September 2022 insights

Ny-Ålesund Research Station Newsletter

The summer season in Ny-Ålesund is coming to an end, and it has been a busy few months since the last newsletter was distributed. The activity level has been almost as in a normal, "non-covid" year, which bodes well for the scientific output in the coming years. The only negative in this overall positive development is that very few researchers from institutions in Asia have been able to travel to Ny-Ålesund, with travel restrictions and domestic policies complicating matters. We sincerely hope to see the entire research community back in Ny-Ålesund next season!

On top of a busy field season, many of you have been engaged in flagship activities this summer and autumn, with the terrestrial flagship hosting a workshop in Ny-Ålesund in August, with representatives from all four flagships gathering in Orvieto (Italy) to continue the work on the "Nutrients in the Arctic" project, and with the Kongsfjorden flagship meeting in Tromsø (Norway) for a workshop.

While the field season has been successful in terms of the amount of work done, it has also been quite challenging, with the number of polar bears in the Kongsfjorden area (probably) at an all time high - at least in modern times. Field safety is something that we all as individual researchers, as employees at institutions and as colleagues in NySMAC will need to continue working on in the time to come - and even more diligently than we have in the past.

Many of us will be convening in Groningen in October for the 57th NySMAC meeting - generously hosted by the University of Groningen. We look forward to seeing many of you there!

Updates from the research station

The Norwegian Polar Institute are coordinating input to the Svalbard Science Forum (SSF) about user experience from the Reserach in Svalbard system (RiS). Involvement from users are crucial for improvements, and a dialogue meeting with the NySMAC representatives and the local institutional leaders in Ny-Ålesund are planned in October/November. Invitations will be sent out. Feedback from other users of the system are never the less welcome, and can be sent to research.nya@npolar.no.

The new terrestrial lab, Veksthuset, has been equipped with a range of different equipment this year. Space in the lab is ready to be booked through Research in Svalbard (RiS). Overview of equipement can be requested from engineer@kingsbay.no.

The timeline for the development of a revised land use plan in Ny-Ålesund has been adjusted pending the outcome of an ongoing assessment of the possible consequence for natural diversity. News about the plan will be posted on the website. Read more about the plan here!

The Norwegian Coastal Administration has summoned the task force in Longyearbyen to an oil spill preparedness exercise in Kongsfjorden the 26th and the 27th of September. The exercise will be arranged around a scenario where oil spills in Kongsfjorden. To read more about the exercise, click here.

Renewed exhibition in the protected building, The old telegraph. The official opening was the 13th of September 2022.

Updates from the flagships programmes

Joint Flagship activity

The project Nutrient cycle in the Arctic bring together researchers from all four Ny-Ålesund flagships to evaluate nutrient fluxes between Kongsfjorden and its surrounding environment – terrestrial, glacier, atmospheric and ocean realms – and look into how some of these fluxes are expected to change with the ongoing warming trends. These issues were discussed in a cross-flagship, three day workshop in Orvieto, Italy 20.-22. September 2022, where almost 30 researchers from 8 different countries joined. The participants will summarize some of their knowledge in two shared publications; one focusing on Kongsfjorden Net Ecosystem Metabolism, and one dealing with how the stable isotope analysis approach have been used for different aspects of the Nutrient cycle. Press here to read more about the workshop.

More updates from The Flagships

The Terrestrial Ecosystem Flagship succesfully organized a workshop in Ny-Ålesund the 1st to the 4th of August in relation to the project: " From workshops to reserach projects" running from 2021 to 2023. The workshop gathered around 20 polar scientist that discussed about future collaborations and possible joint proposals.
Read about the workshop here.

The Kongsfjorden System flagship fall meeting will take place in Tromsø on the 27th and 28th of September. For digital attendig contact Clara Hoppe (clara.hoppe@awi.de) or Allison Bailey (allison.bailey@npolar.no).

Research highlights

What happens hundreds of meters below the surface of the glacier Kongsvegen?

Categories: Glaciology

Researchers from the University of Oslo has drilled their way down to the bottom of the Kongsvegen glacier. Read about why and how they do this in this letter from the project.
What happens hundreds of meters below the surface of the glacier Kongsvegen?

