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Daily Archives: 16. April 2016 − News & Stories


Barentsburg – 16th April, 2016

April is showing off with the best of clear, stable, cold winter weather. A trip to Barentsburg often starts with a view over Longyearbyen. Driving along the coast is a regular part of frequent tourist tours to Barentsburg, but you may not like the short, but steep ascents, especially when the surface is frozen over, if you are not used to driving a snow mobile.

Who would have expected to see a walrus on a winter trip to Barentsburg? We also saw Reindeer and even White whales (Belugas), but too far away to take photos.

Gallery – Barentsburg – 16th April, 2016

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

Barentsburg itself looks partly like a big arctic version of Legoland after several years of refurbishment. The choice of colours of some of the buildings might be a matter of debate, but others are really beautiful. Lenin is meditating as always, the view directed into the distance. Impossible to say what he would say about the colours.

Surging glaciers in Spitsbergen

Several of Spitsbergen’s glaciers are on the move. A rather sudden type of advance called glacial surge is linked to the internal mechanics of ice movement. These glaciers are building up ice volume in the catchment area over decades to discharge this within relatively short time (typically 1-2 years), something that involves rapid movement of up to an impressive 10 meters per day or even more. As a result, surging glaciers are usually strongly crevassed.

This behaviour has recently been observed at Penckbreen (Van Keulenfjord) and Aavaatsmarkbreen. It is also currently known from other Svalbard glaciers. Around 2014, the advance of parts of the ice cap Austfonna has attracted attention.

The surge behaviour is linked to ice dynamics and not to a climatically induced positive mass balance. Altogether, Spitsbergen’s glaciers are suffering from a significant loss of ice volume, with a tendency to increasing speed of loss in recent years due to climate change.

Surging glaciers in Spitsbergen – Penckbreen Surge

The surging glacier Penckbreen (foto April 2016 © Stig Onarheim, with friendly permission).

Penckbreen surge

Source: Feltlogg, Svalbardglaciers.org.

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