This summer I had the opportunity to spend 6 weeks conducting fieldwork outside of Kangerlussuaq, Greenland with a team from UCLA and Rutgers University. Our work this summer was the second field campaign of a NASA-funded three-year grant to assess drainage efficiency of supraglacial rivers on the Greenland ice sheet. This summer’s research had two main parts. First, six members of the group conducted a helicopter-supported 10-day ice camp in the ablation zone of the ice sheet where research primarily focused on measuring the discharge of a large supraglacial river. Our group also maintained a 2.5 month-long camp at the ice sheet margin where we studied the seasonal evolution of the surface hydrology of the sheet margin.
I primarily worked at the camp at the ice sheet margin, and each day we hiked 3-4 miles each way to our various study sites on the ice sheet, measuring supraglacial stream discharge and conducting experiments to assess the variability of the water content of the ice. The work was very demanding both physically and mentally, but the scenery was absolutely incredible. The turquoise blue water of supraglacial streams and steep walls of ice canyons never ceased to amaze me. We often joked we had the prettiest study site in Greenland!
For more information about our work this summer, check out the photos below, this piece in the New Yorker by Elizabeth Kolbert, our NASA blog, a video about our work made by climate science videographer Peter Sinclair.