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ARCTIC

Norway uni to offer dog sled course

The Arctic University of Norway is to offer Europe's first ever university course in dog sledding, starting from the winter of next year.

Norway uni to offer dog sled course
Dog sledding in Norway - Ashfay
The course will cover the "historical, sociological and psychological perspectives of dog sledding", the university said on its website.  It will also train students in practical dog sledding skills, such as mushing techniques and dog hitching systems.  Teaching will take place at the university's campus in Alta, the most northerly city in the world.
 
"We want to strengthen dog sledding as a part of our educational programme, because we want to reflect our regional and national character,” said Rune Waaler, the associate professor developing the programme.  “And if you’re going to have dog sledding as a subject, it is clear that Alta is the place to do it." 
 
The 10-credit course will be part of the university's three-year programme in arctic outdoor recreation, but will also be available as a stand-alone course for students of other disciplines.  
 
The course will include two weeks of hand-on experience, with all students taking part in the Finnmarksløpet, an annual dog-sled race around Alta.
 
Participants will be graded on the basis of one paper and one oral exam. 
 
Svanhild Pedersen who organises the Finnmarksløpet race, praised the university's "innovative approach". 
 
“It’s awesome, it really supports this sport. It helps to raise the status of dog sledding as a sport, but also as a type of outdoor activity," she said in a statement to the university.
 

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SVALBARD

Global warming: Norway’s Svalbard records its highest-ever temperature

Norway's Arctic archipelago Svalbard on Saturday recorded its highest-ever temperature, the country's meteorological institute reported.

Global warming: Norway's Svalbard records its highest-ever temperature
Photo by Thomas Lipke on Unsplash

According to scientific study, global warming in the Arctic is happening twice as fast as for the rest of the planet.

For the second day in a row, the archipelago registered 21.2 degrees Celsius (70.2 Fahrenheit) in the afternoon, just under the 21.3 degrees recorded in 1979, meteorologist Kristen Gislefoss told AFP.

Later in the afternoon however, at around 6:00 pm local time, it recorded 21.7 degrees, setting a new all-time record.

The island group, dominated by Spitzbergen the only inhabited isle in the northern Norway archipelago, sits 1,000 kilometres (620 miles) from the North Pole.

The relative heatwave, expected to last until Monday, is a huge spike of normal temperatures in July, the hottest month in the Arctic, 

The Svalbard islands would normally expect to be seeing temperatures of 5-8 degrees Celsius at this time of year.

The region has seen temperatures five degrees above normal since January, peaking at 38 degrees in Siberia in mid-July, just beyond the Arctic Circle.

Photo by Vince Gx on Unsplash

According to a recent report “The Svalbard climate in 2100,” the average temperatures for the archipelago between 2070 and 2100 will rise by 7-10 degrees, due to the levels of greenhouse gas emissions.

Changes are already visible. From 1971 to 2017 between three and five degrees of warming have been observed, with the biggest rises in the winter, according to the report.

Svalbard, known for its polar bear population, houses both a coal mine, digging out the most global warming of all energy sources, and a “doomsday' seed vault which has since 2008 collected stocks of the world's agricultural bounty in case of global catastrophe

The vault required 20 million euros ($23.3 million) worth of work after the infiltration of water due to thawing permafrost in 2016.

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