Rain falls at the summit of Greenland Ice Sheet for first time on record

Kasha Patel | Capital Weather Gang, The Washington Post
Greenland just experienced another massive melt event this year. But this time, something unusual happened. It also rained at the summit of the ice sheet, nearly two miles above sea level. Around 6 a.m. Saturday, staff at the National Science Foundation’s Summit Station woke up to raindrops and water beads condensed on the station’s windows. Rain occasionally falls on the ice sheet, but no staff member recalls rain — even a light drizzle — ever occurring at the summit before. has become

Summit Science Coordination Office (SCO)

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WATSON's Field Test in Greenland

During 2019 field tests near Greenland's Summit Station, a high-elevation remote observing station, the WATSON (Wireline Analysis Tool for the Subsurface Observation of Northern ice sheets) instrument is put through its paces to seek out signs of life, or biosignatures, 360 feet (110 meters) down a borehole.

NY Air National Guard's 109th Airlift Wing mounting critical resupply mission in Greenland

Jaclyn Lyons | New York National Guard
STRATTON AIR NATIONAL GUARD BASE, N.Y. -- The 109th Airlift Wing will launch a three-week mission to carry critical supplies to Summit Station, the only year-round science station that operates on the Greenland ice cap on August 4th. Three LC-130 Skibirds, supported by 20 aircrew members and 40 maintenance Airmen from Stratton Air National Guard Base in Scotia, New York, will be delivering 280,000 pounds of fuel, around 40,000 gallons, and 30,000 pounds of food and other supplies in the shortened three week season.

Highlights of 2019 at Summit

Summit Science Coordination Office (SCO)

Is the surface snow melting more often at Summit Station? Insights from the NSF-funded ICECAPS project.

In the early 1990s, the Greenland Ice Sheet Project (GISP-2) drilled a deep ice core at Summit Station that was over 3000 meters. This ice core revealed clues of past climate of both the Arctic region and the entire Earth. One analysis examined the ice core for particular layers that signified when the surface snow at Summit had melted. The result was that these “melt events” are rare. In fact, only about 50 melt events have occurred at Summit in the past 10,000 years. And over the past 3000 years, they have only occurred once in roughly every 250 years.

Summit Station Season Updates - Summer 2018

Summit Science Coordination Office (SCO)

Record winds and bear visit present new environmental challenges

Summit Station wrapped up the 2018 summer after a season marked with weather and wildlife challenges. Feb 24, 2018 saw the highest recorded wind speed at Summit, as the NOAA weather station registered gusts of 104 knots (sustained wind speeds of 71 knots). The Summit winter-over four person crew, the science instruments, and the camp infrastructure weathered the storm with very few problems, save for a lot of digging.

Summit Transitions from Summer to Winter Operations

Summit Science Coordination Office (SCO)
Summit camp staff, with help from visitors from Denver and SCO, have shut down all summer buildings and relocated them to berms. Final flight of the summer season on 28 August brought 7 DV’s lead by the US Ambassador to Denmark, Carla Sands, up to Summit for a site visit.

Polar Bears Appear Where They Never Were Before

Cheryl Katz | National Geographic
Ryan Kunz was sleeping in his tent on the ice when the polar bear wandered into camp. At 10,500 feet high, in the middle of the Greenland Ice Sheet more than 200 miles from the nearest coast, the remote U.S. scientific research station was about the last place anyone expected one of these sea ice-dwelling animals to be. Yet here it was, lumbering around the National Science Foundation’s (NSF) Summit Station, the highest-altitude, northernmost science operation in the Arctic, where key meteorology and other research is conducted. Kunz, a carpenter from Florida, was one of the half-dozen or so workers sleeping in “Tent City”—a collection of orange domes atop snow glinting in the June 24-hour sunlight. It was 5:13 a.m.

Summit Station, Greenland Science Users Meeting at 2017 Fall AGU Meeting

Summit Science Coordination Office (SCO)
The Summit Station research community is invited to attend the Summit Station Users Group Meeting on Thurs, Dec. 14, at 8am in the ARCUS Arctic Community Meeting Room Riverside I on the second floor of the Hampton Inn and Suites New Orleans-Convention Center hotel.

Envisioning and Sustaining Science at Summit Station, Greenland

Laura Koenig, Bruce Vaughn and Jack Dibb | Eos
Summit Station, in the center of the Greenland ice sheet, is a vibrant interdisciplinary research hub that has served as a crucial component of the Arctic observing system for nearly 3 decades. This station has yielded numerous scientific insights, but operating Summit and similar remote stations is resource intensive. Keeping these stations at the cutting edge of scientific research requires strategic planning and scientific vision. Earlier this year, the National Science Foundation supported and hosted a planning session to update the scientific vision and direction for Summit Station. A multidisciplinary group of about 30 scientists, including remote participants, reviewed science activities at Summit, defined future scientific research questions and goals, and made community-based recommendations on science-enabling future scenarios and governance.