First Camp Century Climate
Monitoring Programme Expedition
June 20th 2017
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This summer, Geological Survey of Denmark and Greenland (GEUS) will undertake an expedition to Camp Century planned for July 12 to August 9 to initiate the Camp Century Climate Monitoring Programme established by the Danish Government in agreement with the Government of Greenland.

During this expedition, a science team will install an automated climate station that transmits meteorological observations back to Copenhagen by satellite. This climate station will also measure ice temperatures down to at least 55 m depth below the surface. Together, these metrological and glaciological observations will allow real-time observation of any meltwater production at the site.

The science team will also drill deep ice cores to measure near-surface density and recover samples for further analysis. This ice core knowledge will enable the development of computer models to estimate when and how meltwater may percolate through the near-surface ice-sheet layers at Camp Century.

Finally, a radar survey of the sub-surface debris field will be performed. Ice-penetrating radar will permit mapping the depth and spatial distribution of the debris field. Understanding the depth of abandoned infrastructure will help inform the ice depths over which percolating meltwater becomes relevant.

The data will be available at the webpage

Challenging expedition

The expedition team will consist of three GEUS personnel including expedition leader William Colgan, two deep drilling contractors, and a representative from Asiaq Greenland Survey.

“The logistics of conducting an operation of this scope on the remote inland ice are quite daunting. We have to rely on ski-equipped aircraft to fly-in every nut and bolt needed to establish camp at -15C. Then we need to work safely and efficiently to complete a pretty complicated task list in a fixed period of time,” says expedition leader William Colgan from GEUS.

The expedition gear is expected to weigh 2000 kg, with a further 2000 kg of science equipment. Approximately 400 kg of deployed instrumentation will remain at Camp Century and be serviced in subsequent years. The expedition will bring 120 person-days of food, which has a volume of approximately 2 cubic meters.

A lot of the expedition gear and science equipment has already been packed in a container and send to Greenland. It is project manager William Colgan from GEUS to the left. Photo: Allan Lindy/GEUS