The fossil was originally found on Spitzbergen, the largest island of Svalbard, in 1962. Fifty years later it was rediscovered amongst uncatalogued material in the storage shelves of the University of Oslo’s Natural History Museum.
In the last few winters, the airport in Longyearbyen in Svalbard was often closed because of rain. One of the major issues climate researchers deal with is how precipitation changes as the temperatures are rising all over the Arctic.
Global climate change is expected to cause major alterations in the years to come to the arctic ecosystems on the Norwegian archipelago of Svalbard. These environmental changes will most likely be detected early through changes in the insect fauna.
Red List assessment has been conducted for five groups of species on Svalbard. Overall, 270 species of vascular plants, springtails, freshwater fish, birds and mammals were evaluated. Of these, 71 species were red listed, of which 47 are considered to be threatened.
Back when the Vikings ruled, blue mussels had a natural habitat in Svalbard. They disappeared when the climate cooled, but today blue mussels have re-established themselves at 78 degrees North. The Svalbard blue mussel is thus a clear and present climate indicator of a warming Arctic.
It is well known that polar bears accumulate alarmingly high concentrations of PCBs and other pollutants. It is now discovered that also Greenland sharks have contaminants in their bodies. The long-term effects remain unknown.
Norwegian researchers have found that five-year-olds who received little vitamin B12 as infants tend to have greater problems solving various language and numerical problems as well as understanding other children's emotions.