It’s not easy being a tiny willow on the wind-and snow-blasted islands of the Norwegian territory of Svalbard. It turns out that Salix polaris, the polar willow, handles these tough conditions by growing as best it can in response to July temperatures — a response that researchers recorded all over the archipelago.
As reindeer go, the animals living on 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.
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.
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.
Climate change in the Arctic means more winter rain, and consequently more rain falling on snow. The result can be a buildup of ice under the snow, which can wreak havoc with arctic ecosystems.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
After just two years, researchers are halfway to their goal of creating DNA barcodes for Norwegian species.
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.
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.
The polar night descends on the arctic archipelago of Svalbard for more than 100 days a year. But even in the depths of this darkness, the oceans are churning with activity.
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.