GOVERNOR: IF YOU CARE, BEWARE OF BEAR: Killing animal that has encountered tour groups in Bolterdalen in recent days is last resort, but public needs to avoid provocative actions

GOVERNOR: IF YOU CARE, BEWARE OF BEAR: Killing animal that has encountered tour groups in Bolterdalen in recent days is last resort, but public needs to avoid provocative actions

Growls of frustration are already being heard as officials are trying to cope with another bear lingering near Longyearbyen in recent days, including two encounters with guided tour groups. But while The More »

FENDING OFF A POLAR BEAR WITH A ROPE: Dogsled guide says bear approached tour group too quick to use weapon, scared it off by hitting it with brake rope on sled without incident

FENDING OFF A POLAR BEAR WITH A ROPE: Dogsled guide says bear approached tour group too quick to use weapon, scared it off by hitting it with brake rope on sled without incident

Marcel Starinsky says the dogsled group he was guiding was only 200 meters from the kennels at the end of a six-hour trip when a sight that will be forever remember appeared. More »

ALERT – ANOTHER POLAR BEAR NEAR TOWN: Governor sends helicopter to monitor bear seen Wednesday afternoon in Bolterdalen, tracks also seen on Longyearbreen on Tuesday

ALERT – ANOTHER POLAR BEAR NEAR TOWN: Governor sends helicopter to monitor bear seen Wednesday afternoon in Bolterdalen, tracks also seen on Longyearbreen on Tuesday

Update 6:30 p.m.: The governor is chasing the bear south through Bolterdalen and plans to continue chasing it to Tverrdalen. Update 5:50 p.m.: Green Dog Svalbard also reported an encounter with a polar More »

60% OF SVALBARD COVERED BY GLACIERS? NOT ANY MORE: It’s 55% due to climate change since 2003. And ice and snow levels are dropping 25 and 43 percent per decade, respectively

Time for another nugget of “common knowledge” about Svalbard to be liquidated, so to speak:  60 percent of the archipelago isn’t covered by ice, it’s about 55 percent. While the updated figure More »

BETTER GUIDES AND FEWER TOURISTS? Norway’s government seeks certification requirements for guides, arguing for safety and protection even if it means fewer visitors

BETTER GUIDES AND FEWER TOURISTS? Norway’s government seeks certification requirements for guides, arguing for safety and protection even if it means fewer visitors

Requirements for guides in Svalbard to be certified to further a goal of safer and more environmentally sustainable tourism are being drafted Norway’s government, with the acknowledgement “this may lead to fewer More »

 

LANCE IN AND OUT OF LONGYEARBYEN: Ship carrying Børge Ousland and Mike Horn finally arrives after weeks of delays in sea ice, then departs from Tromsø less than an hour later

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They were extremely eager to reach Longyearbyen after weeks of delays that saw them nearly run out of food on the ice sea and then aboard the ship sent to retrieve them, but polar explorers Børge Ousland and Mike Horn didn’t linger long when they arrived Saturday morning, with the Lance departing for Tromsø less than an hour after docking.

LANCE LIBERATED: Børge Ousland and Mike Horn finally on way to Longyearbyen after ‘rescue’ ship stuck for two weeks in sea ice breaks free

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The dramatic “not a rescue” retrieval of polar explorers Børge Ousland and Mike Horn may finally be nearing an end as the Lance research ship has freed itself from the sea ice north of Svalbard, where it was stuck for two weeks after the pickup of the men itself was long delayed by ice blockage.

POLAR BEAR IN DOWNTOWN LONGYEARBYEN: Bear spotted between Kroa and Svalbardbutikken on Thursday morning before officials chase it out of town

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Photo above and video below by Marie Lørup Stenshøj

A polar bear wandered through the central part of Longyearbyen on Thursday morning, leaving tracks along the main road and at popular locations such as Kroa, before The Governor of Svalbard deployed all of its resources to chase the animal south of town over Longyearbreen and out toward Colesdalen.

IT’S JUST MORE NUMBERS ¯\_(ツ)_/¯: Svalbard warming six times faster than elsewhere, Greenland ice melting seven times faster than ’90s, says newest soon-to-be-shrugged-off studies

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Twice as fast? Three times? Nope – now Svalbard is warming six times faster than the average elsewhere on Earth during the past six decades, according to figures unveiled only days after Longyearbyen surpassed nine consecutive years of above-average monthly temperatures.

‘ALMOST THE ENTIRE MOUNTAINSIDE HAS COLLAPSED’: Massive avalanches reported in areas near Longyearbyen; skier near one, but no incidents of harm reported

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Several avalanches up to a kilometer in length have occurred during the past couple of days in the mountains near Longyearbyen, prompting The Governor of Svalbard to issue a strongly worded warning Wednesday to people on excursions.

AIR AMBULANCES GROUNDED: Five of 11 planes have technical problems, posing ‘crisis’ for Svalbard other remote areas

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Five of the 11 air ambulance planes used by Babcock Scandinavian AirAmbulance have been grounded due to technical and other problems, causing what critics say is a crisis whose severity is not fully realized in terms of the ability to respond to medical emergencies in Svalbard and other remote areas.

‘THEY’RE ONBOARD!’: Mike Horn and Børge Ousland finally reach ship w/ help from fellow explorers, head for Svalbard after 1,800km North Pole ski trip with harrowing conclusion

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The chilled explorers boarded the ship at the ice’s edge at about midnight Sunday, and shortly after were fed spinach soup, steak, chocolate fondue – and a buffet of questions from well-wishers and media folks with camera to record the end of an 87-day expedition whose white-knuckle conclusion involved more than just frostbitten skin.

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

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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

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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

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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.