In-the-red storm rising: Meteorological institute may eliminate staff at Hopen station, majority at Bjørnøya due to deficits

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Eliminating five of the nine employees at the Bjørnøya Meteorological Station and automating operations at the Hopen station where four people now work is being considered by the Norwegian Meteorological Institute to help cope with a long-term deficit, according to the agency’s director.

The cutbacks are among a series of measures being considered – including eliminating the meteorologists appearing on national TV news broadcasts – as the institute is projecting an annual loss of at about 15 million kroner through at least 2020, Director Roar Skålin told ABC Nyheter. He said the shortfall is due primarily to the weak krone exchange rate and necessary investments that had to be taken from the operating budget.

“We are not yet economically fit,” he said.

Reducing staff at Bjørnøya and automating operations at Hopen could save up to nine million kroner annually, Skålin told the network. However, he acknowledged scaling back the staff at Bjørnøya could affect the delivery of aviation weather data to Avinor, although authorization from the Civil Aviation Authority to automate such transfers could resolve that.

The meteorological institute is also assessing the station at Jan Mayen, where four employees of the agency and 14 from the Norwegian Cyber Defense Force are the island’s only inhabitants, according to the military magazine Forsvarets Forum.

“Jan Mayen is located in an area where there is a lot of low pressure that reaches Norway, but the need for dedicated meteorological personnel is no longer perceived as strong by the institute,” Skålin told the magazine. “It may be possible to establish an automated solution if the technical personnel there can assist when needed.”

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs believes the any closure of weather stations in the Arctic will not affect Norwegian sovereignty in the area, Guri Solberg, a ministry spokesperson, wrote in an e-mail to ABC Nyheter.

“Norwegian sovereignty over these islands does not depend on their presence,” she wrote. “Activity and presence on the aforementioned islands are assessed according to professional needs.”

 

About Post Author

Mark Sabbatini

I'm a professional transient living on a tiny Norwegian island next door to the North Pole, where once a week (or thereabouts) I pollute our extreme and pristine environment with paper fishwrappers decorated with seemingly random letters that would cause a thousand monkeys with a thousand typewriters to die of humiliation. Such is the wisdom one acquires after more than 25 years in the world's second-least-respected occupation, much of it roaming the seven continents in search of jazz, unrecognizable street food and escorts I f****d with by insisting they give me the platonic tours of their cities promised in their ads. But it turns out this tiny group of islands known as Svalbard is my True Love and, generous contributions from you willing, I'll keep littering until they dig my body out when my climate-change-deformed apartment collapses or they exile my penniless ass because I'm not even worthy of washing your dirty dishes.
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