The Svalbard Archipelago is located only 1000 km away from the North Pole at an average latitude of 79°N. Its climate is strongly influenced by the Gulf Stream which touches its western coasts and mitigates the weather. This kind of climatic environment has allowed the presence of permanent human settlements. The Svalbard Islands are also easily accessible via regular weekly flights and by boat all through the year allowing the presence of scientific infrastructures working into several research fields. From the 60s the former mining village of Ny-Ålesund, located in the North of the Archipelago at nearly 80°N of latitude, has become an important research centre for the study of the Arctic environment and its components (atmosphere, hydrosphere, cryosphere, biosphere), where a large international cooperation enhances a more comprehensive study of the complex relations among physic, chemical and biological phenomena.
At the moment 10 countries, including Italy, have research stations in Ny-Ålesund and carry out projects and continuous monitoring through measurements campaigns taking place from April to September. The scientific activity in Ny-Ålesund is coordinated by the NySMAC (NyÅlesund Science Manager Committee), a scientific and technical committee made up of the station managers of each country working in Ny-Ålesund. Italy chaired the Committee for two mandates, from 2001 to 2005.