Rain on Snow Events in Longyearbyen

by Dina Brode-RogerIMG_20180312_081857 (1)

Today, December 19, it’s raining in Longyearbyen, Svalbard. And it shouldn’t be – not when we are in the middle of the polar night and at 78°N. My research is on the impacts of climate change on the community here and these types of rain on snow events are becoming more and more common. But what is interesting to me, as I study Identity of Place, is to hear the different ways people react to these events. For example, some people talk about the reindeer and how hard it is for them to forage for food under the ice that forms after the rain stops and the temperatures once again drop to a more seasonal level. Others remind me to wear spikes on my boots or explain how difficult the snowmobiling conditions will be. All views show different facets of living up here, and all show some of the many ways climate change is impacting life in the world’s northernmost city.

picture of reindeer and snowmobiles amid patches of ice in Longyearbyen, March 2018 ©Dina Brode-Roger