Dust, snow and frisbees

The main aim of the field sampling in April was to put up a series of ‘frisbee’ traps to collect dust in the lake catchments across the Kangerlussuaq area from the ice sheet to the mid-fjord area. This required hiking to most sites and occasionally wading through knee deep snowdrifts, given the unusual amounts of snow this year. Great effort by the dust team Maud, Matt, Jo and John for struggling through all of this. The frisbees are now installed doing their thing and will be joined by a two continuous monitoring dust track stations to be put up in the summer.

Meanwhile, we also collected snow samples from the lake surfaces to look at the dust which had collected there over the winter. This was a bit of an unknown, because we did not know how ‘dirty’ the snow would be. So the first samplings involved digging large snow pits and backpacking the snow from the lakes. Again, not easy in deep snow. We also collected lake water samples by boring through the lake ice.

Back at the lab, the snow was melted and filtered, revealing much higher dust quantities that we expected, and meaning that it was probably not necessary to collect so much snow. A useful pilot study. The rest of the time was spent analysing the chemistry of the snow and lake waters, and packing up samples for analysis back in the UK.