TURNING UP THE HEAT: Warm ship awaits as Børge Ousland and Mike Horn reach support team, but burning questions intensify about costly effort after they reject helicopter pickup

TURNING UP THE HEAT: Warm ship awaits as Børge Ousland and Mike Horn reach support team, but burning questions intensify about costly effort after they reject helicopter pickup

They’ve spent much of the past three months deeply and sometimes dangerously cold, but things are about to get very warm indeed as Børge Ousland and Mike Horn come off the sea ice More »

CHILLINGLY CLOSE: Ship struggles to reach polar explorers Børge Ousland and Mike Horn from ice north of Svalbard as they run out of food after three-month ski trip over North Pole

CHILLINGLY CLOSE: Ship struggles to reach polar explorers Børge Ousland and Mike Horn from ice north of Svalbard as they run out of food after three-month ski trip over North Pole

Down to their last day of food and suffering frostbite in temperatures of minus 40 degrees Celsius after spending three months skiing the Arctic ice over the North Pole, polar explorers Mike Horn More »

Briefs from Svalbardposten for the week of Dec. 3, 2019

Briefs from Svalbardposten for the week of Dec. 3, 2019

An expansion to nearly double the size of Svalbardbutikken beginning soon, a large amount of sea ice around Svalbard is definitely not a sign climate change impacts are lessening, and the lack More »

DEMOLITION OF ‘RED ZONE’ HOMES BEGINS: 21 residential buildings in Lia scheduled to be torn down by next June

DEMOLITION OF ‘RED ZONE’ HOMES BEGINS: 21 residential buildings in Lia scheduled to be torn down by next June

The long-delayed demolition of about 140 Longyearbyen residences considered unsafe to live in because they’re exposed to high avalanche and landslide risks began Tuesday and is scheduled to be completed by next More »

SIMPLY ENLIGHTENING: A few white bulbs and lots of singing are plenty enough to bring a glow to Longyearbyen residents during the annual Christmas tree lighting ceremony

SIMPLY ENLIGHTENING: A few white bulbs and lots of singing are plenty enough to bring a glow to Longyearbyen residents during the annual Christmas tree lighting ceremony

A spartan strand of plain white lights illuminated a few boughs on what in the 24-hour dark of polar night might pass for a tall bit of shrubbery…and there was much rejoicing. A few moments More »

 

TURNING UP THE HEAT: Warm ship awaits as Børge Ousland and Mike Horn reach support team, but burning questions intensify about costly effort after they reject helicopter pickup

ouslandhornsat

They’ve spent much of the past three months deeply and sometimes dangerously cold, but things are about to get very warm indeed as Børge Ousland and Mike Horn come off the sea ice north of Svalbard after skiing over the North Pole.

CHILLINGLY CLOSE: Ship struggles to reach polar explorers Børge Ousland and Mike Horn from ice north of Svalbard as they run out of food after three-month ski trip over North Pole

nearrescue

Down to their last day of food and suffering frostbite in temperatures of minus 40 degrees Celsius after spending three months skiing the Arctic ice over the North Pole, polar explorers Mike Horn and Børge Ousland found themselves separated by only a few kilometers from peers trying to reach them –but thwarted by an opening in the ice between them.

Briefs from Svalbardposten for the week of Dec. 3, 2019

newstore

An expansion to nearly double the size of Svalbardbutikken beginning soon, a large amount of sea ice around Svalbard is definitely not a sign climate change impacts are lessening, and the lack of a director at Visit Svalbard for the past eight months is taking a toll on employees and planned projects.

DEMOLITION OF ‘RED ZONE’ HOMES BEGINS: 21 residential buildings in Lia scheduled to be torn down by next June

demolitionstarts

The long-delayed demolition of about 140 Longyearbyen residences considered unsafe to live in because they’re exposed to high avalanche and landslide risks began Tuesday and is scheduled to be completed by next June, according to officials.

