Clear blue sky and plenty of snow – we enjoy it every day! Blog 15 from NE Greenland.
First of all thank you to Mikkel, Niels, Mads, Kirsten, Stefan, Daniel, Gernot, Martin, Christian, Morten and Michele for making the first three weeks (Arctic Science Partnership Spring Campaign 2012) the perfect introduction to this impressive landscape surrounding Zackenberg Research Station and for sharing their experiences from research and their knowledge of the area including information on the present wild life and it’s behaviour and droppings, lake ice containing trapped methane bobbles, glacier ice and seismic data, fully equipped mobile climate mast and a thorough introduction to the GeoBasis monitoring program and to the wonderful discipline of digging a good snow pit . The consumption of chocolate, fuel and water on Zackenberg has drastically decreased since your departure – which Jørgen is fully pleased with.
It is my impression that everybody had a successful field campaign and some even had time to perform extra tasks due to the exceptionally good weather conditions. I wish you all good luck with the equipment you installed here and the samples and data you collected and brought home with you – may you find some interesting results for this early season.
Left on 74.28 °N is a trio of Casper, Jörgen and Stine. Since the other 11 researchers left ZAC on May 27/28th. The calm clear sunny weather has continued except for one evening with light snow and overcast. The midnight sun arrived on May 3rd and every evening and night the sun appears and disappears in different directions due to the mountainous skyline surrounding the station. Last night the sun rose at 23:45 and sent an unexpected spotlight from north through Lindemansdal.
The temperature is increasing fast and reached –3.7 °C on Saturday – we are now able to keep warm without the insulated jumpsuits and even get rid of the gloves during midday. This year’s extraordinary deep snow pack is beginning to melt at the surface during the day and the area of exposed bedrock on the southernly facing slopes of the mountains is quickly expanding.
A list of wild life observations is kept in the living room. Currently it is counting the almost daily spotting of the arctic foxes and arctic hares but also footprints of an arctic wolf in the Rylekær and a close encounter of an arctic lemming on Aucella have been noted. One evening during dinner a pioneering pink-footed goose was passing by the window on its route towards the fiord.
The air strip is almost clear of snow thanks to Jörgen’s efficient invention of a snow blower with additional cutters. He has to be patient as the snow is freezing quickly inside the machinery.
Casper continues the chamber measurements of CO2 fluxes from various surfaces. He removes the snow layer and then conducts the measurement with the LI-COR 6400 which is kept nice and warm with heating cables in a sleeping bag . Afterwards he refills the hole with snow and marks the site with green and orange flags. He is expecting to produce 1600 vials containing methane and nitrous oxid during our stay.
Included in the GeoBasis monitoring program are weekly snow surveys where snow depths are recorded with manual point measurements with Magnaprobe and by ground penetrating radar dragged in transects covering both the valley and the slopes along the ZERO line. Snow depths up to 3.4 m are registered in the valley this year. Snow pits are dug in the two CALM sites (Circumpolar Active Layer Monitoring) in which density samples are collected. The snow data collected during the melting period are used in the validation process when modelling a list of snow parameters via SnowModel for the watershed of Zackenberg.
Stine Højlund Pedersen
GeoBasis field assistant
Read more about the new Greenlandic-Canadian-Danish research partnership's first joint field campaign.