The Best city with the cleanest climate in the world

Every time I breathe the air around me collides with dust like fine particles of snow.

At the foot of this mountain which is basically in the middle of a desert in the North Pole Arctic air is cold but atmosphere is very clean. Very dry & frozen air turns moisture from our mouths & noses into tiny shiny ice particles.

I am standing just below Zeppelin Fell Peak a 556m high mountain in Norway on  Berger Hola Peninsula in Spitsbergen on the Svalbard Peninsula in Arctic Ocean.

While at the foot of same mountain there is a small area called New All sound where there is a small village with a population of 45 people in winter & 150 people in summer.

The city with the cleanest climate in the world

Zeppelin Observatory is located in a remote location far from major sources of pollution says Ove Herman's Son senior scientist at the Zeppelin Observatory &  Norwegian Institute for Air Research. It isa good place to study climate change.

Research center in New Olsen is an important part of an international effort to map human impacts on environment.

Hermanson explains that the measurements will help identify the baseline of pollution & calculate global trends over time.

Five days a week an employee of  Norwegian Polar Institute climbs to the observatory by cable car & performs maintenance taking air samples & changing instrument filters.

The remote and elevated Zeppelin Observatory is a hub that can absorb a small amount of local pollution generated in the city. For these reasons it's an excellent place to examine what happening in Earth atmosphere.

Observatory sensors detect greenhouse gases and chlorinated gases such as CFCs heavy metals in the air organophosphate pollutants such as pesticides & commonly associated with the combustion of fuel such as nitrogen oxides sulfur dioxide & particulate matter. Measure pollutants.

Data collected is then combined with measurements made by an international network of stations at other locations to create a global 'scenario of gases, aerosols and particles in the atmosphere which can be used to estimate pollution levels. It becomes the standard of measurement. Hermanson has worked at the Zeppelin Observatory for 2decades.

He explains that many things are tested in this observatory. Toxic substances in the environment are of interest because of their biological effects & environmental status of the Arctic.

Measurement of greenhouse gases & aerosols is particularly important in a global context due to their impact on climate change. But a zeppelin observatory can also provide early warnings about changes in the atmosphere.

Recently researchers have observed increased levels of micro plastics in ice samples in remote areas of the Arctic suggesting that they may have-been transported there by wind. For example methane levels in the air around zeppelins rose from around 2005 levels to unprecedented levels in 2019.

There is now growing concern that levels of methane emissions from human activities will threaten efforts to limit world global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius.

Neom The Line Mirror City 

It is the northernmost permanent settlement in the world located approximately 765 miles 1231 km from North Pole.

This place is an incredibly beautiful place in the middle of a mountain & probably one of the best places to breathe in the world.

It is a place far away from pollution in the Arctic where the air is 1 of the cleanest in the world.

Most of the inhabitants of this settlement are scientists who come here for research purposes. In 1989 a research facility Zeppelin Observatory was built on the side of the Zeppelin at an altitude of 472 meters to help researchers monitor atmospheric pollution.

Recently the Zeppelin Observatory has become an important site for measuring the levels of greenhouse gases that cause climate change.

But there are also signs that air quality in the region is changing 

Atmospheric winds occasionally bring air from Europe & North America into this part of Svalbard carrying pollution from those areas with them.

Researchers have seen increased levels of some pollutants & signs of new types of pollutants in the air which have scientists worried.

Ten days after the 2011 Fukushima nuclear power plant accident radioactive isotopes produced by  plant fission reactor were found in the atmosphere of a zeppelin. This showed that these radioactive particles traveled thousands of miles in just a few days.

For example as amount of carbon particles in the atmosphere increases this results in chemical reactions in the atmosphere that make these particles more active and the atmosphere more toxic. In the Kola Peninsula region of Russia atmospheric concentrations of various metals such as nickel copper zinc & cobalt are observed due to industrial activities.

They have also identified extremely high concentrations of past emissions particles which have arrived here from Europe and Asia as a result of climate change.

But it's not always bad news. They have also seen a reduction in levels of heavy metals such as lead & mercury, largely due to stricter & more effective enforcement of waste and industrial incineration laws.

Efforts to reduce the use of organophosphate pesticides  which can enter the air when sprayed on fields have also seen a gradual decrease in the amount of these chemicals found in the atmosphere around the Arctic.

More recently researchers have observed increased levels of micro plastics in ice samples from remote areas of the Arctic suggesting that they may have-been transported there by wind. This has led researchers in zeppelins to monitor the atmosphere and the ice that falls there for micro plates.

Very small microplastic particles can travel great distances through the air similar to other particles we already measure in zeppelins says Dorte Herzke, a senior researcher at the Norwegian Institute for Air Research. What is different is that they are completely man-made, consist of very durable polymers and contain a wide range of chemicals many of which are toxic. By reaching there they can potentially damage the fragile ecosystem.

From Svalbard airport Longyearbyen there are only two flights a week to the town on full body turboprops.

The town consists of about 30 cabin- like buildings named after major global urban centers. For example: Amsterdam, London, Mexico Italy to name a few. They also serve as a reminder of the need for diplomatic relations in a place away from the bustling crowds.

However other forms of connectivity are less immediately available  all mobile phones & Wi-Fi must be turned off. The town is a radio free zone in an effort to keep the airwaves in the area as quiet as possible & special permission is required for researchers who wish to operate any equipment that uses radio transmission.

The city with the cleanest climate in the world

Among those taking advantage of the clear skies and radio free environment is the Norwegian Mapping Authority, which has built a 20 meter radio observatory there to help monitor the Earth motions & gravitational field.

Violent storms often shake town cabins and during the night their occupants lose their heat from the storms. During the visit to the town most evenings there I wore all of my outer clothing expedition jacket trousers base layer & mid layer along with a blanket  even when inside the cabin. He was safe.

Extreme weather is a threat to all who live and work here. Temperatures often remain below freezing & the coldest ever recorded in winter was minus 37.2 Celsius. In March this year  during my own visit to New Allsund  the temperature reached a record high for the month at 5.5 Celsius. The previous record was 5.0 Celsius from 1976.

I was at the science station during  harshest time of the year the dark polar night when it is dark 24 hours a day for months.

Getting around meant using a head torch and electricity. A young Italian PhD student I met walked in a dark environment with only 2-3 meters of visibility facing strong winds and snow. so that it can change the filter on some devices.

But this darkness also offers spectacular views of the Northern Lights moving ghostly in the sky above the city.

There are more dan-gers to researchers out this time of year than  dark and the cold. Svalbard is the natural habitat of the polar bear and the bear has even been seen passing close to the settlement. For this reason community here has a rule that no one can close the door of a building in case a bear appears within the settlement & there is an urgent need for shelter.

You have to accept the reality of being around polar bears & work with it there's no other way says Christel Gesnen ¹ of the researchers who works at the Zeppelin Observatory for  Norwegian Polar Institute. . Bears like to follow the river and are often seen on the road between the settlement of New Allsund & the Zeblen Observatory. It often happens that we are at the observatory and a polar bear is passing by. Then we wait for the bear to come and then we simulate it leaving.

Neom The Line Mirror City 

After four thirty end of the workday the small community retreats indoors. Losing instant communication & mobile connectivity means relying on arrangements made the day before for any social contact.