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Yearly Archives: 2016 − News & Stories


Loo­king back at 2015 – April

This is one of the most beau­ti­ful sea­sons up north. The wea­ther tends to sett­le a bit, and the other­wi­se qui­te inac­ces­si­ble inland is invi­t­ing to long trips. We did not need to be told twice and we spent a lot of time out the­re, inclu­ding several trips to our beloved east coast. It is dif­fi­cult to point out that one out­stan­ding sin­gle event, it is a mat­ter of all tho­se many ever­y­day impres­si­ons in the win­ter arc­tic, tho­se many hours under the open sky, in cold air, the ever-chan­ging light, encoun­ters with polar foxes and the Spits­ber­gen rein­de­er. And of cour­se spen­ding time with good friends and mee­ting other good and inte­res­ting peop­le in Lon­gye­ar­by­en. All this makes the time pass very quick­ly. Soon the mid­ni­ght sun is kil­ling the last dark nights.

And if you want that one out­stan­ding expe­ri­ence, then it is pro­bab­ly our mee­ting with a polar bear fami­ly in Bill­efjord. This will defi­ni­te­ly remain amongst our dea­rest memo­ries. And it sol­ved the pro­blem of a tit­le pho­to for our Spits­ber­gen calen­dar 2016.

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

Spits­ber­gen made it into inter­na­tio­nal news agin when Rus­si­an vice pre­mier Rogosin made an unhe­ral­ded visit. He is per­so­na non gra­ta in Nor­way and the EU due to the Ukrai­ne con­flict. This brought the ques­ti­on up how Nor­way could pro­tect Svalbard’s bounda­ries more effi­ci­ent­ly (sounds fami­li­ar the­se days, doesn’t it?). If Nor­way is actual­ly enti­t­led to deny ent­ry to Sval­bard to a citi­zen of a trea­ty coun­try, is ano­t­her ques­ti­on.

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.

f8b_Soleietoppen_24Aug13_023

Source: local social net­works

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