Tag Archives: climate change

LEAPING TO 110 MONTHS: Extra-cold end to extra-long Feb. can’t break Longyearbyen’s above-average temperature streak

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There were more cold days than warm during this leap-year February but, sort of like trying to claim an election win based on “popular votes,” ultimately all that matters is the overall tally that resulted in Longyearbyen extending its streak of above-average temperatures to 110 months.

But probably more frustrating to most who embrace winter in Svalbard was a freakish low level of precipitation, continuing a well-below-average trend since October that has resulted in a major lack of snow that’s making many areas popular with snowmobilers and dogsledders dangerous or inaccessible.

HOUSING HAVES VS. HAVE-NOTS: Controversy about crisis-level shortage in Longyearbyen, proposal for government to take over as landlords raised during prime minister’s visit

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Norwegian Prime Minister Erna Solberg said climate change “has had quite a large cost for Svalbard” during her visit to the archipelago this week. But some locals saying they’re paying the price in more ways than one – notably a crisis-level housing shortage that has many panicking about the immediate problem of merely having shelter during the coldest months of the year– due to hypocritical policies her government is pursing that are making the situation worse.

12 YEARS, 1 MILLION SEED SAMPLES: Svalbard Global Seed Vault celebrates birthday w/ largest-ever group of depositors and world leaders in first major event after costly upgrades

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The Svalbard Global Seed Vault celebrated a huge repair job with a huge deposit of seeds on its 12th birthday Tuesday, as representatives from 36 genebanks on all seven continents and world leaders gathered at the so-called “ultimate failsafe” facility for a ceremony that resulting in the total collection surpassing one million seed samples.

As with many things involving the vault, it was a bipolar event as drastic hopes and concerns were raised about growing threats to the world’s food supplies, the vault’s role in potentially helping address them, the paradox of storing crops threatened by climate change in the place where change is happening faster than anywhere on Earth, and newly raised controversies about Norway’s sovereignty over Svalbard at time when the archipelago is considered one of the country’s top national security risks.

‘YOUR PLANE TRAVEL DESTROYS POLAR BEAR HABITAT’: Flying to/from Svalbard melts about 3 sq. m. of ice, study suggests

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Folks who criticize as hypocritical all those scientists and tourists flying to Svalbard to see the pristine environment and effects of climate change have a new scientific number of their own to cite – each round-trip flight emits enough CO2 to melt about three square meters of the sea ice that is vital for polar bears and other Arctic wildlife.

ASK THEM ANYTHING: FAQs for Svalbard science pros at forum include oldest rock, next ice age, microplastics, nuclear waste storage, zombie apocalypse

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When it comes to popular Svalbard topics like climate change and zombies, there’s unquestionably a lot of non-expert nonsense out there.

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

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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 might not seem massive to some casual observers, the reduction has occurred in less than 20 years due to climate change, according to an update of a major collaborative research publication released this week.

STARTING NEW YEAR/DECADE OF ABNORMALITY: Streak of above-average temps in Longyearbyen extends to 109 months as December 2.6C warmer than normal

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Hey, at least this year we didn’t get rain during the Christmas holidays.

Longyearbyen’s streak of above-average temperatures is now more than nine years long at 109 months entering the 2020s as December’s average temperature of -10.8 degrees Celsius was 2.6 degrees warmer than the average of minus 13.4 degrees, according to the Norwegian Meteorological Institute. Of course, that “normal” average is based on the years 1960-1990, which plenty of experts say skews the “new normal” during the past few decades due to climate change.

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.

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.