People in the inland of southern Norway woke up to temperatures down to minus 35 degrees Celsius Tuesday morning and the forecast promises to keep cold at least another week. Coastal towns in Finnmark in the other end, have had days with 1-3 degrees above zero. Even Longyearbyen, on Norway’s Svalbard archipelago at 76 degrees north had some few days above zero last week.
The waters east of Svalbard all the way to north of Russia’s Novaya Zemlya are still ice free. In this part of the Arctic, the extent of sea ice stays well below average. Newly posted data from the National Snow and Ice Data Centre shows that the Barents-and Kara Seas have the second-lowest sea ice extent in the satellite record, dating back to 1979.
For December, the total sea ice extent in the Arctic was 4,71 million square miles, almost half-a-million square miles below the 1979 to 2000 average. The slow growth of sea ice in the Barents- and Kara Seas in December is most likely due to higher air temperatures, 3 to 5 degrees Celsius higher than normal.
A step-by-step increase up to SEK 5,5 billion will be added to the annual defense budget following the Ukraine crisis. The cash will partly come by cutting spending on environment and nuclear safety cooperation with Russia.
MURMANSK: Ecological groups gathered on Kola Peninsula fear that Barents nature will be the looser after Oslo decided to call off the environmental minister’s Moscow meeting in response to Russia’s annexation of Crimea.
TROMSØ: Since the first five specimens of snow crab were found in the Barents Sea in 1996, the population has exploded. There is now ten times as much snow crab than king crab in the area, and scientists are just starting to find out how this new species has adopted to life in the Barents Sea.
More than 900 reindeer die of hunger on the Russian Arctic island of Kolguyev following a critical lack of available local pasturelands. The reindeer stocks in the area are too badly managed, regional authorities admit.
Three days processing of visa-applications is history. “Always apply at least 15 days prior to scheduled departure. Our processing time is 10 days,” says Marit Egholm Jacobsen, head of the visa section at Norway’s Consulate General in Murmansk.
Board member Amund Trellevik in the press network fears entry-denial of Kremlin’s controversial propaganda-journalist Dmitry Kiselyov could be retaliated by refusing Norwegian journalists access to Russia.
“Young journalists are the future of cross border communication in the North. We feel it is important to give them a possibility to network and learn about new media”, says Virpi Komulainen, project coordinator of the Barents Mediasphere.