Category Archives: Polar regions

STREAMING SONGS FOR SOLSTICE: ‘Under The Midnight Sun’ concert by a dozen performers, many working as guides in Svalbard, makes summer debut Sunday live on Facebook

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Screenshot of Marty Garwood, a performer at the “Under The Midnight Sun” concert, from video by Antarctic Ambassadors

Unlike many recent past summers there’s no organized weekend beach party to celebrate the summer solstice, or the usual swarm of cruise ship passengers and crew wandering around town. But a celebration by a group of guides, photographers and others who often spend their summers working in Svalbard is scheduled in the form of an “Under The Midnight Sun” concert from 7-9 p.m. Sunday that will be streamed live on Facebook.

CORONAVIRUS AFFECTS ICE-LOCKED RESEARCH MISSION NEAR NORTH POLE: Person scheduled to join German ship tests positive, flights to vessel via Longyearbyen suspended

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A person scheduled to join the year-long MOSAiC mission aboard a German ship north of Svalbard has tested positive for the coronavirus, prompting the suspension of flights for new team members to the ice-locked vessel because the afflicted was a member of the airborne support team, according to officials.

GUEST COLUMN: Polar bear murder on the New Year’s night due to ‘lack of resources’ inexcusable

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By Nikita Ovsyanikov.
Photo by Marie Lørup Stenshøj

A New Year celebration in Longyearbyen turned out to be no good for an unfortunate polar bear – a seven-year-old healthy male, whose only “sin” was his curiosity and interest in food containers in the town.

LANCE IN AND OUT OF LONGYEARBYEN: Ship carrying Børge Ousland and Mike Horn finally arrives after weeks of delays in sea ice, then departs from Tromsø less than an hour later

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They were extremely eager to reach Longyearbyen after weeks of delays that saw them nearly run out of food on the ice sea and then aboard the ship sent to retrieve them, but polar explorers Børge Ousland and Mike Horn didn’t linger long when they arrived Saturday morning, with the Lance departing for Tromsø less than an hour after docking.

LANCE LIBERATED: Børge Ousland and Mike Horn finally on way to Longyearbyen after ‘rescue’ ship stuck for two weeks in sea ice breaks free

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The dramatic “not a rescue” retrieval of polar explorers Børge Ousland and Mike Horn may finally be nearing an end as the Lance research ship has freed itself from the sea ice north of Svalbard, where it was stuck for two weeks after the pickup of the men itself was long delayed by ice blockage.

IT’S JUST MORE NUMBERS ¯\_(ツ)_/¯: Svalbard warming six times faster than elsewhere, Greenland ice melting seven times faster than ’90s, says newest soon-to-be-shrugged-off studies

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Twice as fast? Three times? Nope – now Svalbard is warming six times faster than the average elsewhere on Earth during the past six decades, according to figures unveiled only days after Longyearbyen surpassed nine consecutive years of above-average monthly temperatures.

SEVEN DEGREES OF SEPARATION: Longyearbyen’s climate change may be the fastest in the world, but the wide-ranging impacts tell the real tale (part one of a seven-part series)

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It’s a catchy, but useless headline: “‘Doomsday vault’ town warming faster than any other on Earth.” It’s only six months old, yet now is just another cliché such as “the town where it’s illegal to die” (wrong) and “more polar bears than people” (also wrong).

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Part one of a seven-part series about the drastic effects of climate change on virtually all aspects of life in Longyearbyen and prospects for the future.

It says nothing about the sizable percentage of residents thrown out of their homes, collapse of the traditional workforce, mass arrival of foreigners and class warfare, and hostile military forces practicing a full-scale invasion just across the border. It’s used as a soundbite by policymakers to explain hardships, justify controversies and pursue policies that may or may not substantially address the issue.

So while such drastic blurbs may captivate the world’s attention (or not), they’re largely mundane for locals in the world’s northernmost town of Longyearbyen. They have far more important, but less sensational, things to worry about than a magazine cover declaring in fist-size letters they’re living in an apocalyptic preview of “The Uninhabitible Earth.”

DAWN (AT MIDNIGHT) OF A NEW HYBRID FERRY ERA: Hurtigruten’s new battery-powered ship makes first stop in Longyearbyen overnight under sunny skies

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Since the ship is designed for maximum energy efficiency in the Arctic in particular, it’s only fitting nature provided a matching setting as Hurtigruten’s first hybrid-powered ferry made its debut in Longyearbyen with a 12-hour stop beginning at 10 p.m. Friday where passengers were able to spend a long “day” exploring under clear skies lit by the midnight sun.

WHAT THE FOX?! Arctic fox makes 3,506-km trip from Svalbard to Canada in 76 days – more than a marathon per day

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All the talk (and reality) of the alarming shrinkage of the Arctic sheet whizzed right past a rather speedy Arctic fox who at the end of March of last year began what researchers say is a record-fast 3,506-kilometer journey from Svalbard to Greenland to Ellesmere Island in Canada in 76 days – a rate of 46 kilometers per day.

NO NORTH POLE SEASON? First-ever cancellation of all expeditions looms as political problems mount, plane to Barneo ice camp abandons Svalbard

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The word for last year’s shortest-ever season at the North Pole was “disaster.” This year the word is rapidly becoming “hopeless.”

Officially there are still flights scheduled to the Barneo Ice Camp for those hoping to reach the top of the world, albeit a week or more later than officially planned. But there is now no plane to transport people there and, even if officials succeed in hasty plans to bring in another plane from Canada or Iran, there is no guarantee the ice runway and various logistical factors will remain stable enough to allow any expedition flights at all.