‘Doomsday vault’ town warming faster than any other on Earth – CNN

By Sarah Lazarus, CNN  Updated 0550 GMT (1350 HKT) March 27, 2019

(CNN) In 2014, Mark Sabbatini noticed cracks in his apartment walls. Then a mysterious bulge appeared in his bedroom and the apartment block’s communal staircase became crooked. “Doors and windows weren’t shutting properly,” he says.

Sabbatini, the editor of a local newspaper, was living in Longyearbyen, the world’s northernmost town located just 800 miles from the North Pole, which is also the capital of a cluster of Norwegian islands called Svalbard.

A landscape of jagged mountains, fjords and glaciers, Svalbard — which experiences four months of darkness in winter, and four months of daylight in summer — is built on permanently frozen ground called permafrost.

For years, permafrost provided a base as hard as concrete. But now it’s melting — and that’s proving to be a problem.
Sabbatini says his building was damaged because it started sinking into the softening ground.

Inger Hanssen-Bauer, senior researcher at the Norwegian Meteorological Institute and editor of a new report about Svalbard, says the climate in Longyearbyen is probably warming faster than in any other town on Earth. That’s because of accelerated Arctic warming.

…(read more).


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