RESPONDER Fieldwork Season 2017

RESPONDER fieldwork season one is now up and running! The team of eight in this year’s field programme comprises Sam Doyle, Antonio Abellan, Tun Jan “TJ” Young, Samuel Cook, Tom Chudley, Sean Peters (U. Stanford), Martin Truffer (UAF, Fairbanks) and Poul Christoffersen. The team flew into the field using the Bell 212 helicopter operated by Air Greenland. The Uummannaq township is the team’s point of access to the field site. Ann Andreasen and the Children’s Home kindly hosted our visit once again. As often, we could stay in one of their houses while packing and preparing our equipment before we set out. You can read more about the Children’s Home here.

The team has set up a base camp near the front of Store Glacier. They are monitoring icebergs released by calving, which add up to tens of millions of cubic metres of ice per day. The view from the camp is quite unbelievable! And the noise from ice breaking off the glacier is incredibly loud. The glacier is especially active in the evening and at night, but it doesn’t get dark at all. The sun stays up twenty-four seven.

The team is recording all calving events using synchronised time-lapse cameras. Antonio is in charge of this task. With photographs taken from different viewing angles, the team can produce 3D models of the glacier front, which help identify the quantity of ice breaking off the glacier on timescales as short as a few minutes.

The team also set up a terrestrial radar interferometer on the day they arrived in the field. It is a remarkable instrument, which produces highly-accurate elevation data by scanning the terminus of the glacier and the inner fjord system every three minutes. It is Samuel’s responsibility to operate and maintain the instrument, as Martin can only join us for a few days in the field this year.