Within the combined research and education project Glacio-Live we were aiming to install our automatic glacier measurement system far away north in the Arctic, on a small mountain glacier on the East Coast of Greenland, Freya Glacier.
Freya (Fröya) Glacier is a 6km long valley glacier situated on Clavering Island 10km southeast of the Zackenberg research station at the northeastern coast of Greenland. Its surface area is 5.3 km² (2013), reaching from 1300 m to 280 m a.s.l. and mainly oriented to NW with two seperated accumulation areas oriented to NE and NW.
We have been measuring the mass balance of the glacier since 2007, we already had two weather stations and two automatic cameras there, but without transmitting the data in near real time. So the aim for the expedition in spring 2016 was to install a new weather station with data transmission and two high quality webcams, that should cover almost the whole glacier surface and transmit an image per day.
Crossing the fjord on our way from Zackenberg research station to Freya Glacier. We carry sledges with more than 300 kg of equipment.
The first challenge was the steep slope up to the terminal moraine of Freya Glacier. But snow conditions were good and allowed us to take the steep step onto the glacier!
My colleage Daniel Binder having a rest on Freya Glacier at an elevation of 700 m.
After one day of exploring we found a perfect rock to install our webcams. But good spots for cameras are at high places, so we had to park our ski doos and carry all the equipment of more than 300 kg (!) by ourselves up that slope to an elevation of 1053m a.s.l. ...
Backpacks of more than 30 kgs...
We went up there 7 times. Climbing up there in the morning when the snow was very hard, I really missed my ski crampons that I had forgotten at home... :-(
Some climbing involved at the upper part of the ascent.
A good storage area behind the camera rock.
Installing the solar panels and the pole for the Iridium Satellite Antenna.
Two cameras, three solar panels and four metal cases for the batteries, the solar charger and the Iridium modem.
And finally the Iridium Antenna.
10 meters above the cameras we mounted a wind mill to generate power during the Arctic winter.
The power cable from the wind mill to the camera station.
The installation from below.
Getting the system running, troubleshooting in -25°C.
The view from the position of the camera glacier upwards and downwards.
A few days later we installed the new weather station on Freya Glacier together with Michele Citterio from GEUS. Again, we were very lucky with the weather, we also drilled 11 new ablation stakes on that day.
In the late evening the work is finished. The new weather station on Freya Glacier is operating and sending data!