SIMPLY ENLIGHTENING: A few white bulbs and lots of singing are plenty enough to bring a glow to Longyearbyen residents during the annual Christmas tree lighting ceremony

tree19

A spartan strand of plain white lights illuminated a few boughs on what in the 24-hour dark of polar night might pass for a tall bit of shrubbery…and there was much rejoicing. A few moments later a second strand of lights brought a glow revealing the fuller outlines of an evergreen…and there was much rejoicing. Shortly after the third and final set of plain white lights let the townfolk of Longyearbyen know this was as turned on as this year’s official Christmas tree was going to get.

And there was much rejoicing.

“It’s so simple to find satisfaction here,” a woman remarked to a companion, both of whom were wearing reflective vests for the new Svalbard Folk High School that welcomed its first students a few months ago.

MIAMI ICE: Elizabeth Bourne wins creativity award – and third overall – for Svalbard photo essay at ‘most important art fair’ in the U.S.

bournebasel

It was something of a burden for Elizabeth Bourne to make the long journey from Svalbard back to the United States she’d left earlier this year just so she could be among the thousands of creative minds seeking to create an impression at what The New York Times calls “the country’s most important art fair.”

But at the urging of folks there she paid her own way to leave the frigid Arctic polar night for an otherworldly week in hot and humid Miami. As a result she now has to lug a rather huge burden back to her new home, as she won the “Unleash Your Creativity Series” award and finished third among all artists at the 17th annual Art Basel for her photograph collection “Svalbard: Land Without Borders.”

A CELEBRATION OF CHILLINGLY DARK MAGIC: World’s northernmost culture school celebrates 25th anniversary with heartwarming variety on a numbingly cold ‘Black Friday’

k25sirkus

It’s not unusual for kids to get cold feet before big stage performance, but what students at the world’s northernmost school went through before a gala 25th anniversary celebration of its culture program gave a whole new meaning to “Black Friday.”

Clustering outside Longyearbyen School in the 24-hour dark of polar night with winds blustering around them, it’s safe to say the thoughts of plenty weren’t their artistic talents being observed by parents packing into a venue sold out well in advance. 

CHILLINGLY RESOLUTE: How do you stage a climate change strike when it’s -33C? Bundle up and look beyond the moment

strike112919

“No more lies! We want ice!”

On this occasion those shouting the angry protests got plenty of what they asked for as the latest of a series of climate change strikes and demonstrations in Longyearbyen took place at midday Friday in a minus 20 degrees Celsius cold snap, with wind gusts strong enough to make it feel like minus 33 degrees and extinguish the torches participants hoped would light up the polar night.

‘SHAKY SATELLITES’: Three rockets being launched from Svalbard for ‘haywire’ mission about solar winds

rocketlaunch112619

Photo of rocket launch as seen from EISCAT by Martin Langteigen via UNIS

It might seem strange for scientists to use “shaky” and “haywire” as positive descriptors for a trio of rocket launches now taking place in Svalbard, but the discordant thinking is a good match for locals thinking more about catching the resulting light shows in the polar night skies rather than the solar winds the rockets are meant to help study.

CITY: IT’S -20C, SO GET WET AND WILD! Take long showers, drink heavily and ‘waste with joy’ to keep pipes from freezing

wastewater

OK, so your just-washed hair froze on your way to your car that didn’t start, but there’s a literal deluge of reasons to be thankful for a cold snap that’s set in this Thanksgiving (even if we’re far from the U.S. where the holiday is celebrated – which, come to think, of it is one more reason to add to the list).

The city is officially urging residents to waste water to their heart’s content as a way to keep pipes from freezing and/or causing problems when warmer weather arrives early next week. While the forecast lows of minus 19 degrees Celsius today and minus 21 degrees Friday are far from the most frigid Longyearbyen is likely to see this winter (even though some scientists say it may be the mildest in recorded history), it is the first significant prolonged cold snap of the season and the hope is to avoid the usual hardships.