cruise diary - NY ALESUND (SPITSBERGEN)
- Posted July 31, 2009 by Shamballah Viewed 1192 times
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Some facts about Ny-Ålesund
Population: 35 (winter) - 180 (summer - max)
Nationalities: 2 - 15
Number of buildings: 60
Total length of roads: 9.8 km
Distance to the North Pole: 1231 km
Distance to Oslo: 2420 km
Distance to Longyearbyen: 107 km
Svalbard is one of the last major areas of wilderness in Europe and includes all landmasses between 74 and 81 degrees North and between 10 and 35 degrees east, as well as the sea inside a territorial boundary stretching out 4 nautical miles from land. The total land area is about 63,000 km² and two thirds of this area is permanently covered by ice and glaciers.
Ny-Ålesund is situated at 78° 55´ N, 11° 56´ E on the west coast of Spitsbergen, the largest island in the Svalbard archipelago. The settlement is the permanent home to around 35 persons serving the research station all year round.
Ny-Ålesund and Svalbard in general are surprisingly easily accessed during most of the year. The climate is mild in relation to Ny-Ålesunds northerly latitude, thanks to remnants of the Gulf Stream that flows northwards from mainland Norway up the west coast of Spitsbergen.
The mean temperature in the coldest month (February) is -14°C, while the warmest month (July) has a mean temperature of +5°C.
This does not only turn Ny-Ålesund into a place possible to live in but even to a place nice to live in - at least if you are prepared to get well dressed before getting outdoors during wintertime, you like outdoor activities and most of all if you are fascinated with the wild scenery of the Arctic landscape. Many of the people coming here have practically fallen in love with Svalbard. In Ny-Ålesund you will find four months of polar night and four months of midnight sun. During the very darkest period, around christmas, there is literally no difference between night and day, while, on the other hand, the sun stays above the horizon all day and night during the summer months.
The whole Svalbard archipelago is part of the high arctic region with permafrost - which means that the ground is frozen all year round. The vegetation in the area varies from sparse ground cover to the meadow-like vegetation of the bird sanctuaries. You will find several bird sanctuaries along Kongsfjorden, home to large colonies of birds.
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