings­da­len have been fatal on occa­si­ons. In June 1953, seve­ral buil­dings were dama­ged and three peo­p­le died.

Now, seve­ral tri­bu­t­a­ry rivers in Advent­da­len are floo­ding the road, making traf­fic impos­si­ble. The public is asked to avo­id any unneces­sa­ry traf­fic.

The river in Bol­terd­a­len is usual­ly fro­zen and dry in win­ter. Now it is floo­ding the road in Advent­da­len after days of tha­wing tem­pe­ra­tu­re and rain.


Source: local social net­works


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