On the 6th of June, Slovakian president, Andrej Kiska, travelled to Bergen. The media cluster at Media City Bergen started the day off, before he, along with Haakon, Crown Prince of Norway, came to the Bjerknes Centre for Climate Research.
The Slovakians requested a visit to the centre during the Bergen part of the tour.
– We were visited in 2014 by a delegation of politicians from Hungary and Slovakia. We're happy to have them back, says Tore Furevik, Bjerknes Centre director.
From stalagmites in Borneo, to the future of winter
At the Bjerknes Centre, the attendees were presented a spectrum of research projects – Nele Meckler, Asgeir Sorteberg and Hanna Lee held presentations of past, present and future climate problems.
Nele Meckler showed how tropical regions were affected by ice ages, and how they've collected tropical climate data complimenting measurements of polar ice cores.
– The data shows that the temperature in Borneo sank with 4-5°C while antarctic regions sank by 12°C, said Meckler.
Asgeir Sorteberg, Professor of meteorology, showed how climate models predict a loss of the long winters which ski resorts and ski traditions in both Norway and Slovakia are built on. A global increase in temperatures of 1°C would decrease the snow season in three selected ski resorts in Norway – Geilo, Kvamskogen near Bergen and Sognsvann near Oslo – from 3-4 months, down to 2-3 months.
– This is the best case scenario, said Sorteberg, explaining that an increase of 3°C would reduce the season to 2-3 weeks, which – even with the occasional colder winter – would stop the ski tourism from being sustainable.
Tree planting as a mean of carbon storage?
Hanna Lee talked about tree planting and carbon storage as a mean of reducing global warming, and drew paralels from Norwegian and Slovakian forests, to the deforestation of South Korea.
– When we change eco systems, we also change the soil, and soil holds five times as much plant carbon as vegetation on a global scale, said Lee, stating that Norwegian planting of trees in what today is grasslands and heathlands won't give as much benefit as other places.
The three researchers and director joined the presidential entourage to Austevoll, while the Crown Prince went on to present Cass Sunstein with his Holberg Prize later the same day.