In 1906, the workers overwintered, and a company town Longyear

Famed Seed Vault Face Melting Snow

moncler jackets outlet moncler jackets outlet Climate change is happening two to four times as quickly in the far north. (Representational) moncler jackets outlet moncler jackets outlet

moncler sale outlet moncler outlet sale LONGYEARBYEN, Svalbard: Unseasonal winter rain had seeped along the floor of the ice cave, freezing the last incline. That had made slipping to the bottom easy enough, but finding a way out was now a problem. One man sat down to brace his back and feet against opposite sides of the tunnel, while others used him as a platform from which to push their guide, Marcel Starinsky, upward. He managed to pull himself the rest of the way along the slope, under a roof recently opened by rain. After reaching the top, he hauled the rest of the travelers up, one by one, into the polar darkness that blankets the region up to 24 hours a day in winter. moncler outlet sale moncler sale outlet

cheap moncler outlet cheap moncler jackets sale Such rain and ice cave collapses are not the only recent anomalies on Svalbard, an archipelago halfway between Norway’s mainland and the North Pole. Average January temperatures have been at least nine degrees above normal for the past six years. In late 2015, an avalanche reached homes in Longyearbyen, killing two people. And the western side of the Svalbard archipelago is warming more quickly than the Arctic as a whole. The international director of the Norwegian Polar Institute, Kim Holmen, who lives in Longyearbyen, says of climate change here, “This town is certainly the place where it’s happening first and fastest and even the most.” cheap moncler jackets sale cheap moncler outlet

moncler outlet online cheap moncler jackets Holmen notes that Svalbard used to be where students came to observe Arctic conditions. Now it is the place they come to study a climate in transition. Longyearbyen, population 2,160, has an airport, a library, a coffee shop and the church closest to the North Pole. In the first recorded sighting of the islands, Dutch navigator William Barents’s men spent hours trying to kill a single bear.”One of our men stroke her in the backe with an axe, which stuck fast… There was no indigenous population, but Dutch whalers were soon fishing in the region, and trappers came to hunt on land as well. By the mid 1800s, scientific expeditions made their way to the islands. In 1906, the workers overwintered, and a company town Longyear City, or Longyearbyen was born.”There’s this incredible difficulty of going to a place that’s not really suited for human habitation. You have to bring your environment with you,” says University of Hartford historian Michael Robinson. “Svalbard becomes almost a contact zone between the possible and the impossible.”After World War I, Svalbard was placed under Norwegian sovereignty through an international treaty. Still in place today, the Svalbard Treaty guarantees nationals of all its signatories access and the right to conduct “maritime, industrial, mining, or commercial enterprises” on the archipelago. Everyone comes to Longyearbyen to scry the future. Sections of rocky ground are bare, and rains scrape away what little snow remains in other spots, creating icy cover in low lying ground. Sitting in his office on the second floor of the bright red government center, Olsen acknowledges that climate change presents challenges. “It moves the fish in the sea and the herds on the mountains. It affects everything,” he says. “So of course it affects us here in Longyearbyen in every way.”The town, for example, was not designed to handle rainwater running in the streets. Thawing permafrost stretches power lines and threatens to destroy pipelines. Roads designed for freezing temperatures are thawing. Longyearbyen’s buildings were built on permafrost when it was believed the ground would never melt. Mudslides now join avalanches as a threat. Svalbard is best known for its Global Seed Vault, which houses samples from around the world. At the end of a tunnel stretching deep into the side of a mountain, the seeds sit in an air conditioned storage area. But permafrost thawing in recent years led to a growing problem with standing water in the entrance tunnel. Inside the vault, Asdal observes, “you have Russian seeds and Ukrainian seeds on the same shelves…. South Korea and North Korea are quite close.”Like Longyearbyen itself, the seed vault has roots in the mines. Before the vault’s construction, a Nordic gene bank sat not far away, in an abandoned shaft of Coal Mine No. 3. National Snow and Ice Data Center. In May, the Norwegian Polar Institute counted more than more than 600 scientists from 23 countries doing research on and around Svalbard. Their 77 active projects deal with such issues as heavy metal contamination of soil and the capture of ptarmigan chicks. Serreze says that in the long term, there will be winners as well as losers. Polar bears are dependent on sea ice, which has been in steep decline in recent years. The maximum extent of Arctic sea ice for 2017 was the second lowest on record. Serreze identifies the bears as one of the likely losers in climate roulette, but he predicts Russia will be a winner, because of increased use of Arctic shipping routes and expanded production of natural gas. If there are winners and losers in the planet’s ecological turmoil, he says, Norway including Longyearbyen might eventually be one of the winners. Yet, like Olsen, she reveals a streak of optimism. There are still things we can do to mitigate the larger crisis, she points out, such as reducing carbon emissions and carefully managing Arctic marine mammal populations. “The future is pretty bleak. But if we don’t start making changes, it’s going to be even worse.”In early 2018, despite a handful of cold days, Svalbard was trapped in a bubble of extreme heat, with temperatures more than 20 degrees above normal in one 30 day period. On Jan. 13, in the dead of the usually frigid Arctic winter, the temperature reached 43 degrees. Comments cheap moncler jackets moncler outlet online

moncler outlet moncler outlet online A collapsing roof, a slippery slope and the promise of collaboration. Svalbard’s present, in which these consequences of climate change are apparent, is a window onto the future. In the northernmost town on Earth, and around the globe, it comes down to what is still possible and what people are willing to do.(This story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is auto generated from a syndicated feed.) moncler outlet online moncler outlet.

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