Danish research station in Greenland reopens its doors | Polarjournal
From the outside, Arctic Station looks more like a Danish farm. But after the renovations, the station, which is more than 100 years old, is a state-of-the-art research facility where climate research teams and other scientific branches can devote themselves to their field work. Image: Arctic Station

Greenland is at the forefront of polar research, offering virtually everything the Arctic has. That’s why early on, scientists had secured places on the world’s largest island to conduct research on a wide variety of polar topics. One of the oldest stations on Greenland certainly is the Arctic Station of the University of Copenhagen. It has now reopened its doors to science teams from around the world after a lengthy closure for modernization work. And the run on the station is enormous.

More than 100 researchers from around the world plan to use the University of Copenhagen’s Arctic Station as a base for their scientific purposes again after its long closure, the university reports. “In the Arctic, warming is developing up to four times faster than in the rest of the world and thus interest in research in Greenland has almost exploded with visits from teams from Denmark, the Nordic countries and Greenland,” explains station manager Morten Rasch. “Of course, teams are also coming here from other major research nations such as the U.S., Germany and Japan. And they all need modern infrastructures.”

Modernization of the infrastructure was also the reason why the Arctic Station, built in 1906, could not be used for some time. The last real modernization work was carried out in 1979/80 and was no longer up to date. In addition, the station was also too small to handle the increased interest in Greenland by the research world. There was not enough accommodation available, nor enough space for the new more modern scientific equipment in the workshops and storage buildings. Therefore, in 2018 it was decided to give the station a complete makeover.

The work included on the one hand the laboratories, which have been refurbished to be brighter and more modern. The latest technology will help researchers process and analyze some of their samples and data collected in the field directly at the station, rather than sending them to their own university for cumbersome processing. In addition to biological work, climatologists, glaciologists, geographers and numerous other branches of research also have the opportunity to pursue their questions in the middle of the Arctic. Not only laboratories are available for this purpose, but also a dedicated research vessel, the “Porsild”, named after the station’s founder Morten Pedersen Porsild. The 15-meter vessel is equipped with some research equipment, but can also take guests on day trips. Also available are inflatable boats and snowmobiles and a truck. Storage facilities for equipment were also expanded and modernized.

But also the times next to the scientific work were thought of during the reconstruction work. The number of beds was increased from 26 to 39, the living and common areas were made brighter, friendlier and more modern, and Internet connections were improved. This is an important aspect, especially during the winter months when the station is also manned. It also allows research teams to share their data with the rest of the research world. This is especially important because the station has a long history of data collection on climate. As early as 1904, the zoologist and later Nobel Prize laureat August Krogh showed that the air of Greenland had much higher CO2 concentrations than the sea off Qeqertasuaq. “He explained that the high levels of carbon dioxide in the air were probably a result of the burning of coal of early industrialization and therefore recognized the existence of the greenhouse effect very early on,” says Morten Rasch. This shows that Arctic Station has a long research tradition, which now with a new coat of paint will provide scientists with a basis to meet the challenges of current climate research.

Dr Michael Wenger, PolarJournal

Link to the station’s website for more information

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