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Home* News and Stories → Tem­pe­ra­tu­re in Lon­gye­ar­by­en sin­ce 100 months abo­ve avera­ge

Tem­pe­ra­tu­re in Lon­gye­ar­by­en sin­ce 100 months abo­ve avera­ge

Cli­ma­te in Lon­gye­ar­by­en war­mer than avera­ge sin­ce 100 months

Febru­ary and March 2019 have most­ly been cold months with tem­pe­ra­tures around -20 degrees cen­ti­gra­de and below over many peri­ods, but it has not been enough to reach the month­ly avera­ge. Also in March, the avera­ge tem­pe­ra­tu­re of the months was abo­ve the long-term avera­ge. This was the 100th month in a row that the tem­pe­ra­tu­re (avera­ge of the month) was abo­ve the long-term avera­ge – more than 8 years, in other words, as cli­ma­te sci­en­tist Kje­til Isak­sen reports to Sval­bard­pos­ten.

Refe­rence peri­od: 1960-1990

The refe­rence peri­od for the long-term avera­ge is 1960-1990. The nor­mal tem­pe­ra­tu­re from this peri­od is histo­ry: cli­ma­te chan­ge is three times fas­ter in Spits­ber­gen than in main­land Nor­way and six times fas­ter than glo­bal­ly. Accor­ding to Isak­sen, this is lar­ge­ly due to increased water tem­pe­ra­tures in the fjords and sur­roun­ding seas: the­re is more heat exch­an­ge bet­ween sea and atmo­sphe­re than befo­re and the decreased ice cover enables the water to absorb sun radia­ti­on and turn it into heat rather than reflec­ting a hig­her pro­por­ti­on back into space as pre­vious­ly.

Ava­lan­che bar­riers as an adapt­a­ti­on to cli­ma­te chan­ge in Lon­gye­ar­by­en

Sci­en­tists do not expect this trend to stop at any time soon. In Lon­gye­ar­by­en, the com­mu­ni­ty is adap­ting to a new cli­ma­te.

Avalanche barriers on Sukkertoppen close to Longyearbyen

Ava­lan­che bar­riers on Suk­ker­top­pen clo­se to Lon­gye­ar­by­en.

After the cata­stro­phic ava­lan­che from 19 Decem­ber 2015 which has clai­med two lives, hundreds of inha­bi­tants are evacua­ted every year during the ava­lan­che sea­son, many of them for seve­ral months. Plans are curr­ent­ly made to tear down buil­dings with 142 flats in are­as which are at risk from ava­lan­ches. Housing shorta­ge and an over­hea­ted housing mar­ket are chal­lenges that many locals in Lon­gye­ar­by­en curr­ent­ly have to deal with.


Also in Barents­burg peo­p­le are awa­re of the­se deve­lo­p­ments and an ava­lan­che risk map has recent­ly been published. Some buil­dings are in are­as at risk and would not be built now whe­re they are today. But it is assu­med that the situa­ti­on can be con­trol­led tech­ni­cal­ly, wit­hout moving or tearing down buil­dings.



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last modification: 2019-04-10 · copyright: Rolf Stange