Ny-Ålesund (78°55′ N, 11°56′ E) in the Norwegian Archipelago of Spitzbergen (Svalbard)
Station Manager:
Luigi D'Acqui
TA/RA contacts:
1

Shortlist from Station Catalogue over facilities and science disciplines.

Dirigibile_Table_2

STATION NAME AND OWNER

CNR 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 Station “Dirigibile Italia” is the Italian scientific station in Svalbard. It is funded and managed by the National Research Council of Italy (CNR).

LOCATION

The Italian Arctic Station Dirigibile Italia is a multidisciplinary research facility located in Ny-Ålesund (78°55′ N, 11°56′ E) in the Norwegian Archipelago of  Spitzbergen (Svalbard). The station is managed by the National Research Council of Italy (CNR) and the activities are coordinated by the Polar Support Unit of the CNR Department of Earth and Environment: POLARNET. The station was opened in 1997 and supports interdisciplinary research. The station was named Dirigibile Italia in honour of Umberto Nobile’s airship expedition of 1928.

The station is located in Ny-Ålesund, on the shores of Kongsfjorden, on the west coast of Spitzbergen, the largest island of the Svalbard archipelago. Ny-Ålesund was a mining village until 1963. During the 1990’s it transformed into a multidisciplinary science settlement, and today stations from 10 different nations host researchers from up to 20 different countries. The area around the village is geographically diverse, including the fjord with several islands, a plateau, alluvial plains, mountains with large glaciers and extensive moraine systems, glacial rivers, coastal lagoons, and a small lake. The area further includes ornithological reserves and a nature reserve with regulated access.

BIODIVERSITY AND NATURAL ENVIRONMENT

Ny-Ålesund enjoys the mildest climateThe average weather we would expect over a long period of time (seasons, years, decades). Climate varies from place-to-place across the Earth. Climate is determined by long-term (over at least... More at this latitude due to a distant branch of the Gulf Stream bordering the west coast of Spitzbergen. 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 is dominated by a large variety of birds, including arctic terns, auks, kittiwakes, gulls, barnacle geese, northern fulmars, Svalbard ptarmigans, and Arctic skuas. Mammals include Svalbard reindeer, arctic foxes, and a sporadic presence of polar bears, also seals and less frequently whales, are spotted in the fjord. The permafrostPermafrost is frozen ground that remains at or below zero degrees Celsius (32 degrees Fahrenheit) for two or more years. It forms in regions where the mean annual temperature is... More is continuous and 75-450 m thick, and the active layerThe layer of ground above permafrost that is subject to annual thawing and freezing.... More thickness ranges between 0.3 and 3.8 m. The whole area lies within the Dryas octopetala zone of the high-arctic fell-field vegetation.

HISTORY AND FACILITIES

The Station was established in 1997. It provides accommodation for seven persons in single and double rooms. Also, laboratories with basic equipment are available at the station. A 32 m high ‘Admundsen-Nobile Climate ChangeAccording to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, climate change is change in the climate of the whole Earth or a region of the Earth that is believed... More Tower’ belongs to the station, and is equipped with instruments investigating energy budget and flux exchanges at the atmosphereland interface. In addition, the ‘Gruvebadet Laboratory’ for sampling aerial pollutants and particles is part of the station’s facilities. The station has a membership in the Ny-Ålesund Marine Laboratory consortium, an experimental laboratory for research in marine ecologyThe study of living organisms in their environment, including where they are found and how they interact with their physical environment and with each other, for example through food webs.... More, physiology, and biochemistry.

GENERAL RESEARCH AND DATABASES

Research programmes currently developed at the station deals with microbial ecology and evolution; biogeochemistryThe study of the cycling of chemicals between organisms and the surface environment of the Earth. The Earth's surface environment is generally divided into four: the atmosphere (the gases around... More and energy fluxes; vegetation and permafrost studies; oceanography, marine biomarkers; atmosphere, aerosols, gases and clouds; remote sensing of the environment; sun-earth relations and space weather; human biologyThe study of life and living organisms (from the Greek word 'bios' meaning life).... More and medicine.

HUMAN DIMENSION

11 permanent stations are established in Ny-Ålesund by 10 different countries and the entire settlement is owned and operated by the Norwegian State owned company King’s Bay AS. Researchers from many countries regularly come to Ny-Ålesund to work. King’s Bay AS provides and manages all necessary infrastructures and services in the community including meals, maintenance of buildings and roads, post office, local shop, airport, and harbour. Research is coordinated by the Ny-Ålesund Science Managers Committee (NySMAC) and the Svalbard Science Forum (SSF).

ACCESS

Regular flights between Ny-Ålesund and Longyearbyen take place four times per week in summer and twice per week in winter. There is an international airport in Longyearbyen with scheduled connections to mainland Norway. Ny-Ålesund can be reached also by boat. Sailing in the fjord is possible for people at the station through agreements with the Sverdrup Station of the Norwegian Polar Institute and with King’s Bay AS. In winter and spring snowmobiles are available for field trips. In summer, hiking is the only mean of transport in the field outside the village.

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