This week’s Imaggeo on Mondays image is brought to you by Fabien Darrouzet, who visited the icy landscapes of Svalbard back in 2012. Whilst the aim of his trip was not to better understand the geology of the landscapes, his eyes were very much focused on goings on up, up in the sky, it didn’t stop him taking this still of the snow covered peaks.
This picture was taken in Svalbard (78° lat.) in June 2012. I was there for one week in order to observe the transit of the planet Venus in front of the Sun. I came here because at this time of the year, the Sun never sets, (midnight Sun), so it was possible to see Venus during most of the transit (for over six and a half hours!), and not only during its last minutes, as was the case for most parts of Europe.
During the day after the transit, I took a boat trip inside the fjords around Longyearbyen in order to discover the island and its local wildlife; I was interested in catching a glimpse of the elusive polar bears and hope to see seals too. We sailed in the Isfjorden, and in particular close to the southern border of a territory of Svalbard named Oscar II Land, where I took this picture from the deck of the boat. This area, and indeed all of Svalbard, is covered by snow most of the time, and just a few plants can germinate during July-August, when the average temperature is 5°C.
Svalbard is dominated by glaciers (60% of all the surface), which are important indicators of global warming and can reveal possible answers as to what the climate was like up to several hundred thousand years ago. The glaciers are studied and analysed by scientists in order to better observe and understand the consequences of the global warming on Earth.
By Fabien Darrouzet, Belgian Institute for Space Aeronomy
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