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Polar Radar for Ice Sheet Measurements

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Day 2 - May 7 2006

Briefing at Stratton Air National Guard Base, Scotia, NY, just prior to departure for Kangerlussuaq

We woke in the morning around 4 am. It was quite chilly (in the mid 30s) because of a cold front that went through overnight. We left our hotel for the base around 5:25 with another passenger, Jay Zwally from NASA Goddard Space Flight Center, who was headed for a Swiss camp on the Jacobshavn glacier on the west coast of Greenland, south of Kangerlussuag. We reached the base about 5:35 am, joined up with a large number of other passengers, turned in our gear, and were briefed. We also met one of our other American colleagues from the University of Colorado, Bruce Vaughn, who will collect ice core samples for isotopic analyses. We boarded a bus which took us and our personal gear the short distance to the plane about 7:30, boarded, and lifted off right on schedule at 8:01 am.

Deplaning from the C-130 upon arrival at Kangerlussuaq

As predicted in the briefing, we had tail winds. This meant we did not have to stop midway at Goose Bay, Canada, to refuel. As a result, we landed about a half hour early in Kangerlussuaq, a small town at the end of a fjord by the same name on the west central coast of Greenland, at 3:25 pm local time (1:25 CDT) after a flight of five and a half hours. When we arrived in Kangerlussuaq, the weather was extremely mild. It was very humid with temperatures in the low 40s. Ironically, this made it considerably more pleasant than what we left behind in New York. Upon arrival, we were met by one of our Danish hosts, Lars Berg Larson, who took us to our accommodations at the Kangerlussuaq International Science Support (KISS) hotel. While there, we were briefed by the NSF/VECO representative, Robin Abbot, and shown our rooms. We also met the rest of our Danish partners/hosts, Jorgen Peder (JP) Steffensen (group leader),Simon Sheldon (originally from Britain, but now living near Copenhagen), Andreas Lemark, and Steffen Bo Hansen, as well as Sverrir Hilmarsson from Iceland who was working for them.

Being met at the airport by one of our Danish hosts (from left to right: Dennis Sundermeyer, Lars Berg Larsen, Bruce Vaughn)

After settling in, we went with them to pick out last-minute cold weather clothing and sleeping bags and to help them pack pallets for the next day's flight to Thule. They then invited us to accompany them for dinner at the Row Club where we had local fare. Dennis had reindeer meatballs and I decided to try a muskoxburger. The muskoxburger tasted much like ground beef and was very good. Dennis said the reindeer meatballs reminded him of pork meatballs.

Packing pallets at the warehouse with Sverrir Hilmarsson and Bruce Vaughn


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