Climate Change

World’s northernmost town now its fastest warming too

The temperature at Longyearbyen in Norway's Svalbard archipelago has risen by 4°C since 1971

By DTE Staff
Published: Wednesday 03 July 2019
The town of Longyearbyen, Svalbard. Photo: Wikimedia Commons
The town of Longyearbyen, Svalbard. Photo: Wikimedia Commons The town of Longyearbyen, Svalbard. Photo: Wikimedia Commons

The northernmost town in the world is also the fastest-warming place on the planet. Longyearbyen, the de facto capital of the Svalbard archipelago located between Norway and the North Pole, is in trouble.

According to a report by the Norwegian Environment Agency released in February this year, temperatures in the town have risen by 4 degrees Celsius since 1971.

That is five times faster than the global average. During winters, the temperature has gone up by 7°C. Scientists have estimated that Longyearbyen and Svalbard’s temperature will increase by 10°C by 2100, according to current trends.

The news comes even as the entire globe is battling with the effects of climate change. Heat waves in Europe and India, climate emergencies in Canada, Europe and the United States are now a daily news staple.

The recent heatwave in Europe is an example. Experts are blaming it on the disruption of a system known as the ‘jet stream’.

High-level perennial wind systems known as jet streams exist in the upper layers of the atmosphere.

When they are disrupted, high pressure blocking systems are formed. When such systems, known as ‘anticyclones’ are in place, they do not allow the regular weather systems to progress. So, the formation of localised low-pressure systems or convections which can bring down the heat become less likely.

One of the possible reasons for the disruption of a jet stream is global warming especially in the Arctic region which disrupts the major jet stream over Earth’s North Pole.

If this system gets disturbed, it impacts all other jet streams in lower latitudes which then form high pressure systems, according to a research paper published in the journal Current Climate Change Reports in December, 2018.

The Sustainable Development Goals are a collection of 17 global goals set by the UN General Assembly in 2015 for the year 2030. They aim at improving the standard of human life in the future by working on removing poverty, hunger, lack of education, gender inequality and other impediments to human well-being.

Goal 19 aims to mobilise $100 billion annually by 2020 to address the needs of developing countries to both adapt to climate change and invest in low-carbon development.

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