Bergen is the second largest city in Norway, with about 285 000 inhabitants, and is located on the west coast.
Bergen is centered on "the city fjord" and surrounded by seven mountains, with many suburbs on surrounding islands. Bergen’s port is the busiest in Norway in freight and passengers, making it also a centre for aquaculture, fishing, shipping, off-shore petroleum and deep-sea technology. Bergen also hosts several educational institutions, with a strong legacy in meteorology and climate research embodied in the world-recognised Bjerknes centre. The city has a mild climate and is the rainiest city in Europe, meaning it has a long tradition in surface water management. But Bergen’s water systems are at full capacity so it is vulnerable to flooding and related discharges of sewage into the fjord, especially with sea-level rise.
The rainy climate around Bergen has given rise to diverse seasonal representations, from traditional knowledge like "primstavs" to local knowledge in groups like Friends of the Nesttun Water Course and from the scientists of the city’s various research institutions. Across these groups we see recognition of changing seasons. The Norwegian Climate Service Centre (link in Norwegian) asserts that autumn and winter will likely see increased rainfall, and summer increased high intensity rainfall events, with these trends reflected in media debates too. The Norwegian Citizen Panel found individuals also voiced season change: "Just look at this winter 2013/2014; how mild, stormy and little snow we have seen in the West and North."
The changing timing and conditions of the seasons is affecting the decisions made in institutions. For example, early autumn rains mean nearby farmers cannot move heavy machinery onto waterlogged land to harvest their summer crop, and are forced to watch it rot. This may mean the timing and organisation of farming practices, and the machinery used for harvesting, need to be reconsidered.
In Bergen, the CALENDARS team explores seasonal calendars with groups in a broad spectrum of institutionalized fields of activity, including:
- A primary and a secondary school
- A café
- An artist atelier
- The arboretum
- The community of local beekeepers
- The Climate Futures Scientific Research Centre developing seasonal forecasts
These groups are organized according to quite different seasonal rhythms and patterns, which are undergoing constant change according to a number of influences. Also, where these calendars overlap or synchronise or clash provides interesting avenues for changing calendars. Collaborators in these institutions have helped steer the research in directions interesting for them, and helped define research outputs. When the project held a scientific meeting and symposium in May 2022, individuals from these groups were invited to attend.
In tune with seasonality
It's noisy in the gardens, and the melody of birds, chainsaws, ice and robots keeps harmony with the seasonal rhythms of the gardens.
Veins of blue infrastructure
On my first day in the university gardens, the head gardener broke down the work by colour: "Green" work with plants, "grey" work with landscaping and "blue" work on water and drainage.
Making a primstav of today
As part of our local communication and engagement work, we developed a creative exercise centered on the traditional Norwegian calendar stick, the primstav.
Making a primstav of today - part II
This spring we ran the primstav exercise again, this time with a local 7th grade school class we have collaborated with and followed for one school year
Telling times in the Arboretet
A corollary of my seasonal study is an interest in the diverse markers of time embedded in the gardens.
Making the gardens 'green'
I'm interested in seasonality at Arboretet and investigating whether there are any changes to how the gardeners and scientists are relating to seasons.
Spring is wild garlic, but is anyone eating it?
People commonly associate foods with seasons, particularly when it comes to foraging for wild plants like mushrooms or berries.