Svalbard and the Arctic Region on the agenda during "Arendalsuka" 2019.

From Pollen, in the harbour area of Arendal. Photo: Lisbeth Iversen

During “Arendalsuka” 2019, the week from August 12 until August 17, I had the pleasure of beeing present in many seminars and debates. “Arendalsuka” is an independent initiative started in the city of Arendal in the south of Norway in order to contribute to political debate in public spaces in Norway. Many of the political leaders from the Government and the Norwegian Parliament take part, together with national, regional and local organizations, municipalities, Universities, research institutions, business actors, and inhabitants, including youth and children.

In this blog post I will give some highlights from debates and seminars concerning Svalbard and the North, relevant to my work as a co-leader of the Horizon 2020 project INTAROS; Integrated Arctic Observation System work on Community Based Monitoring of the Arctic.

The opening of the "Arendalsuka" 2019. Photo: Lisbeth Iversen

The international politica…

Arctic Safety Conference in Longyearbyen 13-15 May 2019

In May I had the possibility to go back to Longyerbyen, Svalbard, to present my work at the Arctic Safety Conference which took place at UNIS from 13 - 15 May. The work is part of my PhD and INTAROS Workpackage 4 on community-based observing programmes for participatory research and capacity-building. The topic of my presentation was:Knowledge based planning, development and monitoring in the Arctic. Linking top-down with bottom-up approaches.

UNIS, Longyerbyen

Left: Ann Christin Auestad, Project Manager at Arctic Safety Center, and right: Harald Ellingsen, Managing Director at UNIS, opening the Arctic Safety Conference in Longyearbyen.

Pictures from the conference.

Safety and risks involve people and local communities, especially in areas that are inhabited. This is also true for the Arctic region, where both indigenous people, and other settlements and communities are challenged by climate change and increased risks due to more frequent extreme weather conditions and natural disasters. …

Former friends now seen as enemies in Svalbard

In Svalbard the mountains, the former friends and protectors of the community, have become the "enemy". Lisbeth Iversen (NERSC), representing the INTAROS project and students from Amalie Skram High School in Bergen, Norway, as part of the Regimes project, tell us about the first day of their field trip meeting community members in Svalbard. Tuesday the 8th of August 2017 we visited the Longyerbyen school and had the opportunity to ask questions about everyday life at school  in Longyerbyen, about  challenges like heavy rainfall, avalanches, melting permafrost, ice-free fjords etc. We were told that Longyerbyen has changed a lot over the years, from a society based on mining and industry, lacking a local political management, to a society with a local council or board of politicians, established in 2007. Many people nowadays want to stay here also after they retire, and even some young people who spent their childhood here, are coming back to study or work. Long…

Resourcefulness and resilience in the Arctic tundra

Scott Davidson, from the University of Sheffield realises his childhood dream of going to the Arctic. In this piece Scott tells us of the ups and downs of doing fieldwork on vegetation methane emissions in the Alaskan Arctic tundra, where he spent four months in 2014. I arrived in Barrow (now known as Utqiaġvik), Alaska in May 2014 to undertake field research for my PhD based at the University of Sheffield, UK. Barrow is located at approximately 71 degrees north of latitude (500 km above the Arctic Circle), bordering the Arctic Ocean. When I arrived I had a vague idea of what to expect but this was completely thrown out of the window as soon as I stepped off the plane.

A childhood dream Throughout my childhood the Arctic always completely fascinated me and the chance to go to Alaska for 4 months was an incredible opportunity. My PhD looks at the role of vegetation in influencing methane emissions in Arctic tundra ecosystems across the North Slope of Alaska. This involved taki…