The Svalbard reindeer around Ny-Ålesund have been counted - summer season 2022!

Categories: Terrestrial ecosystem

The counting team from the Norwegian Polar Insitute reports large populations and many calves on Brøggerhalvøya, Sarsøya and Kaffiøyra from this summers coutnings.
The Svalbard reindeer around Ny-Ålesund have been counted - summer season 2022!

Walrus from Space

Walrus from Space
Categories: Kongsfjorden system

Can satelite images be used to count walruses? Last week, a team of scientist from the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) and Britisch Anatarctic Survey (BAS) visited Ny-Ålesund Research Station to test out a technique to verify counting of walrus in images taken from satelites in space.

Cultural heritage research in Ny-Ålesund


To increase the knowledge about human and natural influence on cultural heritage researchers from the Norwegian Institute for Cultural Heritage (NIKU) and the Norwegian Institute of Bioeconomy Research (NIBIO) this summer performed fieldwork in Ny-Ålesund and on the Blomstrand peninsula.
Cultural heritage research in Ny-Ålesund

Successful workshop in The Terrestrial Flagship in Ny-Ålesund

Categories: Terresterial ecosystem

Last 1st of August, for three days, around 20 polar scientists met in Ny-Ålesund to join the workshop organised by the Ny-Ålesund Terrestrial Ecosystem Flagship linked to the project "From workshops to research projects” running from 2021 to 2023.
Successful workshop in The Terrestrial Flagship in Ny-Ålesund

A bad year for barnacle geese and eider ducks in Kongsfjorden

A bad year for barnacle geese and eider ducks in Kongsfjorden
Categories: Kongsfjorden system, Terrestrial ecosystem

Coutnings this summer show a decline of 36% for the barnacle geese and 21% for the eiders in Kongsfjorden.


27-28 September 2022

Meeting in The Kongsfjorden system Flagship

The fall meeting in the Flagship will take place in Tromsø the 27th and 28th of September. More information will come in August and will be announced on various platforms.

12-14 October 2022

SIOS online conference on Earth observation and remote sensing applications in Svalbard

SIOS are pleased to announce this years' conference on Earth observation (EO) and Remote Sensing (RS) applications in Svalbard. The conference aims to
to promote the work of PhD students, postdocs, researchers, senior scientists, and academics who are actively contributing to the science of Svalbard
review the state-of-the-art EO and RS applications in Svalbard.
Read more about the online conference here.

25-26 October 2022

57th NySMAC meeting in Groningen, Netherlands

The 57th NySMAC meeting will be hosted by the Arctic Centre, University of Groningen, The Netherlands.The NySMAC meeting is a closed meeting for members, observers and guests only.

All events are listed here


Call for applications to The Arctic Field Grant (AFG). The AFG supports fieldwork for students and researchers collecting data in Svalbard and Jan Mayen. The application deadline for AFG 2023 is 16 November 2022 at 13.00 CET. Read more here.

The EU-H2020 funded INTERACT (International Network for Terrestrial Research and Monitoring in the Arctic) opens a call for research groups to apply for Transnational Access and Remote Access to 39 (TA) and 26 (RA) research stations. Deadline is 15th of November 2022. Read more here.

Support for research stays and use of research infrastructure on Svalbard and in Ny-Ålesund from the Research Council of Norway (only for Norwegian institutions). Ongoing processing time, read more here.

Opportunities in SIOS

ASSW 2023 Science Symposium: 17-24 February 2023 (Vienna, Austria)
Read more about the sessions and program here.

SIOS special session during ISAR-7: 6 -10 March 2023 (Tachikawa, Tokyo)
Read more about the sessions and program here.

Image of the month

The project Nutrient cycle – has brought together all four Ny-Ålesund flagships to evaluate nutrient fluxes between Kongsfjorden and its surrounding environment. About 30 researchers from 8 countries met in Orvieto, Italy (September 19-21), to share knowledge and create networks across the disciplines.

Please contact us at post@nyalesundresearch.no to have your image shown in the next newsletter.
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