Calving and surging glaciers play a major role in delivering land ice to Arctic waters. Changes in calving frequency might impact sea transport, fisheries and oil exploration in the Arctic. However, these changes are poorly understood. A new PhD project at UNIS aims at increasing the understanding of glacier changes in a shifting climate.
The vision of a CO2-free Svalbard by 2025 is becoming a reality. Last week the first trial drilling for finding the best CO2 depository sediments started. This study will be implemented in the UNIS course portfolio next year.
During the winter 2005/06, periods of sustained northerly winds generated cross-shelf exchange causing extensive flooding of the coastal waters with warm Atlantic Water from the West Spitsbergen Current (the last leg of the Gulf Current system). The seawater winter temperature of the West Spitsbergen Shelf and fjords reverted to that typically of fall, interrupting the normal cycle of ice formation in the region.
For the first time the warm West-Spitsbergen current is appearing near the surface at 79° N. This means that the fjord ice on Svalbard is disappearing at great speed. The observations were made at a recent UNIS geophysics cruise.