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Svalbard Archipelago: The Fastest-Warming Place

Updated: Nov 24, 2022

Writer: Arda Bora Karahan

It is a gospel truth that the world is staring into a serious problem as global warming and its shreds of evidence stand out more day by day. Nevertheless, as predicted by scientists, there are places where are impressed more or less. Deep inside the Arctic Circle, Svalbard Archipelago, in Norway, is accepted as the fastest-warming place in the world. In the area, whose size is approximately 60.000 km, and includes 3000 people and—startlingly— 6000 polar bears; people grapple with both the avalanche hazard that the ice floors melting and the risk that the polar bears constitute.

Svalbard Archipelago, in Norway, hosts to world's northernmost settlement, Longyearbyen, which is predicted to be warming 6 times more than the average of global warming, the fastest-warming place in the world. From 1900 to now on, the temperatures increased by 10 C degrees.

Global warming entails risk for people who live at the edge of the mountains in rural. Associated with the melting of the ice floor, the avalanche hazard decreases and this may cause deaths. The first avalanche new which's put on record occurred in 2015. It caused 1 death and 9 injuries.

Additionally, the thawing of the icefield makes difficult the living conditions of animals in the area. It is stated that the creatures living in the Arctic region will either adapt to change their habitats or face extinction. The decreasing of the field full of ice in the Arctic region is causing the world to warm up rapidly. Related to the melting of ice, the seals' habitats are being destroyed, in this way, the only nutritional source for polar bears becomes extinct. Because they cannot find enough sources of nutrition, they have to go up to the center for getting nourishment. Locking cars is prohibited in Svalbard so that people can easily take shelter in a safe place during a bear attack. Some warning signs about polar bears can be seen in the streets of Svalbard.

Svalbard hosts also Global Seed Vault, a backup facility to protect the diversity of crops. Unfortunately, it is in danger now. Climate change is the name of the danger faced by the "Doomsday Warehouse," where seeds from all over the world are grown against food shortages that may begin with possible doomsday scenarios such as war or global warming. Seeds are stored on this island at -18 degrees. However, the increase in rainy weather causes big and sudden changes in the region. After torrential rains in October 2016, the area where the entrance to the seed vault was located was almost half filled with water. Although no water had reached the vault, waterproof concrete was replaced with the original steel entrance tunnel.

It is highly asserted that the consequences of climate change will be severe not only in these highly-affected areas but everywhere. We must notice that we are about to come point of no return and act to save our planet. Lastly, we should always remember that this trouble dates back to long ago and it will be hard to stop, so we must go through radical changes as soon as possible.

  1. Nick Beake and Kate Vandy in Svalbard, N. and K. (2022, October 26). Svalbard: The Race to save the fastest-warming place on Earth. BBC News. Retrieved November 5, 2022, from

  2. Cockburn, H. (n.d.). ‘doomsday vault’ town warming quicker than any other on Earth, climate ... Retrieved November 5, 2022, from

  3. Wikimedia Foundation. (2022, October 28). Svalbard. Wikipedia. Retrieved November 5, 2022, from

  4. Dilek, E. (2021, April 12). Svalbard Tohum deposu nedir? i̇nsan Tarımının Geleceği, Norveç'in Elinde Olabilir! Evrim Ağacı. Retrieved November 5, 2022, from

  5. Guardian News and Media. (2015, December 20). Fatal avalanche buries houses in Norway's Arctic Svalbard archipelago. The Guardian. Retrieved November 5, 2022, from

  6. Guardian News and Media. (2017, May 19). Arctic stronghold of World's seeds flooded after permafrost melts. The Guardian. Retrieved November 5, 2022, from

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