Sunny day at Svalbard. Longyearbyen is the world's northernmost permanent settlement and has a population of about 2,400 people. Photo: Thomas Nilsen

Warmest June ever at Svalbard

Average temperature at Svalbard airport Longyearbyen was 6,0°C, which is 2,4°C above average for June and the warmest ever recorded.
July 02, 2022


The June summary of weather reports by Norway’s Meteorological Institute is a scary read.

No places in the world see faster warming than Svalbard, the report concludes. While the Arctic warms three times faster than global average increase, Svalbard is worst off among all Circumpolar regions.

“The region around the northern Barents Sea has warming that is 2 to 2,5 times higher than average in the Arctic and 5 to 7 times higher than global average,” said climate scientist Ketil Isaksen with the Meteorological Institute.

June temperatures were higher than normal all around the archipelago, not only in the main settlement Longyearbyen.

Ny-Ålesund, the research community north on Spitsbergen where climate scientists from all over the world keep eyes on the changing Arctic, saw an average temperature of 5,7°C, 2,9°C higher than normal. Also that is the highest ever measured for June. Last record was in 2006 with 4,2°C.

At Bear Island in the Barents Sea, the peak temperature was measured on June 29th at 20,1°C.



Bjørnøya (Bear Island) is halfway between mainland Norway and Svalbard. Photo: Thomas Nilsen


A recent science report published in Nature points to a connection between warmer temperatures and less sea ice in the northern Barents Sea. As ice disappears, the darker ocean water absorbs more heat than the ice did, since ice is more reflective.

As previously reported, the changes in marine ecosystems on the west coast of Svalbard are dramatic and could have unknown consequences for the Barents Sea ecosystem.

The northern Barents Sea may soon complete the transition from a cold Arctic to a warm and well-mixed Atlantic-dominated climate regime.

In fact, the entire Barents Sea will be ice-free year-round.

Hornsund: Melting glacier at Sør-Spitsbergen national park. Svalbard is the fastest-warming place on planet earth. Photo: Thomas Nilsen



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