Kangerlussuaq – University of Copenhagen

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Center for Permafrost (CENPERM) > Field sites > Kangerlussuaq


Collecting cryoconit on the ice sheet near Kangerlussuaq. (Photo credit: Carsten Suhr, GEUS).

Collecting cryoconit on the ice sheet near Kangerlussuaq. (Photo credit: Carsten Suhr Jacobsen).

Kangerlussuaq (means Big Fjord; Danish name: Søndre Strømfjord), is a recent settlement located at the inner end of the fjord of the same name. While Inuit hunters certainly visited Kangerlussuaq, there appears never to have been a settlement at the location. It is Greenland's main air transport center with the largest commercial airport. The airport dates from Second World War, when the site was known as Blue West-8. The settlement has a population about 600 who are almost entirely reliant on the airport and tourist industry. Kangerlussuaq International Science Support has easy access as it is located near the main international airport in Greenland.

Kangerlussuaq is at the southern border for continuous permafrost and the landscapes hold great opportunities for studies along different permafrost gradients. Here, the Greenland ice sheet is easily accessible and CENPERM researchers study the surface of the ice sheet (see e.g. the paper in Nature Geoscience by CENPERM scientist Marek Stibal), the proglacial areas, and the main river flowing out of the ice sheet.

Permanent data logging equipment and a climate station have been installed for obtaining relevant data (climate and soil properties). Within the area three sites have been selected based on differences in plant cover, exposure and height. Here, we measure the emission of halogenated volatile compounds.