Future of Svalbard

 Future of Svalbard
Recently, a lot of focus has been drawn towards glaciers, and how they may change due to global warming, and in turn, affect the rest of the world around it. Svalbard is one such place with many glaciers, in fact it is comprised of about two-thirds glacial landmass. With such a high amount of land covered by glaciers, and with the ever-increasing risk of global warming, how would Svalbard change with the combination of these and many other factors?
Although the rest of the world is worried that with global rising, temperatures will continue to get hotter, Svalbard is likely to suffer exactly the opposite fate. Initially, it will become warmer, but this heat will gradually melt the many ice caps and glaciers found around Svalbard. The freshwater released from these huge sources would slowly change the mindscape immediately around it, with the effects it has on the environment spreading out to affect more and more areas.
Firstly, the landscape around would be dramatically eroded. Whereas a glacier pushes out of the way objects in its path, and erodes the surrounding area through a combination of ablation, plucking and freeze-thaw, the glacier itself commonly hides the features it creates, but when the glacier melts, features such as cirques, horns, arêtes, hanging valleys and waterfalls can be seen. Also, the melt water would itself cut a small v-shape in the base of the U-shaped valley created by the glacier. The stones in the river, and deposition would cause this. Lateral and terminal moraines would also be created after the glacier deposits some of the rocks and dirt that it will have picked up as it moves.

The freshwater from the glaciers would run eventually to the sea, causing sea levels to rise, and also reducing the levels of salt found in the sea. This is in fact disastrous for thermohaline circulation, which carries warm currents to Svalbard from The Gulf Stream, and takes cold water back around to e warmed again. The cold water travels back along the surface of the ocean bed around America, because it has sunk near Svalbard. It sinks due to the levels of salt here. The addition of salt makes the water heavy, dropping to the bottom. When the added glacier water reduces the salt levels, it would, in effect stop thermohaline circulation completely. This would mean that, eventually, warm places would get even warmer, without the cooling sea water, and Svalbard would get even colder, without Gulf Stream water warming the East side of the islands. Since 1960, the average retreat of the Bloomstrandbreen glacier, in Svalbard, has been about 35 metres per year, and even higher in the last decade.

Should, as the mapped prediction above shows, Svalbard get colder, then there would be many affects on the land and the sea around it. On land, conditions would get colder. Permafrost may become harder, and so more difficult to build over, and suspended water and electricity pipes may indeed be too cold above the ground as well, causing major infrastructure problems. However, the most significant difficulty faced would be the freezing over of the sea. Ports would be no longer useable, either leisure, or business boating trips would be made incredibly difficult, and tourism would majorly decline due to increased difficulties in ways of reaching Svalbard.

The new colder climate would almost certainly be bad news for the people of Svalbard, and its economy. Mining (Svalbard?s main industry) could be made more difficult by the colder conditions, tourism would decline, with more people not being used to the cold, A medical programme may be set up to make sure inhabitants can survive in the freezing temperatures, and more goods would need to be imported, in less possible ways. Due to the frozen sea, whaling and fishing would be made harder, so the wildlife and ocean life, would certainly benefit, in this way, from the change global warming makes to Svalbard.

Future of Svalbard 8.4 of 10 on the basis of 1172 Review.