Svalbard

WITH PHOTO COLLECTION

Svalbard reindeer populations rebounding from centuries of hunting

As reindeer go, the animals living on the Norwegian arctic archipelago of Svalbard might not be Santa’s first choice. They’re a smaller subspecies of their common mainland relatives, and to save energy they basically never run. But because they were nearly exterminated from Svalbard around 1900 — and were then protected in 1925 — the animals provide unique insights into how conservation can help species thrive.

Conflicting consequences of climate change for Arctic geese

Climate change is the big wild card when it comes to the survival of many Arctic species. A new study shows that climate change will be both good and bad for Svalbard barnacle geese populations — although the balance may tip depending upon the severity of future temperature increases and how other species react.

When the extreme becomes the norm: Svalbard reindeer cope with dramatic climate change

Climate change is increasing the likelihood of extreme winter rain events in the Arctic. These kinds of winter storms on Norway’s Svalbard archipelago can cause a thick cap of ice to cover the forage that reindeer eat. You’d think that more frequent rain-on-snow events would spell the end for these arctic animals — but you’d be wrong.

Using new technology to find shipwrecks on the ocean floor

An estimated three million shipwrecks lie in seabed graveyards around the world – with as many as 1000 of them around Svalbard. Each of them has their own unique story — one that’s made much more accessible with new technology.

Secrets of the sea raised from the depths

The mysteries below the ocean’s surface have triggered human exploration and imagination for centuries. New marine robotics now make it possible to explore what goes on in the ocean depths.

Shedding light on zooplankton in the dark

We know that tiny marine creatures in the Arctic respond to weak light from the Moon or the northern lights during the polar night. Now researchers have learned that artificial light from research vessels can also have a negative effect.

Fuel of the future

Heavy-duty trucks will soon be driving around in Trondheim, Norway, fuelled by hydrogen created with solar power, and emitting only pure water vapour as “exhaust”. Not only will hydrogen technology revolutionize road transport, it will also enable ships and trains to run emission-free.

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Inside the ice caves on Svalbard

Svalbard’s cold climate means that its glaciers are solid and frozen to the ground. This allows for winter travel into unique ice caves that contain plants and material that froze into the glacial ice as it formed.

Making Arctic travel safer

Help is not just a phone call away if you have an accident in the Arctic. That’s why the far northern Norwegian archipelago of Svalbard is establishing an educational and research centre for Arctic safety.

A force more deadly than polar bears

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

Svalbard’s electric power 
could come from hydrogen

Longyearbyen, the world’s most northerly city, could save more than 100 million kroner (11.5 million US dollars) a year in the cost of electricity, if a completely green hydrogen-fuelled power station is built in preference to laying a cable from the mainland, according to calculations made by SINTEF scientists.

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Japan-Norway Arctic Science and Innovation Week

Representatives from Japanese and Norwegian universities, research institutions, government agencies and industries interested in polar issues will gather in Tokyo in early June to present research results and build partnerships.

Freezing plants to predict the fate of the Arctic

Global warming means much warmer winters in the Arctic, with more rain and icing. Researchers are working to understand what that will do to plants that have evolved to overwinter under a thick blanket of snow.

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Keeping Arctic villages, infrastructure from falling into the sea

The Arctic is set to be a 21st century boomtown, as summer sea ice melts away, opening the area to increased trans-Arctic shipping and oil and gas development. A new understanding of Arctic coastal erosion offers clues to how to best protect the docks and other infrastructure this development will bring.

Awash in trash at the top of the world

Every year, an estimated 8 million metric tons of plastic waste blows, falls or flows into the world’s oceans. Earlier this autumn, participants in the annual Svalbard Course plucked up 512 kg of the stuff from just one beach in two hours.