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A warm summer on Svalbard

One year ago we started the monitoring of a glacier lake on Svalbard. When we arrived at the end of May everything was still snow covered and nice and chilly. The lake itself didn’t form before June, as a matter of fact it started to form pretty much exactly one year ago on the 6th of June with the onset of the snow melt. We monitored it for almost two months waiting for it to finally rapidly drain out through the glacier and witnessed a lot of crazy stuff along the way, with icebergs shooting up within minutes out of seemingly nowhere. In the end we had to leave before the drainage happened and as I found out later on, we missed it by a mere three hours. And what a massive drainage it must have been given that the entire area looked like a massive war scene afterwards with large parts of glacier and moraine completely destroyed. Well, that was one year ago. Looking at satellite images and weather station records things seem to go fast this year. The lake was already full in May and what we called a little monster in July last year, has already been back for more than a week. The satellite image from today shows a quite full lake with floating ice on top, water depths at this stage probably already exceeding 50 m. Fitting to May temperatures on Svalbard already reaching above the highest temperatures from the entire last year. I wonder how early the lake will drain this year and how much of the remaining glacier area will be destroyed this time. Looks like a crazy summer ahead.