Background

Greenland Environmental Observatory, Summit Station – GEOSummit

Located on the summit of the Greenland Ice Sheet (72oN, 38oW, 3200 m.a.s.l.), the location of the GISP II drilling project completed in 1993, Summit ‘Camp’ provided numerous multidisciplinary research campaigns a unique location featuring ease of access to a high elevation, high latitude, low water vapor location to measure components of the earth system that would otherwise not be accessible.

In 1999 with the award of a Long Term Observatory (LTO) grant from the NSF, the facility was coined the Greenland Environmental Observatory at Summit, marking its transition from ‘camp’ to Station. Today, the facility is the highest elevation station located north of the Arctic Circle.

The station consists of four primary structures; 1] the ‘big house’, a structure used for dining, station management offices, and hygienic facilities; 2] the ‘gen-mod’, a garage and shop structure which also serves to house two 100 kW diesel generators; 3] the ‘green house’, a modular laboratory and housing structure; and 4] the ‘berthing mod’, a dormitory for permanent station staff. In 2007 a ‘Temporary’ Atmospheric Watch Observatory was constructed to house long term measurement installations including those of the NOAA-ESRL baseline climate monitoring program.

Several temporary structures may easily be established each season based on demand, and two scientific research towers (36 and 15 m.) are available for research campaigns. Logistics and staffing requirements are fulfilled by CH2MHill Polar Services (CPS) who maintain a core staff of four which includes a station manager, mechanic, and two science technicians. In the summer a full time cook, an equipment operator, and several additional assistants are employed. Fuel and cargo storage is maintained on snow berms that are relocated seasonally as drifting demands. Access is provided via Kangerlussuaq, Greenland on Hercules LC-130 aircraft operated by the New York Air National Guard 109th Airlift Wing (NYANG-109) and/or ski-equipped Twin Otter flights operated by Greenland Air that utilize a 16,000 ft. groomed “ski-way” for on-site flight operations.