Tag Archives: Ny-Ålesund

CORONAVIRUS UPDATES FOR SVALBARD FOR SUNDAY: Government’s Svalbard aid statement in English, Russian consul general discusses Barentsburg impacts and more

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This story will be updated throughout the day.

Svalbard remains free of officially diagnosed cases of the coronavirus as the global pandemic crisis nears the end of its second surreally quiet weekend in the archipelago, but government agencies aren’t idle as they continue to release information for the archipelago’s foreign residents and discuss the impacts with media in other countries with residents here. Meanwhile, life for researchers in Ny-Ålesund is “almost normal” as they continue a variety of projects and a New Zealand resident in the Arctic guiding program is grappling with issues related to a return-home declaration from her homeland.

HOW SVALBARD’S ‘OTHERS’ ARE FARING: Pretty much ‘normal’ at hysterically cool Bjørnøya film fest, two women self-isolating all winter at trappers’ hut, no layoffs in Barentsburg

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While 90 percent of Longyearbyen’s tourism employees are facing layoffs, all of those in Barentsburg and Pyramiden are busy and planning for the summer season. Life in the international research community of Ny-Ålesund continued normally with the obvious health precautions. Those on a research ship frozen in the ice far to the north are going about daily life normally, but anxious about the virus cutting off incoming staff and support.

Then there’s the tiny Bjørnøya Meteorological Station at the southern tip celebrating its annual film festival despite problems caused by “hysterically clear and fine weather” and black-market tickets. And two women well into nine months of “self-isolation” at a remote trapper’s hut who just celebrated a birthday and are blogging sympathies to those elsewhere following their adventures.

‘SHAKY SATELLITES’: Three rockets being launched from Svalbard for ‘haywire’ mission about solar winds

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Photo of rocket launch as seen from EISCAT by Martin Langteigen via UNIS

It might seem strange for scientists to use “shaky” and “haywire” as positive descriptors for a trio of rocket launches now taking place in Svalbard, but the discordant thinking is a good match for locals thinking more about catching the resulting light shows in the polar night skies rather than the solar winds the rockets are meant to help study.

NORWAY’S 2020 BUDGET UNVEILED: Svalbard gets more for avalanches and research, less for ‘normal’ government stuff

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It might be said Norway’s government is now giving Svalbard lots of change come budget time every year, as next year’s proposed spending plan continues to increase funding for emergency-related expenses such as avalanche protection and large-scale shifts in society such as an emphasis on scientific research.

But the government is being more frugal with everyday expenses, reducing slightly the allocation to Longyearbyen’s municipal government and rejecting upgrade requests such as an energy conservation plan for the town’s mostly coal-fueled power supply.

JUST THE MIDDLE OF A REALLY LONG DAY? Svalbard’s four-month-long midnight sun puts chill on duration of solstice, but Ny-Ålesund residents celebrate with plenty of fire and ice

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In the world’s northernmost permanently occupied settlement the longest day of the year is…well, exactly as long as the 64 previous days and the 69 days ahead. Which is all the local wild life need to celebrate in proper “midsummer” fashion by breaking out the big costumes and really big ice cubes.

Intruding with impunity: Polar bear has broken into at least 10 cabins near Ny-Ålesund since July; governor says that’s no reason to relocate it

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A single polar bear is suspected of breaking into at least ten cabins in the Ny-Ålesund area since July, but The Governor of Svalbard is stating it is unacceptable to relocate the animal.

RABIES ALERT: Reindeer observed near Ny-Ålesund in mid-July tests positive for disease; warning issued about infection risk

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A sick reindeer that was killed along with her calf near Ny-Ålesund earlier this month has tested positive for rabies, raising concerns about the further spread of the disease and the upcoming reindeer hunting season, according to The Governor of Svalbard.

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.

Briefs from Svalbardposten for the week of March 7, 2017

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Alternative ‘doomsday vault’ to store data on film in Mine 3
Sometime in the future, when the amount of “fake news” has become so large and complex the truth is unclear, one may be able to enter a new type of “doomsday vault’ in Mine 3 and check the facts.”

Under development: Government’s proposed budget for Svalbard in 2017 boosts science and airport security, omits avalanche projects – for now

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New scientific research facilities and a few new officers to boost airport security are in. Avalanche-related construction projects are out – for now, although that might change during the next few weeks.