Tuesday, August 30, 2011

A boat trip to the fjord

Most of the rapid changes in glaciers that we are currently observing are related to changes in the oceans. So it is increasingly necessary to make direct observations of ocean conditions in front of glaciers. But that's not always so easy:

The answer is to hire a small boat that can handle impact from ice
and a capable crew (skipper Hans and deck hand Peter):

We spent a week in the inner fjord measuring temperatures, salinities and currents in the ocean.
We also deployed some drifters that will float out with the water. They report their positions with measurements of the upper water column every half hour via Iridium satellites.
We spent the nights at a protected little bay, with beautiful sunsets (before the weather turned lousy), and reindeer and fishing nearby. Peter, the Greenlandic deck hand, is also an avid hunter and fisherman and provided us with fresh food.

Near our anchorage, one could still find the remains of foundations from Norse settlements. The Norse had lived in this area for several hundred years during the medieval optimum, and finally disappeared with only few traces left.

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