Archive for May, 2009

preparations for 17th Greenland expedition

Tuesday, May 12th, 2009

I depart mid-June for what has shaped up to be a major expedition; actually two expeditions.

The first expedition involves meeting a ship*. I meet the ship in Sisimiut, west Greenland. We make way with little to no stops to far northwest Greenland, ice conditions permitting. We have contingencies that in the event the sea ice in Nares St. is not navigable, we’ll work glaciers along northeast Baffin Bay. Work involves setting up temporary time lapse cameras to capture predicted continued disintegration of the Petermann Glacier ice tongue. A piece larger than Manhattan Is. seems very likely to break off. We plan to place GPS on a number of glaciers and track their speed changes with high time resolution (seconds to minutes). Tidal forces, daily melt cycles, and glacier structural changes cause speed changes. When a large ice island breaks away, the upstream effect is analagous to a champagne cork being freed…the glacier speeds up, but it’s no party!

* Specifications

Name: Arctic Sunrise
Number of berths: 28
Inflatable boats: 2 Ribs and 2 inflatabes
Helicopter capable: Yes
Gross tonnage: 949 tonnes
Length O.A: 49.62 m
Breadth: 11.50 m
Maximum Draught: 5.30 m
Maximum Speed: 13 Knots

The second expedition begins when Arctic Sunrise drops me and Alun Hubbard off in Uummannaq to meet with Hubbard’s sail boat Gambo. We’ll use gambo as an oceanographic research vessel and the means to get into position to hike in to time lapse camera sites. We might even do some first-ascent climbing.