During the first couple of weeks of October, I visited Longyearbyen in Svalbard, which is located at 78 degrees north latitude, well within the Arctic Circle. I gave a series of guest lectures at the University Centre in Svalbard (UNIS), which is the northernmost higher education/research institute in the world. The lectures covered: (1) atmospheric transport dynamics; (2) elementary chemical kinetics and photochemistry; (3) tropospheric oxidation chemistry; and (4) stratospheric ozone chemistry. On the final day, we tied it all together to discuss two important polar atmospheric chemistry phenomena – stratospheric ozone holes, and Arctic haze.
Don’t be freaked out by the rifle; it’s a Svalbard law that people walking outside the settlements – even the surrounding hills – bear arms to warn off polar bears.