Polar bear cubs. Svalbard. The polar night still reigns on Svalbard, but soon the colors begin to change. From dark blue to violet and pink. At 78° North, the sun starts getting close to the horizon again in the beginning of February. As me and @melissa_schaefer are currently preparing for this winter’s field work, we are checking temperatures and ice conditions on a daily basis. It has been a very warm winter so far on Svalbard. Although the long term trend is crystal clear: the ice is melting, there are of course some variations from year to year, and we are still hoping for good conditions this winter. The Arctic has been warming twice as fast as anywhere else over the last 30 years. Polar bears are completely dependent on sea ice for life. It is the platform where they hunt for their primary food, ringed seals. During summer, the polar bears who become trapped on land eat nothing, or very little while waiting for the next winter and frozen ocean. With a longer ice free summer, polar bears are moving to land earlier in the season, with fat reserves that may not be enough to survive until the next winter.