AWIPEV Arctic Research Base
N-9173 Ny-Ålesund
Svalbard
Norway
Station Manager:
Dominique Fleury
Roland Neuber

STATION NAME AND OWNER

AWIPEV ArcticDefinitions of the Arctic vary according to environmental, geographical, political, cultural and scientific perspectives. Some scientists define the Arctic as areas having a high latitude, long winters, short, cool summers,... More Research Base at Ny-Ålesund / Spitsbergen is operated by the German Alfred Wegener Institute (AWI) and the French Polar Institute Paul Emile Victor (IPEV) which run their research stations as the joint French-German Arctic Research Base. Buildings are owned and provided in Ny-Ålesund by the Norwegian company Kings Bay AS. This base includes the Koldewey Station, the Rabot Station, and the Jean Corbel Station buildings.

LOCATION

AWIPEV Arctic Research Base is located in the research village of Ny-Ålesund situated on the southern shore of Kongsfjorden on the island of Spitsbergen. The village hosts more than 10 national research stations which shares facilities run by the Kings Bay company. AWIPEV operates and runs a second research base Jean Corbel situated at 5 km southeast of Ny-Ålesund.

BIODIVERSITY AND NATURAL ENVIRONMENT

Spitsbergen belongs to one of the northernmost archipelagos in the Arctic. Ny-Ålesund on the west coast is an international center for various modern Arctic research activities. The village is one of the world’s northernmost human settlements and is surrounded by glaciers, moraines, rivers, mountains and a typical tundraA type of ecosystem in which tree growth is limited by low temperatures. The origin of the word is from from the Kildin Sami word tūndâr, meaning "uplands" or "treeless mountain tract". In the northern... More system. Most of the faunaThe animals that live in a particular region, habitat or time (such as geological period like the jurassic). For plants, we use the term flora, and to collectively refer to all... More living in Svalbard is represented in the area with birds (auks, kittiwakes, terns, barnacle geese, …), reindeer, foxes, polar bears and often visible in the fjord seals and sometimes belugas and walrus.

HISTORY AND FACILITIES

Ny-Ålesund was a mining town for commercial exploitation of the coal deposits in the Kongsforden area from 1916 to the closure of the mines in 1963. After the mining activity Ny-Ålesund developed into a research village providing laboratories, facilities and research infrastructures to scientists from many nations interested in polar research. The French research base Jean Corbel was established in 1963 at 5 km from Ny-Ålesund village and has a capacity of 8 persons in summer. In 2003, AWI and IPEV decided to jointly operate their three Koldewey, Rabot and Corbel stations as the AWIPEV Arctic Research Base. The station provides logistical resources: boats, snowmobiles, vehicles, storage facilities (cold and warm, cooling facilities), field equipment, workshop and office facilities and scientific resources: laboratories, scientific equipment and sampling tools.

GENERAL RESEARCH AND DATABASES

Research covers a large field of scientific disciplines. Both, long term and short term projects of atmospheric studies, marine and terrestrial biology, or cryosphere studies, are carried out at the AWIPEV Research Base. Many different measurements as well as field expeditions are possible at the base. Prominent examples are atmospheric long term measurements, scientific diving, glacier expeditions, seabirds as indicators of global changes in the marine ecosystems, installation of measuring systems in the permafrost and in the fjord, and launches of research balloons. An overview on research programmes at AWIPEV and accessible data can be found at http://www.awipev.eu/science/ and the observatories are listed at http://www.awipev.eu/awipev-observatories/.

HUMAN DIMENSION

There is no permanent population living and activity is mainly linked to science. The local community is mostly a mixture of staff from the Kings Bay Company and scientists of various nationalities. Visits of tourists coming mostly onboard cruise ships for just a few hours are relatively frequent in summer. The closest town is Longyearbyen (population c. 2000). During the summer season the Ny-Ålesund population reaches 150-180 persons down to the 30-40 permanent staff during the winter months. 3 persons constitutes the AWIPEV Arctic Research station permanent staff.

ACCESS

A regular air shuttle service organized by Kings Bay AS with a small plane (14 passengers) connects Longyearbyen with Ny-Ålesund. The flight takes c. 25-30 minutes. Access is also possible by ship but there are no regular ship transport to Ny-Ålesund. Transport of freight is possible with a monthly freight ship excepted during winter. Fjord shores and islands are easily accessible using small boats and local transportation is possible by cars, snowmobiles or bicycles.

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