2014 Volume 32 Pages 3-20
Field activities of the “Snow Impurity and Glacial Microbe effects on abrupt warming in the Arctic” (SIGMA) Project in Greenland in the summer season of 2011-2013 are reported;this consists of (1) glaciological and meteorological observations and (2) biological observations. In 2011, we conducted a field reconnaissance in the Qaanaaq, Ilulissat and Kangerlussuaq areas to enable continuous meteorological observations with automatic weather stations (AWS), campaign observations for glaciology, meteorology and Biology and shallow ice core drilling, which were planned for 2012-2014. Based on the results, we chose the Qaanaaq area in northwest Greenland as our main activity area and the Kangerlussuaq area in mid-west Greenland partly for biological observations. In 2012, we conducted field observations for (1) and (2) mentioned above together with installations of two AWSs at site SIGMA-A on The Greenland ice sheet (GrIS) and at site SIGMA-B on the Qaanaaq ice cap (QIC) from June to August. Surface snow and ice over all of the QIC melted in July and August 2012, and most of the Glacier surface appeared to be dark-colored, probably due to mineral dust and glacial microbial products. In 2013, we carried out similar observations in the Qaanaaq area. However, the weather and Glacier surface conditions were considerably different from those in 2012. Snow cover over the summer of 2013 remained over large areas with elevations higher than about 700 m on QIC. Biological activity on the Glacier surface appears to be substantially lower as compared to that in 2012.