Science in the Arctic

The range of Arctic research that is being supported by Kangerlussuaq International Science Support (KISS) this season is notable.

Here is a small sample:

• Monitoring ice sheet dynamics – ablation, accumulation variability & surface energy balance
• Quantifying glacier-fjord-ocean interactions
• Characterizing the microbial communities below the Greenland ice sheet
• Continuous monitoring of atmospheric methane and non-methane hydrocarbons
• Investigating the evolution, form and spatial variability of the Greenland ice sheet hydrology
• Monitoring plant phenology and reindeer and muskox populations
• Greenland sexual health project
• Examining ice crystal structure from sonic velocity profiles
• Large scale seismic refraction analysis
• Monitoring river plumes as indicators of ice sheet melting
• Surveying sky clarity and atmospheric stability
• Analysis of carbon dynamics in the high Arctic
• Observing the propagation of thinning from two rapidly changing outlet glaciers
• Collecting data on short-term ice sheet velocity changes
• Measuring processes which influence the isotopic composition of snow

Furthermore, the majority of these projects provide good examples of collaborative research.

We have had the opportunity to learn about some of these studies in more detail. For example, Bruce Douglas (Indiana University) and Mikki Osterloo (Univ. of Colorado) kindly gave us a field-demonstration of their research, which involves documenting the density and orientation of fractures near the ice sheet as these fractures could provide refugia for microorganisms in sub-permafrost environments.

Additionally, post-doc Karen Cameron and graduate student Kyla Choquette gave a presentation regarding their attempts to characterize the microbial communities below the Greenland ice sheet. They are collecting samples of sub-glacial meltwater in order to assess the influence of sub-glacial lithology and the contribution of microbes to sub-glacial weathering.

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