Tag Archives: climate change

Deadly European snowpocalypse, Russian GPS jamming, oil drilling fiascos – here’s how Svalbard’s non-disaster storm made disaster news elsewhere

snowpocalypse

It wasn’t just locals blowing it when it came to worries about last wind’s wind storm. It somehow showed up in global stories about storms in Europe that killed at least 26 people, fears about Mother Nature’s wrath as Norway’s government strives for “peak oil” in a few years and Russia allegedly jamming crucial GPS signals during the storm.

Arctic Forests: What the Svalbardian rocks tell us about past climate and future warming

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This was written by guest contributors Thomas Frank and Stan Schouten

Barren lies the tundra right outside the northernmost city in the world, Longyearbyen. As the winter approaches, strong winds and cold temperatures make this place truly hostile. The darkness of the winter months adds to that, allowing only very specialist forms of life to survive here high above the Arctic circle.

While the fauna has managed to sustain even large species such as the polar bear, the flora is limited to flat vegetation with hard leaves creeping on the cold ground. It is impossible for any bigger plants to survive in such a cold environment with only very short growth seasons. Indeed, it is very hard to imagine that this climatic setting could have been different in the past – and yet it´s true.

Local takeaway from new major ‘climate catastrophe’ report: Svalbard now warming up to three times as fast as elsewhere

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Today’s top story worldwide is a landmark U.N. report declaring global emissions need to be cut in half in 12 years to avoid catastrophic fires, food shortages, storms and other disasters. But for Svalbard the report is even more alarming, as it states the archipelago is now warming up to three times as fast as most parts of the planet – a major step up from the “twice as fast” assertion in recent years.

Hot off the press: As Longyearbyen hits 90 months of above-average temps, here’s the story of the “Hell on Earth” summer told in headlines

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Hitting 90 straight months of above average temperatures in Longyearbyen certainly makes for a hot headline. But it’s nothing compared to the heat felt by locals spending their summer holidays scattered elsewhere around the world.

SVALBARD SOVEREIGNTY: Norway’s royal family sees polar bears, picks up beach trash, visits museums and does other “typical” stuff during weeklong vacation

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They were just another family taking a weeklong holiday in Svalbard.

They got a reprieve from the mainland heat while gazing at the fjords and wildlife during sometimes chilly boat trips. They removed ocean trash from beaches where they stopped. They learned about polar science during a stop in Ny-Ålesund and whale hunting during a museum visit in Longyearbyen. They exchanged handcrafted gifts with locals, and departed with fond memories of the sights and people they met.

And all of Norway was abuzz about the details that were kept largely secret until the very end.

Norway’s entire royal family wrapped up a private vacation in a very public way on Thursday with a visit to The University Centre in Svalbard to commemorate its 25th anniversary, as well as the adjacent Svalbard Museum where – unlike commoners – they got to play with ancient whaling gear and stroke the fur of a stuffed polar bear.

Shell game: Seabirds and scientists in Ny-Ålesund sent scrambling as polar bears increasingly raiding nests for eggs

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Polar bears losing their traditional hunting areas on the sea ice due to climate change are increasingly seeking out seabird nests for their eggs, in turn disrupting the peak season for birds who are breeding and researchers who are studying the animals.

A nest raid by a female polar bear and her cub last Sunday near Ny-Ålesund forced researchers to temporarily abandon their annual population count of common eiders and barnacle geese in Kongsfjorden. This summer’s intrusion comes after the same bear raided 80 eider birds’ nests holding about 300 eggs in three to four days.

90 degrees north: Longyearbyen nearing century mark of above-average monthly temps; May six degrees above norm

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Aside from the fact 90 is a nice round number, arguably it’s hardly news Longyearbyen has now had seven-and-a-half years of above-average temperatures.

Presidential meltdown: Svalbard eyed by group planning to carve ‘Mount Trumpmore’ on glacier so they can watch it melt

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While Donald Trump is declaring that “someday” he deserves to be added to Mount Rushmore, an environmental group moved by his musings such as climate change being a Chinese hoax is planning an even cooler carving: his own Mount Trumpmore on an Arctic glacier now rather than later.

88 MPH!!! (Months of Peculiar Heat, that is); streak of above-average temps continue with March madness

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Only one place in Norway had above-average temperatures in March. The same place where they’ve been above normal for more than seven years.

The average temperature at Svalbard Airport in March was minus 12.7 degrees Celsius, three degrees warmer than normal. The relative heat is also being blamed for causing a frigid month on the mainland.

Svalbard is the warmest place in Norway today, the North Pole is above freezing and ‘scientists are freaking out’

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Lest anyone freezing to the south think we’re enjoying a balmy break from winter, people and cars are slipping all over water-covered ice, dozens of snowmobiles are half-submerged in pools of water, lots of windshields are blowing off those snowmobiles and tourists are paying a fortune to slog through vast slush-filled wastelands.

Temperatures soaring to four degrees Celsius during the past 24 hours made Longyearbyen the warmest town in Norway, the Norwegian Meteorological Institute reported Tuesday morning. The freakishly warm weather – although not nearly as freakish as it was even a decade ago, thanks to the rapid onset of climate change – was accompanied by intense rain and winds gusting to gale speeds, resulting in various forms of misery for those who couldn’t or wouldn’t stay indoors.