Sunday, August 28, 2011

Back in Nuuk

We're back in Nuuk, Greenland. This is the key field work for our proposal, in which we try to better understand ice-ocean interaction. The planned work involves detailed observations of conditions in the fjord and of the variation and details of glacier flow near its front. We have two teams, one camped at the glacier front and one in a small boat.
Getting out was delayed a bit. Nuuk has been having problems with low fog. Even when we finally left, it was through a small hole in the fog. Just a little distance away from town, the weather turned nice.

The first task was to fly back to GPS stations that are far up on the ice and that are designed to run all year. At this particular station, a little over 1.5 m of ice had melted. The box with batteries and instruments slid around a bit, but everything was working fine. We don't always find things in such nice condition!The main work is to observe conditions at the glacier front, however. One important observation is the release of fresh water from the base of the glacier. Because it is fresh, it raises right to the top and creates a surface plume at the glacier front. The upwelling water brings lots of stuff with it, and when we fly over, we can sometimes see hundreds of birds feeding there.

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