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This Norwegian Area Is Being Remade by Climate Change

Outside: “Tiny Svalbard, Norway, is the newest front line in the war against climate change. The archipelago, located just east of Greenland, has experienced record high temperatures in both the summer and winter in recent years. According to The New York Times, the warming is having a dramatic impact on the region’s economy—specifically its reliance on tourism and winter sports. March is typically that area’s coldest month, but this year temperatures reached 42 degrees Fahrenheit, a full 30 degrees higher than average. Frozen rivers used for snowmobile and dogsled tours melted almost overnight, and stranded tourists had to be rescued by helicopter. Skiers had to navigate water up to their waists. Further, the snow melts two weeks earlier than it did 30 years ago. One outdoor guide now believes that Svalbard’s once thriving outdoor industry is unsustainable: “That’s a hard way to run a business. People will get more concerned about the future,” Erlend Kjorsvik of Backyard Svalbard said. “These kinds of sports will be even more expensive. Maybe it won’t be such a nice thing to do anymore.” The warmer weather has impacted many other aspects of living in the region. Melting permafrost cracks the foundations of homes, and shifting wind patterns create deadly avalanches. In 2017, an early thaw flooded the Global Seed Vault, where a million seed samples from around the world are stored.”

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