Svalbard 2013

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Hoy
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Joined: 2009-12-15
Svalbard 2013

We were a group of 30 plant enthusiasts who went to Svalbard for a week in July to look for plats in the arctic archipelago. It is not more than about 200 different vascular plants there on the 40% not covered permanently in snow and ice.

We stayed in Longyearbyen but went for new places every day. Outside the town we had to bring armed guards for protection in case of polar bear attack. 3 days we rented boats to reach places farther away - it is no roads except in Longyearbyen.

Although Longyearbyen is the driest place in Norway with less precipitation than 190 mm/year (about 7.5 inches) it is also cold and the warmest month, July, has a mean temperature of +7oC (44F). The weather is usually overcast. We were lucky and had 4 days with sun - and at this time of the year it is midnight sun so you can be out walking all night if you like. 

Seen from the air the day we arrived - in full sun!

 

 

The highest mountain is 1717m/5633ft. Many are flat-topped as most of the bedrock is old sediments.

 

 

The economy was once founded on whaling and coal mining but now tourism and education/research are the most important.

 

 

Isfjorden - very long and very broad!

 

Hoy
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Joined: 2009-12-15

Unfortunately we didn't see any polar bears but a lot of birds and reindeer.

Svalbard reindeer                                     Arctic skua

 

 

Some plants: Arenaria pseudofrigida      Braya glabella purpurascens

 

 

Cochlearia groenlandica                           Draba oxycarpa

 

 

Erigeron humilis x2

Erigeron humilis 

 

Trond
Rogaland, Norway - with cool, often rainy summers  (29C max) and mild, often rainy winters (180 cm/year)!

Hoy
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Villa Fredheim in Sassendalen, one of the places where a trapper lived with his family for 38 years. He was more than 70 when he left.

Old and "new" cabin.                                 Sassendalen

 

 

Mertensia maritima tenella x2

 

 

Papaver dahlianum is very variable. Here are two forms.

 

 

Pedicularis dasyantha                                Ranunculus nivalis

 

 

More later . . . .

Trond
Rogaland, Norway - with cool, often rainy summers  (29C max) and mild, often rainy winters (180 cm/year)!

Hoy
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Polemonium boreale                                 Salix polaris

 

 

Some Saxifraga cespitosa. This is a very variable species.

 

 

 

 

Trond
Rogaland, Norway - with cool, often rainy summers  (29C max) and mild, often rainy winters (180 cm/year)!

Hoy
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Kapp Thordsen                                        Diabasodden

 

 

Sassendalen x2

 

 

Sveabreen. The boat is about 500m from the front, which is about 50-60m high.

 

 

Saxifraga oppositifolia, usually finished at this time. The colour lies in the last picture, it is actually almost white.

 

 

 

Trond
Rogaland, Norway - with cool, often rainy summers  (29C max) and mild, often rainy winters (180 cm/year)!

Hoy
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Joined: 2009-12-15

 

Cassiope tetragona ssp tetragona makes huge mats.

 

 

The 12 or so species of Draba on Svalbard look rather similar except for some details but are genetically very different. This is Draba subcapitata (left) and D arctica ssp arctica (right).

 

 

Potentilla arenosa ssp chamissonis         Potentilla pulchella ssp pulchella

 

 

Unknown Potentilla

 

Trond
Rogaland, Norway - with cool, often rainy summers  (29C max) and mild, often rainy winters (180 cm/year)!

Hoy
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Joined: 2009-12-15

We rented boats 3 days. Usually the sea was calm early in the morning. Fortunately we didn't experience bad weather at all.

Tempelfjellet.

 

 

One of the showiest Saxes was Saxifraga hirculus

 

 

Another yellow-flowered one: Saxifraga platysepala

 

 

Stellaria humifusa

 

Trond
Rogaland, Norway - with cool, often rainy summers  (29C max) and mild, often rainy winters (180 cm/year)!

Hoy
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Title: Member
Joined: 2009-12-15

Longyearbyen seen from Longyeardalen. We had to cross a meltwater river.

 

 

Silene acaulis - flowers firstly on the southern side. Silene involucrata ssp furcata

 

 

Silene uralensis ssp arctica x2

 

 

Taraxacum arcticum x2

 

Trond
Rogaland, Norway - with cool, often rainy summers  (29C max) and mild, often rainy winters (180 cm/year)!

Lori S.
Title: Moderator
Joined: 2009-10-27

Absolutely wonderful sights and plants you are showing us, Trond!  I have to mention the quality of your photos - they are really excellent, so crisp and sharp.  There are so many fantastic plants, it's hard to single any one out for comment!

Lori
Calgary, Alberta, Canada - Zone 3
-30 C to +30 C (rarely!); elevation ~1130m; annual precipitation ~40 cm

RickR
Title: Moderator
Joined: 2009-09-21

Wow, Trond!  Every pic is so interesting!  Ya know, we are benefiting from your good weather there as well, or perhaps even more so:  really excellent quality photos.

 

The mountains, the ice flow "sculpture", the black draba pods, the silenes, the teraxacum, the saxes, Oh my!

Rick Rodich    zone 4a.    Annual precipitation ~24 inches
near Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA

Hoy
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Title: Member
Joined: 2009-12-15

Lori S. wrote:

Absolutely wonderful sights and plants you are showing us, Trond!  I have to mention the quality of your photos - they are really excellent, so crisp and sharp.  There are so many fantastic plants, it's hard to single any one out for comment!

Thank you Lori!

I have to take a lot of pictures to get some useful - the camera and I don't cooperate always! Especially the autofocus don't see what I do!

Trond
Rogaland, Norway - with cool, often rainy summers  (29C max) and mild, often rainy winters (180 cm/year)!

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