Into the snow: A four week adventure from Wollaston Foreland to Revet

Into the snow: A four week adventure from Wollaston Foreland to Revet


Into the snow: A four week adventure from Wollaston Foreland to Revet

ASP Young Sound 2014 Campaign

It has been a true adventure being out in the white late-winter, traveling through remote landscapes and we now return with an extensive snow dataset.

Traveling on snow mobiles, we have collected snow data as a part of my PhD project in a region stretching from the most eastern point of Wollaston Foreland, through the broad valleys around Zackenberg Research Station, and into the inland parts of Tyrolerfjord and Store Sødal with their mountainous terrain populated by numerous groups of 3-10 musk oxen. Glen Liston (Colorado State University) and I measured snow depths, dug snow pit to measure snow density and stratigraphy and noted snow crystal sizes and hardness. This data will help us to reveal the main drivers for the regional snow distribution.

Several strong storms have hit the area during the winter and packed the snow cover leaving the snow surface icy, ‘polished,’ and shining in large patches all over the region. We found solid ice encapsulating the vegetation in the bottom of most of our snow pits and additional ice lenses, hard as stone in the snow, made it a challenging work to dig our 2.5 m deep snow pits around Wollaston Foreland.

During our travels we stayed in tiny trapper huts, with dimensions as small as 2.0 by 2.7 meters, heated with coal and we felt how the arctic winter slowly relaxed the grip as air temperatures climbed from -26 to -10 °C. Fortunately, we were gifted with many sunny and clear days and experienced only four days of snow storm with winds strong enough to knock you down and reduce the visibility to only a few meters.

Submitted by

Stine Højlund Pedersen

PhD student, Bioscience Roskilde, Arctic Research Centre, Aarhus University.

Stine digging 2.3 m snow pit in Wollaston Forland. Photo: Glen E. Liston
Snow crystal (sectored stellar plate) captured under the camera lens and magnifier. Photo Stine Højlund Pedersen
Polar bear footprints from a mother and cub near Herschellhus Trapperstation. Photo:Stine Højlund Pedersen