Southeastern Spitsbergen landscape-seascape and biodiversity dynamics
under current climate warming


The maps of Spitsbergen was elaborated based on map from Norwegian Polar Institute (2014), updated on glaciers extensions (1900, 1936, 2005, 2016) and coastline (2016).

Kartdata Svalbard 1:100 000 (S100 Kartdata). Norwegian Polar Institute


The main project's objective is to investigate and show the coastal landscape and biodiversity changes appeared due to glacial recession under current climate warmnig in the study area especially since 2005 (our previous expedtition to southeastern Spitsbergen). These changes lead to a quick transformation of the Sørkapp Land peninsula into an island due to declining the glacial isthmus between Sørkapp Land and the rest of Spitsbergen. This declining is just in course. The isthmus is being narrowed on average 270 m per year. Two isthmus' glaciers are just melting and will melt, given the current thermic conditions, by 2030-2035 or earlier. Disappearance of this huge ice mass will transform the landscape and ecosystem dramatically.


Hence, it is necessary to carry out the following field investigations there:
– topographical-landscape mapping (1:25.000) of the study area spatial diversity and changes in its environment and landscape
– identification of plant and animal species, and their spatial distribution
– meteorological observations
– analysis of the isthmus' dynamics on the basis of the fields results, maps, satellite images, close-range photogrammetry, GPS measurements, etc.

Apart from the isthmus, the adjacent southeastern Spitsbergen coast will be investigated in the same way.

Elaboration of the aforementioned field investigations, connected with analysis of satellite images and air photos, will lead to final project results, including the prognosis of the origin of a new strait and island, and environmental consequences of this transformation.

The project benefits from the support of the Prince Albert II of Monaco Foundation

This document was produced with the financial assistance of the Prince Albert II of Monaco Foundation. The contents of this document are the sole responsibility of Jagiellonian University in Krakow and can under no circumstances be regarded as reflecting the position of the Prince Albert II of Monaco Foundation

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