First time in Kangerlussuaq

Loughborough PhD Student Maud Van-Souest who will be looking at dust-soil interactions in Kangerlussuaq gives us her first impressions:

It has been a week ago already since I made my first steps on the Greenlandic soil. John Anderson, Joanna Bullard, Matthew Baddock and I took the plane from Copenhagen to Kangerlussuaq on the 20th of April. We have had some magnificent views over the icecap during the flight. One of the first things that John noticed was however that there was way more snow than he expected for this time of the year. That might have cause some problems with the accessibility of the sampling sites. But the sun was working hard and we were about to discover in the following days that it is very normal to wake up and go to bed in a completely different landscape, as sublimation and melting were alternated with periods of fresh snow.



Kangerlussuaq is the main airport of Greenland and not much more than that. The airport is one of the American settlements since the WWII and the small population of about 500 people is almost entirely reliant on the airport and tourist industry. Many scientists stay a few days in Kangerlussuaq to finish the preparations for their fieldwork on the ice or in other remote areas and another few days before they go back home. We are based at KISS (Kangerlussuaq International Science Support) for the full two weeks of this first trip and occupied one of the kitchens and half of the lab space. Especially after we unpacked the pallets and spent some hours in John’s store room (Aladdin’s cave) to install and organise all the equipment.

Ready for the days ahead in the field….

Packed and ready to go

It’s been a busy week since the Dusty project start date on 1 April 2017 (OK perhaps not the best choice of start date…).
We’ve received two ‘Dust trak’ automated monitoring stations which will be used for continuous measurements of dusts along with a weather station. This kit requires some serious battery power to operate in the cold conditions in Greenland.

We also have 30 Hall deposition traps and Fryear dust traps which will be deployed at each lake site to look at local deposition patterns closer to lake sites to be studied in more detail. Added to that are the chemicals we need for analysis and many other smaller pieces of kit that we need for sampling dust and lakes, and you get a massive 8 pallets worth of equipment.

Fortunately, Rebecca McKenzie (pictured left, technician at Loughborough who will be joining the field team in August) and Maud Van Souest (right, PhD student investigating dust in Greenland) were on hand to help with the packing and see off the shipment to Kangerlussuaq, ready for the fieldwork in a few weeks’ time.