Field campaign in Greenland 2013

This was the second field season of our ice sheet and glacier research project in northwestern Greenland. Focus of our field activity this summer was Bowdoin Gletscher, one of the calving glaciers near Qaanaaq, one of the northern most village in the world. Our goal is to better understand the role of the ice dynamics and its interaction with the ocean in the mass loss of Greenland ice sheet. We also repeated mass balance and ice speed measurements on Qaanaaq Ice Cap, where we began glaciological research activity in 2012.

On 4th July 2013, we flew in to Bowdoin Gletscher by a helicopter for a 2-week field campaign on the glacier. Based on a camp beside a river running along the eastern margin of the glacier, we measured ice speed, melt rate, and glacier surface and bed elevations. These data will be utilized to investigate ice dynamics and thickness change of this glacier. After the campaign, we made several boat trips from Qaanaaq to the fjord of Bowdoin Gletscher for ocean measurements. We used a sonar to measure the ocean bed geometry in front of the glacier, which is very important for the stability of a calving glacier. We also made preliminary measurements of ocean current and temperature, to look for a possibility to expand ocean measurements in the next field season.

On 29 July, we took a helicopter to survey snow accumulation at 1800 m a.s.l. on the Greenland ice sheet. Snow pit measurements and firn core sampling were performed to quantify the accumulation rate in this region. Working inland is not easy as we need a perfect weather for helicopter operation, but it provides us valuable data to quantify the ice mass change in Greenland.

Bowdoin Gletscher

Ice cap, ice sheet and the ocean

Impressions of the Arctic