Sunday, July 30, 2017

Back in Greenland

I had an opportunity to join a team of scientists from the UK's Scott Polar Institute at Store Glacier in western Greenland. This is one of the big outlet glaciers of Greenland,  but contrary to many other glaciers in the area, the front has been relatively stable over the past decades. I went there to set up a terrestrial radar interferometer, which is an amazing instrument that can measure ice velocity at very high resolution (every 3 minutes in this case).

Travel to the field site was interesting because Air Greenland had many weather delays, so I arrived in the town of Uummannaq with a 3-day delay. To get to Uummannaq is complicated: From Kangerlussuaq you travel via Ilulissat and then Qaarsut on small airplanes (Dash 8) and then with a helicopter for the last bit, because there is not really sufficient space for an air strip at Uummannaq. I spent two unplanned nights in Ilulissat, which was nice, since I had spent a lot of time there, but not in the past 5 years. It is amazing to see how many tourists there are now. 

I ended up spending only four days in the field to set up the instrument and train the team how to use it. Below are some impressions from the trip.

Ilullissat: The city of ice bergs

The ice fjord outside Ilulissat

A snow fall in July, which is very unusual, contributed to several days of delay

Icebergs in the midnight sun

Uummannaq Island with the town (on the left flatter side)
The Uummannaq harbor with the big rock behind it
An interesting iceberg near the Uummannaq harbor

The terrestrial radar interferometer set up by Store Glacier

The Ilulissat icefjord on the way home
Nice evening light near Kangerlussuaq