January/February 12

26th of February
Last week the strong winds broke away half of the fjord ice in Tempelfjorden.
It stopped breaking 300 meters from the ship, pfff, lucky us.
So we are still in position!
Now new ice is forming, so good to see.
We need this ice, for this is the way to and from Longyearbyen, by snow scooter or dogsled..

18th of February
Thursday we measured 11 cm of ice
But right now strong winds from East and higher temperatures are thwarting our freezing plans.

In the early morning light I can see some of the fjord ice is gone...
Will we be able to hold our postion?



Frydaymorning we left Longyearbyen in the blue morninglight.
The daylight is on its return so we had a good vieuw over the fjord upon arrival in Tempelfjorden.
A few blocks of glacierice was all what was drifting around. No fjordice, but the weatherforecast was promising.
Finally some cold, after reading all the snow and ice news from the Netherlands!

Slowly the temperatures were going down, and the wind decreased.
Last night (Sundaynight) the ice started to grow and after 24hours the ship almost stopped drifting.
We will bring her in the right position on Tuesdaymorning....

A lot of ringed seals were playing around the ship, a nice welcome back.
(but please stop breaking up the ice with all the spyhopping)

There will be little wind the coming days, so we hope for thicker ice soon..

31 th January Rain!
Last Tuesday we sailed the ship to Tempelfjorden, as it was very calm weather with temperatures around minus 10 degrees.
The ice was forming, and with 2 cm of ice, the ship stayed in position as there was no wind at all.
But unfortunately the wind picked up on Thursday, and blew the ice out of the fjord. So back to Longyearbyen...
The temperatures were rising and yesterday we had a record of plus 4, 9 degrees Celsius! Spitsbergen was the warmest place in the whole of Norway.
But not only the temperature is extreme, also the precipitation is. It is raining, raining and raining. From Sunday 07.00am till Monday 07.00am we had 25,9mm of precipitation. Normal is 15mm of precipitation in the whole month of January!
The roads are very very slippery, on Sunday the plane was not able to land because of a slippery runway. (due to the permafrost rain turns into ice when it hits the ground). Monday the plane could land, but then the road to the airport was closed for traffic, as they had been an avalanche of wet snow, blocking the road. Luckily they could clean the road just in time, as the plane could not wait any longer, the flight crew was running out of flight hours.
Several roads in Longyearbyen are blocked, and the avalanche danger is not over yet. The river has opened up, and also today the rain is poring down.
A high pressure area, stable in the Northern part of Scandinavia is leading all low pressure areas up North, to Spitsbergen, transporting the warm and humid air.

24th January Mild weather

For the last 30 days, the average temperature in Spitsbergen has been 9, 3 degrees above the normal temperatures.
(Normal is the average temperatures for all months of January in the period 1961-1990)
There is no ice yet, and this is one of the reasons the temperatures are so high.
They have a close relation; with a lot of open water the air temperature is not cooled down so easily.
Also no sea-ice out on the west coast of Spitsbergen. This usually forms a natural protection for the fjord ice,
now the swell from open sea can easily come into Isfjorden area and destroy new formed fjord ice.
It has also been a period with a lot of mild and humid air from the South. This gives an unstable weather type.

So Noorderlicht is still in port Longyearbyen: http://portlongyear.livecam360.com/flash/main.php

Sunday we were out on a reg trip to Tempelfjorden. It is a 3 to 4 hours sail to come there.
On some places in the fjord there was 1 mm of ice. Very good to see, at least there is a start!
Today we will fill up our diesel tanks in Longyearbyen, and go back to Tempelfjorden tomorrow,
as the temperatures will get lower in the coming days.

1th January 2012

Happy New Year
After the big storm in the Lofoten, which the ship managed well, we got nice clear calm and most important, dry weather during the docking period in Harstad. We painted the underwater ship, and deck, built a new wastewater tank, which was quit some work although after cleaning none visible change, but needed.
On the 15th of December we stored for the Winter season in Tromso, leaving the same night with again calm weather. The weather stayed that way the whole voyage to Longyearbyen, and we had the easiest crossing ever in this time of the year. Also a bit boring, for we had by lack of wind, almost use the engine all the way.
Opposite last year when there was ice all around Spitsbergen, (and already in place on Christmas Eve, and on the ice the next day), we did not cross any ice. Yesterday we sailed to Tempelfjord to survey the Fjord but no sign of ice there either. Last three days we had Temperature around minus 18, but the forecast predict for the coming period warmer weather, around zero degree. This with a seawater temp. that is also relative warm we will probably spent some time in the harbour in Longyearbyen. For sure tonight we will be here and celebrate New Year’s Eve with friends who live here.
The crew wishes all of you the best for coming Year