A sign in Longyearbyen warning people of polar bears in the Svalbard Archipelago, halfway between Norway and the North Pole, February 25, 2018. THOMSON REUTERS FOUNDATION/Thin Lei Win
The Arctic is warming faster than the rest of the planet - and Longyearbyen is seeing it firsthand...
LONGYEARBYEN, Norway, March 15 (Thomson Reuters Foundation) - On a damp winter's afternoon in February, a bus driver taking visitors to the local airport grumbled that this small Arctic town, halfway between mainland Norway and the North Pole, was the warmest place in the country.
His comment followed two days of rain and above-freezing temperatures in Longyearbyen, a town of about 2,000 people, even as the mainland was struggling with frigid weather and snow.
Relatively warm weather inside the Arctic Circle ought to be highly unusual for February; increasingly, that is not the case.
The Arctic is warming faster than the rest of the planet, something Norway's Svalbard archipelago - where Longyearbyen is located - is seeing firsthand, said Kim Holmen, international director of the state-funded Norwegian Polar Institute (NPI).
"It has been 86 consecutive months where every month has been above normal (temperatures)," he told the Thomson Reuters Foundation in his office at the University Centre in Svalbard (UNIS).
"This type of weather was highly unusual," the scientist said, gesturing at the rain lashing his office window.
"Now we have it every winter and several times a winter."
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at Thomson Reuters Foundation http://news.trust.org/
By Thin Lei Win
(Reporting By Thin Lei Win @thinink, Editing by Robert Carmichael. Please credit the Thomson Reuters Foundation, the charitable arm of Thomson Reuters, that covers humanitarian news, women's rights, corruption and climate change. Visit www.trust.org)
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