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Swiss Polar Institute unveils climate expedition to Greenland

Published on February 20, 2019

Fifteen projects, including six under Swiss management, have been selected for the GreenLAnd Circumnavigation Expedition (GLACE) of the Swiss Polar Institute (SPI). On July 30, 44 researchers will board the Akademik Treshnikov from the German port city of Kiel.

The aim is to collect data on the melting of the ice cap that covers Greenland, interactions with the surrounding oceans and, more generally, on the effects of climate change in this part of the world. The journey will cover nearly 13,500 kilometres.

Scientists have a lot of ground to cover as the ice retreats: vegetation changes, biodiversity loss, altered atmospheric processes, to name a few. They will be equipped with helicopters, zodiacs (small boats) and have a variety of labs and support staff at their disposal.

Among these research projects is that of Athanasios Nenes, a specialist in atmospheric processes at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Lausanne (EPFL).

Seven super sites have been identified as landing spots to conduct measurements and experiments on land and along the shore. The ship will be stopping at each site for between two to five days, according to SPI.

The circumnavigation of Greenland will be completed in September 2019.