Research Projects

A wide variety of research projects have been conducted at Summit Station since 1989. Initially established as a 'camp' for the collection of the Greenland Ice Sheet Project II (GISP2) ice core, seasonal campaigns were established to measure atmospheric components to improve the interpretation of the ice core records. The value of the location was readily recognized and further intensive measurement campaigns were initiated on a seasonal basis. Since that time, Summit Station has become an Arctic 'flagship' station as part of the Arctic Observing Network (AON) and the International Arctic Systems for Observing the Atmosphere (IASOA) network.

The following project summaries are developed from plans that are submitted every year to CPS. The data presented in the summaries below is from the Arctic Research Mapping Application (ARMAP). Use the filter below to view the research projects by project season.

 
Displaying 1 - 6 of 6

AON: Atmospheric Tracers for Arctic Wildfires, Air Pollution, Atmospheric Chemistry, and Climate Change at GEOSummit, Greenland (Award# 1822406)

PI Institute/Department Email
Wiedinmyer, Christine
U of Colorado, Boulder, Cooperative Institute for Research in Environmental Science
Science Summary

Climate warming in the Arctic has been occurring at a 2-3 higher rate than in any other environment on Earth. There has been an increase in tundra wildfire occurrences in coastal Greenland in recent years, setting a new all-time record in summer 2017. A growing body of literature suggests that this increase in arctic wildfires is largely due to drier summer conditions from increasing temperatures, increasing length of the snow-cover free season, and increased lightning, all of which are linked to the arctic warming. This project focuses on the study of emissions from arctic tundra wildfires. Chemical tracers of wildfires, including carbon monoxide, methane, and a series of volatile organic compounds will be monitored in the atmosphere at the Greenland Environmental Observatory at Summit (GEOSummit), which, while considered one of the most pristine and remote locations in the Northern Hemisphere, has previously been shown to receive fire plumes from coastal Greenland and other arctic regions further away. Observations will be applied in modeling research to assess the impacts of the increasing frequency and geographical extent of fires on the arctic environment and lower latitudes. This project will deliver continuous high time resolution data for wildfire emission and climate forcing atmospheric constituents at GEOSummit. All data will be submitted to the Arctic Data Center for worldwide dissemination. Data analyses and modeling will improve assessments of fire emissions and their environmental and climate impacts. Results and interpretations will be presented in university class room teaching, seminars, at conferences, and in peer-reviewed journal publications. Observations will make a pivotal contribution to the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) Global Atmospheric Watch (GAW) program. This research will also contribute to the following programs: Study of Environmental Arctic Change (SEARCH), Cryosphere and Atmospheric Chemistry (CATCH), Pollution in the Arctic: Climate, Environment and Societies (PACES), and the international Year of Polar Prediction (YOPP). It addresses the need for ‘long-term atmospheric measurements’, as stipulated in the Report on the Future of Atmospheric Chemistry Research to NSF.

Collaborative Research: Improving research coordination for Summit Station and the Dry-Snow Zone of Greenland

PI Institute/Department Email
Hawley, Robert
Dartmouth College, Department of Earth Sciences
Dibb, Jack
U of New Hampshire, Institute for the Study of Earth, Oceans, and Space
Walden, Von
Washington State University, Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering
Science Summary

