Tag Archives: climate change

Abandon all hope: Svalbard’s 10 biggest stories of 2017

topstoriescovers

We’re not going to spin it: the year known as 2017 was a disaster – literally.

An avalanche early on shook the community and its leaders to its foundations, climate change inflicted maybe its most humiliating impact on us yet, Barentsburg suffered through two fatal crashes and the hope of some kind of future in terms of Store Norske’s coal mines suffered a death far more painful than even the most pessimistic envisioned.

SPECIAL REPORT: Polarizing polar bears – unmasking a proxy war strategy by online climate change denialists

starvingbear

By Paul Rosenberg
Senior Editor, Random Lengths News

In early December, a video of a dying, emaciated polar bear, foraging for food on an iceless land, went viral on social media. The video garnered millions of views on Facebook and YouTube. For most, it was a vivid signal of the future in store for us all due to human-caused (anthropogenic) global warming ― rising temperatures due to increased carbon dioxide, methane and other greenhouse gases. For those who deny or minimize the existence of anthropogenic global warming it wasn’t a polar bear, but a red herring (“Propaganda,” one YouTube viewer called it) — no one knows why it was dying, much less if it can be connected to global warming.

That’s true, but also a bit beside the point.

It’s all relative: Temperatures 4.5C above normal in Longyearbyen in 2017, but that’s chilly compared to 2016

tempchart

OK, for those still unclear on the weather/climate concept: Longyearbyen had a couple of days of chilly weather to end 2017. But the climate here continues to show dramatic long-term change as temperatures during the year were again significantly above average.

This week in Doomsday nonsense: ‘The Uninhabitable Earth,’ ‘Arks of the Apocalypse,’ DNA evidence for the end of the world

heartlesshead

To proclaim we’re all dead men walking is hardly alarmist: that’s been the case for everyone on Earth except for a few cases like Jesus or Lord Voldemort before his Horcruxes were vanquished. But calling a bit of water leakage into Svalbard Global Seed Vault a key sign of a mass extinction event now underway comparable to the one that wiped out the dinosaurs might be a doomsday cry too far.

Seedy sensationalism: ‘Doomsday seed vault in the Arctic has FLOODED,’ headlines scream. Not so much – and it’s old news

waterinvault

“Arctic stronghold of world’s seeds flooded after permafrost melts.” The headline quickly made it the top-read story at The Guardian’s website Saturday and spread like wildfire to other sites.

Naturally climate change skeptics everywhere screamed “fake news!” And for once they were right – if not quite in the way they meant.

Nyet for NATO Parliamentary Assembly? Seminar participants, Russians question Norway’s Svalbard policies

natokeynote

Heat is much on the minds of everyone concerned, whether it’s people in the room questioning Norway’s hypocrisy about local coal mining or others outside it claiming  Norway is provoking an international conflict.

Random weirdness for the week of April 11, 2017

polarbearvg

There’s always a certain irony about how our Arctic islands get so many people inflamed, but perhaps that’s just the climate here these days, so to speak, as our town at 78 degrees north just had its 78th straight month of above-average temperatures.

Deadliest force: Reseachers hope to improve avalanche-risk awareness with network of snowfall measuring devices

snow1

You might think polar bears – and the potential for attack – are the biggest danger the Norwegian island archipelago of Svalbard. But avalanches kill far more people on Svalbard than polar bears ever have.

Extreme makeover: New 10-year land-use plan calls for facelift of industrial area, recreational upgrades, and avalanche and climate change safeguards

industrialarea

With Mother Nature dramatically changing the landscape in Longyearbyen, city leaders have approved a dramatic makeover of their own to ensure the community is on solid ground.

Slush funk: Svalbard turns into watery winter wasteland with Norway’s highest temperatures

nybyenslush

Temperatures in Svalbard aren’t that far above average – for August.

But being on the opposite side of the calendar year means the high temperatures at various places in the archipelago are – to repeat an oft-used phrase as of late – freakishly warm. The average historical temperature for February at Longyearbyen Airport is minus 16 degrees Celsius, but highs from Sunday through Tuesday were 5.6, 5.9 and 5.4 degrees, respectively, according to the Norwegian Meteorological Institute.