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Hi there! Welcome to Dave and I’s third and final post. Following the boat, we were able to explore some of Ilulissat and had lots of fun doing so. First, I will set the scene - the town is bordered on one side by Disko Bay and a multitude of icebergs, and on the other by snow-covered hills. Most of the houses are painted in bright colours providing a striking contrast to the rest of the landscape. The town’s center has a harbour through which fishing boats are constantly filtering in and out. One morning, Dave, Peng, Brian, and I visited the Ilulissat Icefjord which is the passageway through which ice calved from the Ilulissat Glacier (the most productive glacier outside of Antarctica) reaches Disko Bay and the ocean. We hiked along the shore of the icefjord and in the surrounding hills.
On June 11th, Dave and Peng flew back home :( while David, Brian, and I went to the second GNSS site located on a small island on the other side of the icefjord. It took about 15 minutes by helicopter to reach – and we witnessed some pretty incredible sights in those minutes (attached). Like at the first site, the wires to the camera and weather station had been chewed, so the data for those only lasted a few months. However, this time the GNSS station had maintained power and consequently had a large and up-to-date time series. Youpiee! David postulated that the wires were being chewed by animals attracted to the heat from the electricity (thinking it might be a tasty snack). Next time, we are aiming to add protective casing to the wires.
The next two days were spent downloading and organizing the data from the cameras and receivers of both sites. I learned that it is best practice to save your data on at least two devices, and also, if possible, to keep it on the original instrument until its next use. Having these days in Ilulissat also gave me a chance to tick some things off of my bucket list, such as going for runs around the icefjord and swimming in the Arctic Ocean (did not last long). David and Brian were also gearing up to visit their third and last site located near the glacier. They are planning to camp out for roughly 10 days to service existing equipment. As for me, the journey back home went much more smoothly than the first, which I am very (very) grateful for. And this brings me to the end of the story.
I am still in disbelief that I was able to participate in this fieldwork. I have learned so much about what it means to do field work (including the unwanted (but inevitable) plot twists, the need for persistence and organisation, and the excitement that comes when things do go right) and about the processes occurring in this region. I also feel incredibly lucky to have gained some insights on what it is like to live in Greenland, albeit very preliminary ones. And I am glad to have gone through this experience with a great group of people, which made it all the better.
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devices:( Nonetheless, we were able to service the GNSS station and leave it in working-condition, which is a win.
We had great weather while on the boat – clear skies and smooth waters for almost the whole trip. I also had the opportunity to stare at icebergs for long periods of time. They were incredibly beautiful. It was also quite humbling to be near chunks of ice weighing as much as my house. Although, despite their enormity, they are surprisingly quiet as they float along - I wish I were that graceful.
I think that sums up our time on the Jensen. On June 8th we returned to land and said goodbye to the crew who were departing on their next journey the following day. Now Dave and I are looking forward to having bit of time in Ilulissat before he leaves and before I head to the next site. I will let you know what we get up to!
As part of a project to understand how the ice, ocean, solid Earth and atmosphere interact at the periphery of ice sheets, Dave Purnell and Isabelle McIntyre from McGill are joining collaborators from NYU on a field expedition to Greenland to service and collect data from our instruments that are measuring sea level changes in Qequertarsuup tunua (Disko Bay) near Sermeq Kujalleq (Jakobshavn glacier). They had a rocky start, but are on their way now. Read on to hear more...
The next day we were on a mission. Icelandair told us that they had found our bags in Vancouver and that they would be delivered to Ilulissat on the 5th. Dave would already be on the boat by this point, so we had to find some gear for him to bring aboard. Luckily, David and Denise Holland are very organized people and have some extra boots, coats, and gloves that we can borrow, so Dave and I got some more layers and essentials. Dave also submitted his PhD that day (!!!) so we went out for some fish and chips to celebrate.
This bring us to today. We got up early this morning for Dave's flight. I accompanied him to the airport in the hopes of squeezing on to the flight at the last second... and it worked!! Youpiee! As I am writing this we are flying over East Greenland. It's beautiful - below are some pictures. We will be headed directly to the research boat upon landing to start the second phase of our adventure. I'll let you know how it goes.
Dave Purnell and Isabelle McIntyre are headed to Greenland Summer 2022 to service and collect data from our instruments. Follow their travels here.