Summit Station (72N, 38W, 3250 m.a.s.l.) hosts the Greenland Environmental Observatory, a cooperation between the National Science Foundation and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration with permission from the Danish Commission for Scientific Research in Greenland to provide long-term environmental measurements. Summit is the only year-round, high-elevation, free-tropospheric, inland environmental observatory in the Arctic, and fills a unique niche in the international scientific community's global observing system. The Summit Station Science Coordination Office is an advisory body that serves the scientific community, the National Science Foundation's Arctic Research Support and Logistics Program and the Arctic Research Support & Logistics Services contractor by making recommendations about ways to accommodate or mitigate conflicting requests from different science teams working at Summit and suggesting ways that projects might reduce their logistical footprint. The Science Coordination Office also suggests science-based priorities for capital investments by the National Science Foundation at Summit. The Science Coordination Office strives to develop a true community of Summit users through open communication and by encouraging shared use of resources and key data sets. It also endeavors to focus the Summit community on the transformative questions identified by the participants at the Summit Station Science Summit in March 2017 and encourages the community to synthesize available data to identify innovative approaches to address these knowledge gaps. The Science Coordination Office advances discovery and understanding of processes acting across the interior of the Greenland Ice Sheet while promoting teaching, training, and learning. New features of the GEO Summit website, aimed specifically at new Principal Investigators, will provide rich web content for interested students and the general public. Over the next three years opportunities to interface with the new Greenland Climate Research Centre in Nuuk and add website content tailored to Greenlandic students and researchers will be actively pursued. The ability to quickly link to content about Summit Station will enable outreach programs by Summit researchers to increase their impact. Much effort in this project will be placed towards encouraging broad dissemination of results to enhance scientific and technical understanding. This will be accomplished by continuing to provide a clearinghouse for accessing Summit data, an extensive Summit bibliography, and a detailed list of planning activities to avoid duplicate collection of data at Summit. The Science Coordination Office will also provide greater visibility to the broader community by chairing sessions at international meetings and hosting data workshops that focus on Greenland.

EAGER: An On-ice GNSS Research Experimental Network for Greenland (Award# 2028421)

PI Institute/Department Email
Hawley, Robert
Dartmouth College, Department of Earth Sciences
Science Summary

In understanding the large-scale changes of the Greenland Ice Sheet, wide coverage is needed. While aircraft and satellites produce extensive elevation-change datasets, and regional climate models predict snowfall at high resolution, both systems require calibration and validation by on-the-ice means. Hence, there is a need for extensive on-ice elevation survey data in Greenland, typically collected using the Global Positioning System (GPS). Ground-based traverses have been highly successful in collecting such on-ice information. Similarly, on-ice static GPS stations have been installed for short-term glaciology projects. Both approaches, however, suffer significant drawbacks. The first is cost. Ground traverses are logistically complex and expensive. For traditional static stations, the high cost is associated with the hardware and the transport of large numbers of batteries due to the power required to run these stations through the dark winter. The second is limitations in spatial and temporal coverage. Traverses offer excellent spatial coverage, but temporally only a single snapshot in time over the traverse route. Conversely, static stations offer excellent temporal resolution, but operate at a fixed point and thus limited spatial resolution. This project will create a dense network of static on-ice GPS stations in Greenland. New GPS technology allows for a reduction in costs by leveraging the newest generation of chipsets, which offer extremely low power consumption. While currently unproven for collecting science data on ice sheets, these chipsets are now integrated in the current generation of Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) and, when operated using Real Time Kinematic (RTK) corrections in these situations, claim centimeter-scale positioning accuracy. Over three phases, the project will 1) install a network of stations in the study area; 2) develop a standalone GNSS receiver station for deployment outside the original network; and 3) deploy a wider network of stations on the Greenland Ice Sheet. This project will also integrate research and education by supporting a graduate student who will be actively involved in all aspects of the project, and by partnering with the Women in Science Project to train a first-year female undergraduate student during a 20-week internship in each year of the project.

Partnerships for polar science education and outreach in Greenland (JSEP) and Antarctica (JASE) (Award# 1748137)

