Research and Monitoring

The Ny-Ålesund area, while making up a fraction of the total area of Svalbard, is where 25 % of the research activity in the archipelago is carried out. A large number of institutions are engaged in environmental monitoring in Ny-Ålesund, and data from this activity is essential input to a number of national and international monitoring programmes, and, by extension, to international agreements and conventions.

The combination of large Norwegian investments in public services and research infrastructure, and substantial Norwegian and international institutional investments in research, advanced scientific equipment and infrastructure for monitoring and field work in Ny-Ålesund, have been key success factors in establishing Ny-Ålesund as the world’s most advanced and internationally oriented high Arctic research station.

Ny-Ålesund Flagships

The combination of extensive research infrastructure, a northern location, a coastal setting, a heterogenous landscape, and relatively easy access makes Ny-Ålesund a unique location for high Arctic research and for building and maintaining long time-series.

The research and monitoring activity in Ny-Ålesund is organized in four broad and dynamic flagship programmes, with extensive cross-disciplinary and cross-flagship collaboration. The flagship programmes have regular meetings and are open to all scientists who are either actively engaged in studies in the area, or who wish to develop new insights based on monitoring and research in the area. Furthermore, the flagship programmes are arenas for contact, coordination and cooperation in science, and they are key arenas for discussions of research priorities and research infrastructure development.

For additional information about the four flagships, please follow the links below.

Cross-cutting flagship activities

To understand changes in one ecosystem or sphere one cannot exclude to study the relationship with the other spheres. This is valid in particular in Arctic regions where the changes, as well as effects of changes, are so drastic. The flagships have identified the nutrient cycle to be a critical link between the atmosphere, biosphere and cryosphere, and this theme were chosen as the first theme to increase the multidisciplinary research and cross-flagship activities in Ny-Ålesund.

Resources, tools and infrastructure

One of the unique qualities of Ny-Ålesund Research Station is the access that all actors have to common resources, common tools and common infrastructure – ranging from the possibility to use laboratories, via access to detailed information on where instruments and research projects are located in the Ny-Ålesund area, to the utilisation of data that contribute to international programmes and networks.

Publications

Although Ny-Ålesund and the surrounding area constitutes a small part of the entire Svalbard archipelago, the long-term investments in infrastructure and in research and monitoring activities means that the Research Station features prominently in peer-reviewed publications in the domain of Arctic research.