How a warming climate is changing Svalbard at an unprecedented rate

"We are losing the Svalbard we know. We are losing the Arctic as we know it because of climate change."

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Since 1970, average annual temperatures have risen by 4 degrees Celsius in Svalbard, with winter temperatures rising more than 7 degrees, according to a report released by the Norwegian Centre for Climate Services in February.

The “Climate in Svalbard 2100” report also warns that the annual mean air temperature in Svalbard is projected to increase by 7 to 10 degrees Celsius by the end of this century.

Since 1979, the Arctic sea ice extent has declined by nearly 12 percent per decade, with the most pronounced winter reduction in the Svalbard and Barents Sea area. That’s not good news for Svalbard’s main town, Longyearbyen, which — with a population of slightly more than 2,000 people — is the northernmost town on the planet.