We lose Svalbard? Scientists have named the main threat to the archipelago

© Photo : Nelly Elagina, Department of glaciology Ihantala water finds even in such wells. Even in mid-summer they are dangerous — discreetly covered with snowWe lose Svalbard? Scientists have named the main threat to the archipelago© Photo : Nelly Elagina, Department of glaciology Grandadmiral to daily updates RIA Science

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On one of the northernmost archipelago of the world — Svalbard — warming second time in a century. And very intensively. Ice cap melting, permafrost is degrading. This is problematic for human activities. Scientists see the root of evil in climate change on the planet.

Vulnerable the ice

«During warming in the winter is rainy weather, this leads to melting of glaciers. Two avalanches struck a residential neighbourhood in Longyearbyen. Roads are closed, because the soil creeps occur rockfalls. Some houses were cracked, people were evicted,» says RIA Novosti Alexey Marchenko, doctor of physico-mathematical Sciences, Professor of the University centre in Svalbard.

The scientist holds in the archipelago for six months last 12 years and marks a strong change that occurred during this time. According to him, glaciers are retreating, as shown by their front down to the valley: from the vertical, it turns into more gently sloping, with numerous cracks.

Alexei Marchenko is tracking the icebergs that pose a potential threat to navigation. The fact that in this part of the Greenland sea is actively developing tourism. Due to the melting of sea ice normal court enter into areas previously unavailable to them. Not adapted to ice conditions, the ship can suffer even from a piece of ice with a thickness of several meters.

Svalbard has survived all the geological epochs. Four hundred million years ago it was covered with the giant ferns and horsetails, which turned into rich deposits of coal. In the Mesozoic era there was inhabited by giant lizards, and later in the tropical forests of the archipelago was infested with wild animals and birds.

The last Millennium Svalbard was encased in a powerful shell of ice up to the present day remained a little more than half. In the little ice age in the XVII–XIX centuries in the archipelago of the cold. Warmed only by 1920. Since the late 1980s, the average temperature is increasing rapidly.

According to him, the upper active layer of permafrost in the warm season began to thaw stronger in winter, no time to freeze.

«Then, can be formed taliks — unfrozen for several years inside the frozen soil. This is due to warmer winters and lots of snow, which acts as an insulator. Taliks are threatening the sustainability of residential and commercial buildings», — continues the scientist.

Institute of geography RAS is exploring Spitsbergen 1964. The other day came back the next expedition. Scientists say that the glaciers surface completely loses its snow by the middle of summer, begins to melt perennial ice.

But the invasion of thermophilic organisms is not observed. In the waters of Spitsbergen still live most adapted to the cold European species, or species with very short life cycle, keep grow in July-August, says RIA Novosti co-author with Elena Chertoprud, an employee of the Department of Hydrobiology biological faculty Moscow state University named after M. V. Lomonosov.

Indirectly to the warming indicated by the increase in the number of geese flying in to graze on free of ice and stone, the tundra, the researchers note. Bird droppings enrich the environment with minerals, which in turn affects the biogeochemical processes in the wild.

Live community — a bright indicator of habitat change. However, Svalbard in this regard are not well understood, the necessary long-term monitoring for all its living and nonliving systems. This will enable the permanent population of the archipelago in a timely manner to adapt to new environmental conditions.

© Photo : Nicholas Lecomte, Norwegian Polar InstituteДва a key species of the fauna of the island of Spitsbergen reindeer and willow grouse We lose Svalbard? Scientists have named the main threat to the archipelago© Photo : Nicholas Lecomte, Norwegian Polar InstituteДва a key species of the fauna of the island of Spitsbergen reindeer and the rock ptarmigan

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