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Daily Archives: 30. November 2016 − News & Stories


Autumn in Spits­ber­gen breaks all records

Even though it is gra­du­al­ly get­ting col­der in Spits­ber­gen, the news about record-brea­king tem­pe­ra­tures in the Arc­tic are not stop­ping. For six years, Sval­bard has been signi­fi­cant­ly war­mer than usu­al, and the tem­pe­ra­tures in Novem­ber were up to 10 degrees abo­ve average.

The con­se­quen­ces of some days of extre­me wea­ther with strong pre­ci­pi­ta­ti­on in Novem­ber: At least 50 lands­li­des and avalan­ches were obser­ved, parts of Lon­gye­ar­by­en even had to be evacua­ted.

Cli­ma­te chan­ge also threa­tens the shores, houses and huts. The sea has ero­ded the unf­ro­zen, loo­se ground, which in Novem­ber should have been hard by frost. The hut on the left in the pic­tu­re had to be left for safe­ty rea­sons. Image: ©Rolf Stan­ge

climate changes threatens houses and cottages

Also in other parts of the Arc­tic it beco­mes obvious: It is quick­ly get­ting war­mer than befo­re. This app­lies both to the tem­pe­ra­tures on land as well as in the sea, whe­re up to four or even five (Isfjord, near Lon­gye­ar­by­en) degrees more have been mea­su­red. In some Arc­tic regi­ons, the air tem­pe­ra­tu­re was actual­ly 20 degrees abo­ve average (north pole).

And never befo­re has the­re been so litt­le ice on land as on the sea. Tri­cky: ice reflects the sun’s radia­ti­on. The less ice floats on the sea, the dar­ker the sea sur­face and the more sunshi­ne is absor­bed. Rese­ar­chers are worried that the sum­mer sea ice might disap­pe­ar com­ple­te­ly from the Arc­tic.

In Lon­gye­ar­by­en, nobo­dy is cur­r­ent­ly expec­ting a good ice win­ter with fro­zen fjords for the 2017 sea­son.

On Spits­ber­gen it has been obser­ved for some time that the per­ma­frost ground is get­ting war­mer and begins to thaw. This can lead to sett­le­ment dama­ges on buil­dings, as they are cur­r­ent­ly alrea­dy obser­ved in several cases in Lon­gye­ar­by­en. In other Arc­tic regi­ons such as Sibe­ria, the thawing of per­ma­frost ground in mar­shy are­as, which have stored a lot of orga­nic mate­ri­al in the cold soil, also leads to the release of lar­ge amounts of the high­ly aggres­si­ve green­house gas metha­ne, which fur­ther sti­mu­la­tes cli­ma­te chan­ge.

Cli­ma­te chan­ge is no lon­ger a sca­ry news­pa­per mes­sa­ge on Spits­ber­gen, but an ever­y­day expe­ri­ence with effects on peo­p­les’ dai­ly life. More warm win­ters, avalan­ches and lands­li­des and evacua­tions have to be expec­ted in Spits­ber­gen in the com­ing years.

Sources: NRK, Cli­ma­te Home

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