Arctic Field Projects



Project Title: East Greenland Ice-core Project (Award# EGRIPCPH)

PI: Dahl-Jensen, Dorthe (ddj@nbi.ku.dk)
Phone: 45(353) 20556 
Institute/Department: U of Copenhagen, Niels Bohr Institute, Ice and Climate 
IPY Project?
Funding Agency: DK\Research/Higher Ed\U. Copenhagen
Program Manager: Dr. Jennifer Mercer (jmercer@nsf.gov)
Discipline(s): | Cryosphere |

Project Web Site(s):
Project: http://eastgrip.org/

Science Summary:
In Greenland, fast-flowing ice streams discharge into the ocean, accounting for about half the loss of Greenland’s ice sheet mass. Many of these streams have doubled their rates of flow in the last decade. The biggest ice stream begins at the central ice divide and cuts through the ice sheet in a wedge shape to feed into the ocean through three large ice streams in northeast Greenland (Nioghalvfjerds isstrømmen, Zachariae isbræ and Storstrømmen). The North East Greenland Ice Stream (NEGIS) begins on the ice divide, which is believed to be caused by strong melting at the base, and reaches velocities of over 100 meters per year about 200 kilometers (km) from the ice divide, a region that is still 500 km from the coast where the ice is heavily crevassed and therefore dangerous. Researchers on the international East Greenland Ice Sheet Project (EGRIP) will establish a field camp in the area 200 km from the ice divide and drill an ice core down to bedrock, about 2550 meters in depth. Researchers have three primary research objectives: • Study the dynamics of the ice flow in an ice stream by ice rheology and deformation studies of the ice core. • Study the dynamics of the ice flow by borehole observations of basal sliding, borehole deformation, and basal water processes. • Obtain the highest quality brittle zone (650 m – 1250 m depth) ice core possible to allow for continuous analysis of climate parameters and greenhouse gases and ice core dating in the early Holocene. Information gleaned from the ice core, combined with information from borehole observations, will help scientists better understand the flow dynamics of NEGIS, and by extrapolation, of other ice streams. When results are reflected in ice sheet models, they will enable predictions of future loss of mass from the ice streams, thus improving estimates of future sea level rise.

Logistics Summary:
The East Greenland Ice core Project (EGRIP), an international collaboration between Greenland, Denmark, the United States, Germany, Norway and Japan, aims to characterize ice flow dynamics of the North-East Greenland Ice Stream (NEGIS). In Greenland, fast-flowing ice streams discharge into the ocean, amounting to about half the loss of Greenland’s ice sheet mass. Many of these streams have doubled their rates of flow in the last decade. The biggest ice stream begins at the central ice divide and cuts through the ice sheet in a wedge shape to feed into the ocean through three large ice streams in northeast Greenland (Nioghalvfjerds isstrømmen, Zachariae isbræ and Storstrømmen). NEGIS begins on the ice divide, which is believed to be caused by strong melting at the base, and reaches velocities of over 100 meters per year about 200 kilometers (km) from the ice divide, a region that is still 500 km from the coast where the ice is heavily crevassed and therefore dangerous. During five years of field work (2015-2020), an international, Danish-led team of scientists will assemble at an established a field camp in the area 200 km and drill an ice core down to bedrock, about 2550 meters in depth. Researchers have three primary research objectives: •Study the dynamics of the ice flow in an ice stream by ice rheology and deformation studies of the ice core. •Study the dynamics of the ice flow by borehole observations of basal sliding, borehole deformation, and basal water processes. •Obtain the highest quality brittle zone (650 m – 1250 m depth) ice core possible to allow for continuous analysis of climate parameters and greenhouse gases and ice core dating in the early Holocene Information gleaned from the ice core, combined with information from borehole observations, will help scientists better understand the flow dynamics of NEGIS, and by extrapolation, of other ice streams. When results are reflected in ice sheet models, they will enable predictions of future loss of mass from the ice streams, thus improving estimates of future sea level rise In 2015, researchers retrieved infrastructure needed to establish the EGRIP camp from NEEM, former site of an international Danish led borehole project that was conducted from 2007-2012 as part of the IPY. Researchers excavated and/or prepared for transport heavy sleds with cargo, the iconic NEEM dome, and two garages. Everything was hauled 460 km by traverse train in May to the NEGIS site. At EGRIP, the dome was parked, the two garages were built and outfitted, and the rest of the cargo was stored on sledges. In 2016 EGRIP camp preparations continued. The field team completed construction of a fully operational drilling camp with ice core storage facilities, science trench, drill trench, workshops, warm laboratories and housing for 35 people. In 2017 EGRIP will begin scientific drilling. The overall U.S. contribution to the EGRIP effort involves provision of Air National Guard (ANG) airlift to support the camp. In exchange, the following NSF and NASA-funded research groups will have access to EGRIP as a logistical hub: Abdalati (NNX15AC62G) and Detrick (1304011). Five researchers will fly via the ANG to EGRIP from Kangerlussuaq. The 2018 season marks the second season of ice drilling at EGRIP. In addition to drilling, work will be done on surface movements by GPS, airborne radar measurements will be conducted, shallow cores/snow-pits/aerosol sampling will study recent precipitation, and drilling with the RADIX drill will occur at a satellite location. EGRIP planning/logistics are done primarily by the University of Copenhagen. The overall U.S. contribution to the EGRIP effort involves provision of Air National Guard (ANG) airlift to support the camp. In exchange, the following NSF and NASA-funded research groups will have access to EGRIP as a logistical hub: Apsell (1713552), Steffen (NASAAWS), Virginia (1748137), and Detrick (1304011). For the third season, 2019, work will continue the same as 2018. In exchange, the following NSF and NASA-funded research groups will have access to EGRIP as a logistical hub: Steffen (NASAAWS), Virginia (1748137), Sowers (1804154), and Vaughn (1833165).

CPS will provide coordination and tracking of Air National Guard airlift for cargo/personnel/fuel. For support that exceeds the effort outlined in the memorandum of agreement regarding in-kind support, NSF will recoup costs via a billing arrangement with the University of Copenhagen.
SeasonField SiteDate InDate Out#People
2017Greenland - EGRIP04 / 26 / 2017 07 / 29 / 20175
2017Greenland - Kangerlussuaq04 / 25 / 2017 08 / 01 / 20175
2018Greenland - EGRIP08 / 09 / 2018 08 / 23 / 20183
2018Greenland - Kangerlussuaq08 / 07 / 2018 08 / 24 / 20183
2019Greenland - EGRIP07 / 10 / 2019 08 / 15 / 20193
2019Greenland - Kangerlussuaq07 / 09 / 2019 08 / 15 / 20193
 


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