There is a lot of science happening in the arctic for a lot of reasons. Sea ice extent and thickness is diminishing, which is a big change for a society which depends on the ice to travel, hunt, and fish. The melting of the Greenland ice cap is one of the largest contributors to global sea level rise. These freshwater inputs affect marine ecosystems and the fishing industry. Permafrost is warming up which has implications for infrastructure and natural resource development. All of these processes intertwined in Greenland’s political environment (potential bid for independence from Denmark) make it an interesting problem in a modern, developing country.
Thus far, “work” has involved a lot of skiing, which is always a good thing. A few times each week from May-October I travel 20 minutes by boat through Kobbefjord. Part of the program includes an eddy covariance system to monitor carbon dioxide exchange. Basically, air is pumped through tubing to an analyzer which determines the concentration of CO2. Another sensor calculates the wind speed/direction 20 times each second. The values are stored and processed on the computer, and with some math magic you can determine if humans are causing global warming. Or something like that.