Greenland Education Tour 08

What Are They Doing?

The expedition members spent five days learning about the research conducted in Greenland, the logistics involved in supporting the research, and had first-hand experience conducting experiments and developing inquiry-based educational activities. The 2008 work built on the 2007 expedition and was supported by the National Science Foundation. The project was developed through cooperation with the U.S.-Denmark-Greenland Joint Committee which was established in 2004 to broaden and deepen cooperation among the United States, the Kingdom of Denmark, and Greenland.

The group arrived in the coastal town of Kangerlussuaq, Greenland on July 7th, where they toured the research infrastructure that supports Danish, U.S., and other international research projects. On Tuesday, June 8th the group flew to Summit Camp at the top of the Greenland Ice Sheet to learn about the research conducted at the Greenland Environmental Observatory at Summit (GEOSummit).

The teachers and students participated in data collection and sampling for some of the large and ongoing projects at Summit Station, including measuring the sun reflectance off the snow and the interaction between the snow and the atmosphere. The team experimented with pieces of ice cores to examine the layers and gasses trapped as bubbles in the ice, preserved as atmospheric time capsules representing the year they were trapped. They examined snow-pits and used instruments that collect environmental measurements year-round.

After their overnight stay at Summit Camp, the group returned to Kangerlussuaq where they took a closer look at water run-off from the ice sheet and the corresponding stream ecology. They wrapped up their tour with discussions of ways all the different projects can inform us about both arctic and global conditions.

Where Are They?

The group traveled to Kangerlussuaq on the west coast of Greenland and then to Summit Camp at the peak of the Greenland Ice Sheet, atop 3200 m of ice. Summit Station is a year-round arctic sampling station funded by the National Science Foundation, click here to learn more about Summit Station.

Expedition Map


July 8, 2008 – We got to sleep in this morning; we didn't need to be at the plane until 8:30 a.m. The check-in was much simpler: show up and get on. Still an LC-130, but this time with the skis down to land. The landing was better than many commercial flights! It was a shorter flight, too – about 2 hours. When you land at Summit, even though you want to go, go, go because there is so much to see and do, you have to take it reeeeaaaal easy. The altitude is about 3200 m above sea level. The first, and most important briefing we have is about altitude sickness; how to recognize it and how to...
July 7, 2008 - After a very short night, the U.S. participants for the Greenland Science Education Week 2008 arrived at Stratton Air Force base for our 6 hour ride to Kangerlussuaq, Greenland. There were about 50 other scientists and troops flying with us, along with the cargo destined for their Arctic research projects. Several people, in addition to us, were making their first 'trip to the ice,' so we didn't feel sooooo out of place! Getting on a military transport was so different from the commercial protocols we are familiar with, that it was an education, too! First thing we learned was...
July 6, 2008 - Even though it's hot and humid in Washington, DC and here in Albany, NY, the weather forecasts show beautiful weather for Kangerlussuaq, GL. Most days should be sunny and in the mid-60s. Summit Camp, on the other hand, is expected to be like the colder winter days of New England (my home town) - around 20 degrees Fahrenheit. Right now it sounds pretty good, but we'll think it's chilly once we are there. But we are ready! We've heard from a bunch of scientists that are already working in the field, and they are hoping to find the time to talk to our group next week. That's...

Project Information

6 July 2008 to 12 July 2008
Location: Greenland
Project Funded Title: Greenland, Denmark, United States Joint Science Education Tour '08