e-Learning portal for Arctic Biology

Field guide – prototype




Explore Svalbard phenology - try out the interactive wheel


A new year has started in Svalbard, still the sun is nowhere to be seen and the days are getting colder and colder.

Snow is starting to accumulate in the valley now, the above image was taken on the 30th of January 2020 – as the camera is powered by a solar panel this was the first photo it managed to capture that year. 


After 79 days of polar night, the sun has now returned to, Longyearbyen. And after the 8th of February, the entire archipelago will see the sun rise again. 

The above image was taken on the 15th of February 2020 in Bjørndalen. Still parts of the ground is exposed to the elements. The protection snow offers to plants is important, and these parts of exposure will usually be void of vegetation. 


March intro text

March is the time when Arctic foxes mate. The one to the right, lives in the entrance of Bjørndalen.


April info text


The spring bloom is a year occurrence of a strong increase
in phytoplankton abundance, and in Isfjorden this peaks during May. 

Chlorophyll a and many other variables are being tracked in Isfjorden Adventfjorden Time Series (IsA)


This is the month when the frozen Arctic wakes up and becomes alive once more. The plant, Saxifraga oppositifolia is quick to start flowering and can be seen with flowers at the start of June. 

The growth season is here. This photo, from the middle of June in Bjørndalen shows that the valley still contains a bit of snow cover. But some plants are quick to produce flowers once the snow is melted away. Svalbards pollinators will also awaken, who are for the most parts midges (small two winged insects). 

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Figure showing the onset (start) of the growing season central part of Svalbard. Taken from Karlsen et al. 2014.


July info text

Summer has really arrived now. This area in Bjørndalen often contains a lot of reindeer and geese foraging for food. Particularly the barnacle goose


Data from Longyearbyen  airport (LYR) puts August as the wettest month, with almost 60mm of precipitation in August of 2013. 

The average yearly total for the last 10 years is 220mm of precipitation in LYR. This is not a lot. Areas with less than 250mm are classified as deserts. 


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Metrological data obtained from Norsk Klimaservicesenter. Figures created using ApexCharts. Bjørndalen time-lapse images provided by Mads Forchhammer.