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Home* News and Stories → Extre­me wea­ther in Spits­ber­gen: avalan­ches in Nor­dens­kiöld Land

Extre­me wea­ther in Spits­ber­gen: avalan­ches in Nor­dens­kiöld Land

The extre­me wea­ther with strong pre­ci­pi­ta­ti­on last week has trig­ge­red more than “just” a few lands­li­des near Lon­gye­ar­by­en. Dama­ge was limi­ted to minor mate­ri­al loss at a dog yard near Lon­gye­ar­by­en (the first one at the road into Advent­da­len). More than 200 peop­le had been evacua­ted from their homes for several days in case of a major event.

Satel­li­te images have now shown that more than 50 lands­li­des were trig­ge­red by the rain­falls just in Nor­dens­kiöld Land bet­ween Lon­gye­ar­by­en and Bar­ents­burg. This shows the lack of sta­bi­li­ty of the ter­rain during peri­ods with strong rain.

Sci­en­tists expect extre­me wea­ther events like last week’s with very strong pre­ci­pi­ta­ti­on to incre­a­se in fre­quen­cy and magnitu­de. Rain­falls of 50 mm wit­hin 24 hours or even more are, so far, unty­pi­cal for the high arc­tic (“polar desert”). This means that geo­mor­pho­lo­gi­cal slo­pe dyna­mics inclu­ding lands­li­des, snow- and slush avalan­ches and rock­falls.

This will be important know­ledge both for arc­tic out­door enthu­si­asts and city plan­ners. Last year, 2 per­sons died in their homes in a snow avalan­che that des­troy­ed several resi­den­ti­al houses in Lon­gye­ar­by­en.

Recent satel­li­te image of Nor­dens­kiöld Land in Spits­ber­gen showing Lands­li­des trig­ge­red by last week’s rain­falls. Image: Copernicus/ESA.

Extreme weather: recent avalanches landslides in Spitsbergen

Sources: bygg.no, UiO

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: 2016-11-18 · copyright: Rolf Stange
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