Tag Archives: climate change

HOTTEST SUMMER EVER IN SVALBARD: Temperature was 3C above ‘normal,’ including hottest day ever – but archipelago has been abnormally warm for the past three decades


Photo by Jesper Madsen /Norwegian Polar Institute

It’s not exactly a shock that a summer that saw Svalbard’s hottest day in recorded history is also the hottest summer in history, with an average temperature of three degrees Celsius above normal.

But while unusually warm, that “normal” is a somewhat skewed figure since it omits a marked period of overall warming during the past 30 years.

DRAINING DISASTER: Mine 7 flooded by melting glacier caused by record heat; pause in operations until Aug. 17 due to COVID-19 now likely to be prolonged


A “major inflow of water” into Mine 7 from a melting glacier caused by a heat wave that triggered Longyearbyen’s highest recorded temperature in history is forcing Store Norske to undertake an extensive operator to remove the water and assess damage to equipment, which likely will prevent from mine from resuming operations next month following a suspension caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, the company announced this week.

Today is Longyearbyen’s hottest day in recorded history. So of course a new study was just published about the ‘decline in temperature variability on Svalbard’


If you’re spending Longyearbyen’s hottest day ever (a Saturday, no less) inside reading academic papers by strangers for lack of better ideas, maybe it’s fitting to feel a bit more warm under the collar about a “discovery” a bit at odds with the incessantly repeated claims temperatures here are rapidly going to more extremes due to climate change.

Despite setting all kinds of high-temperature marks the past decade or so – including the famous 111-month streak of above-average temperatures that ended earlier this year – a new study claims temperatures at Svalbard Airport have actually gotten steadily more consistent between 1976 and 2019. And, yes, due to the same climate change others cite as why things are going to extremes.

NO POLAR BEARS BY 2100? Svalbard faces most drastic threat to entire population, even if climate change impacts are reduced, in new global study


Svalbard’s polar bears are among the least threatened under current global climate conditions, but are facing the most drastic best-to-worst scenario and being among those most likely to go extinct during the next several decades due to climate change, according to a study published Monday.

UNLUCKY SEVEN: A new study takes Longyearbyen’s ‘warming faster than anywhere’ claim to yet another level – twice the Arctic average and seven times the Earth’s


Chart showing number of days under -10C in Longyearbyen since 1910 by the Norwegian Meteorological Institute.

It’s starting to resemble a bidding war.

For a while Longyearbyen was warming twice as fast as Earth, a couple years ago it was three times, late last year all of Svalbard earned a six times claim, and now Longyearbyen has reclaimed the high spot with a new study relying in part on lost documents literally found deep underground that show warming is happening seven times faster.

Furthermore, now that “twice as fast” designation now applies to Longyearbyen compared to the rest of the Arctic, according to the study.

AN INFECTIOUS COMMUNITY – FOR BETTER OR WORSE? Line Nagell Ylvisåker seeks answers in new book to dilemma of climate change impacts on her life as a journalist and mother


For those now sharing woeful tales about self-isolation, Eli Anne Ersdal puts yours to shame. She was lying face down under a crushing blanket of debris-ridden snow, barely able to move and with only a small pocket of air around her head, believing the four family members she was eating breakfast with seconds ago were dead.

This how Line Nagell Ylvisåker, Svalbard’s senior working journalist, chooses to open her new book about a place she finds infectious both in its allure for raising a family and its potential peril due to events such as the avalanche that buried Ersdal that are indicative of a community under multiple rapidly-growing threats due to climate change.

HORNSUND’S TEMPS RISING ‘MORE THAN SIX TIMES’ FASTER THAN GLOBAL AVERAGE: Study at Polish station finds rapid loss of ice on land and sea a major factor during past 40 years


Yet another leap in the “Svalbard is warming faster than elsewhere” chart is now pinpointed as the Polish Polar Station at Hornsund is reporting a study of the mean average temperature during the past four decades at the research station has risen more than six times as fast as Earth’s average.

MOSAiC FORCED OUT OF ‘ISOLATION’ FOR SUPPLIES, NEW STAFF: Year-long research project on ice far north of Svalbard on hold for three weeks as coronavirus cuts off support flights


A year-long project to study climate change on a research ship far north of Svalbard is taking a forced three-week break to sail south to the archipelago to meet with with two other vessels carrying fresh supplies and personnel due to the coronavirus pandemic cutting off support flights, officials announced Friday.

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


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


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.