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From the air to the ice, our summer itinerary

Updated: at 08:05 PM

It’s official, the install group is on their way! A crew of five people are converging on Greenland to install our autonomous climate research station on the ice sheet for the ICECAPS-MELT project this summer. This project is the cumulative effort of a large team of people but the five of us are tasked with materializing the project a reality on the ground/ice in the coming month. Matt, Cat, Von, Andrew, and myself — Michael — have left our homes and are en route.

The people

Matt, Von, and Cat leave the plane for some forced stretchingVon shows off his fashion sense

Left: Von, Matt, and Cat leave the plane for some forced leg stretching after the first 3 hour stretch of flight. Right: Von awake and ready to hurry up and wait. Witness as the team’s fashion sense begins to take shape.

A single multi-talented engineer, two young at heart career scientists, one starry-eyed graduate student, and a hopeful thirty something, are setting off to build the largest autonomously operating research station ever constructed on the Greenland ice sheet. While it will only operate until August, it is a test of many concepts put together over the course of the last years. And, given we received news today of 80 mph winds at our soon-to-be-campsite… yes eight-zero… it might also be a test of our collective will.

The plan

Greenland ice edges with Raven and Summit

Blue dot: Summit Camp, at nearly 12,000’ altitude Red dot: Raven Camp, at nearly 7,000’ altitude

The plan is: to take our persons, and our gear, to the western coast of Greenland for the project debut where we will rejoin Andrew and the large pile of boxes (nearly 10,000 pounds of gear) containing the pieces of our station and begin the process of assembling them into a data-taking machine. From there, after ~7 days of preparation time in Kangerlussuaq Greenland, we’ll fly the partially constructed climate research station onto the ice for installation with the complete set of wind turbines, solar panels, and batteries. We’ll be landing at the red dot on this map, “Raven camp”, where the station will likely observe somewhere between 20 and 40 days of melt this summer. We have roughly 20 days to install the climate station (the “SLEIGH”), the Minimum Viable Powersystem (the “MVP”), and completely sufficient site surveys for our scientific goals, all while living on the ice together in tents. The camp life is our responsibility, everything from setup to cooking to cleaning to sleeping and maybe even blogging.