Setting sail for Greenland

Ahoy! It has been over 18 months since my last post and—not coincidentally—over 18 months since I last did anything worth blogging about.

Come Tuesday, I will be heading off on a new expedition. Unlike previous trips, I’ll be venturing north to Greenland and will be based, not on land, but on a ship (for 5 weeks!).

The research is part of the NEGIS project, which seeks to better understand the influence of climate change on the Greenland Ice Sheet. The particular focus: what controls the advance and retreat of the North-East Greenland Ice Stream?


NE Greenland terrain
Studying the terrain of NE Greenland for potential sites to visit (data from ArcticDEM).

The ice stream in this region separates into two large, neighbouring glaciers. Nioghalvfjerdsbrae—also referred to as 79-N Glacier—retreated by 5 km in 1997, while Zachariæ Isstrøm—about 70 km to the south of Nioghalvfjerdsbrae—entered a phase of accelerated ice loss in 2012. We want to know whether these glaciers behaved similarly in the recent geological past.




It’ll be my first time to Greenland, and even to the Arctic Circle, and also my first time on a ship for longer than a day. Surely the Arctic Ocean won’t kick up swells greater than in the English Channel… sea-sickness pills are packed.

Click to track our progress aboard the RV Polarstern.

Stay tuned for stories about life on a ship, research at sea, and field work at some of Greenland’s most interesting glaciers!


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