PI Institute/Department Email
Culler, Lauren Elizabeth
Dartmouth College, Institute of Arctic Studies
Science Summary
Earth's polar regions are undergoing rapid changes that have relevance to the entire world. Scientists are working to understand the causes and consequences of this change and have a critical role in communicating their findings with diverse stakeholders. The pace of polar change demands continuous investment in training and educating the next generation of polar professionals who are prepared to be leaders in academia, government, industry, and policy. The Joint Science Education Project (JSEP) and the Joint Antarctic School Expedition (JASE) are two NSF-sponsored, polar-focused programs that provide significant opportunities for training the next generation of STEM professionals and for polar-science outreach. JSEP, a project of the Joint Committee, was initiated in 2007 to educate students and teachers from Greenland, Denmark, and the U.S. The program brings US students together with Danish and Greenlandic students in Greenland where the group spends three weeks studying the causes and consequences of Arctic environmental change. JASE, a project in collaboration with the Chilean Antarctic Institute (INACH), takes U.S. students to Antarctica to work alongside Chilean students and examine Antarctica's rapidly changing ecosystems. Dartmouth will organize a nation-wide application process to select high school student participants each year and will work with the international program coordinators to design student activities and learning experiences. In addition to coordinating each field-based program for U.S. high school students, Dartmouth will work to broaden the impact of these programs by sending a team of graduate student and faculty researchers with polar field experience to lead scientific components of JSEP and JASE, work with Greenlandic and Chilean educators to disseminate JSEP and JASE polar science outcomes to local audiences during the field-based expeditions, adapt JSEP and JASE polar science field activities for use in U.S. and international classrooms, provide training in cross-cultural science communication for diverse audiences to Dartmouth graduate students and the campus community, and assess skill- and content-based outcomes for high school and graduate student participants in JSEP and JASE. Societal benefits include building international networks of students, educators, stakeholders, future leaders, and polar scientists; diversifying the US polar scientific workforce, and generating polar science educational tools and modules that are freely accessible to students and teachers in multiple languages. This program addresses national priorities by developing a U.S. scientific workforce that is knowledgeable about the Arctic and the Antarctic, regions that are of growing importance to U.S. economic development and national security. The Joint Committee, a high-level government forum between the U.S., Greenlandic, and Danish governments, initiated JSEP during the International Polar Year in 2007. Since its inception, high school students and teachers from Greenland, Denmark, and the U.S. have traveled to Greenland to participate in two JSEP educational programs, Kangerlussuaq Science Field School and Science and Education Week. In 2013, the Chilean Antarctic Institute (INACH), invited the United States to participate in their Expedición Antártica Escolar (EAE), a program to promote awareness and appreciation of Antarctica in young Chileans. Both JSEP and JASE aim to 1) educate and inspire the next generation of polar scientists, 2) build strong networks of students, teachers and researchers among the participating countries, and 3) improve language and communication skills by taking teams of students to the polar regions to share in polar science activities. Dartmouth will conduct assessments of outcomes for the current high school students and graduate student polar fellows as well as surveys of alumni from previous U.S., Danish, Greenlandic, and Chilean participants.

Radio Neutrino Observatory in Greenland

PI Institute/Department Email
Vieregg, Abigail
U of Chicago, Department of Physics
Science Summary

The Radio Neutrino Observatory in Greenland (RNO-G) will be a large ground-based radio array at Summit Station, with the goal of making the first detection of the highest-energy astrophysical neutrinos. RNO-G will be an array of 35 radio detectors spread in a 1.25 km grid. Each array site includes three strings of 15 antennas deployed 100 m below the surface of the ice and another set of 9 antennas on the surface. Renewable-energy-powered array sites will be wirelessly connected via a local LTE cellular network to allow communications to Summit Station and onward to physicists in the US and Europe. The array sites will be calibrated both with transmitters deployed at each site as well as with a transmitter deployed into the DISC borehole during summer fieldwork.

SAO Board - DV trip going to Thule, Summit, Kanger, Ilulissat (Award# SAOBoard)

PI Institute/Department Email
Hogan, Sarah Elizabeth
Harvard-Smithsonian Center For Astrophysics
Science Summary
The key objectives of Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory (SAO) 12m radio antenna research are to provide direct confirmation of a Super Massive Black Hole (SMBH) by observing it in the active galaxy M87. It is currently surveying Thule Air Base’s (TAB’s) atmospheric opacity at 230 GHz. Deployment at TAB enables the team to test functionality, measure characteristics, make critical adjustments and observe astronomical sources.