GREENLAND ICERIVER2017 EXPEDITION SUCCESSFULLY ENDS
-Polar eco-vehicle WindSled managed to transport more than 2300 kg (5071 lbs) of cargo, partly scientific
-Investigators from 12 countries received the expeditionary at scientific facility EastGRIP
-Data collected on climate change demonstrates its potential as a scientific platform
23rd JUNE.– After 28 days and 1200 km (746 mi) traveled, the WindSled finalized yesterday afternoon, June 22nd, the Greenland Ice River Expedition 2017 after its arrival to the starting point, the town of Kangerlussuaq. The five expeditionary crew members, led by Ramon Larramendi, have collected data for international scientific projects on the journey from the southwest coast of the Arctic island to scientific EastGRIP base near the northwest, demonstrating the research potential of the convoy in the Arctic and Antarctica.
The vehicle, powered by large kites, is a design by Larramendi that allows thousands of miles of travel through polar territories, adapting perfectly to terrain conditions, with zero pollutant emissions and very high efficiency.
Ice River Expedition arrived to EastGRIP on the 20th, an installation located on the same ice current in which the crew has spent the past week doing various jobs. From there, on Thursday, an aircraft took them to Kangerlussuaq, the same departure point of last May 25th, but then arriving by helicopter. “An expedition in which the WindSled has not had one single technical problem and we have, thus, fulfilled all our plans. Good weather has accompanied, but, it is evident this vehicle serves to develop clean and efficient science in polar territories, a fact Australian-American scientist, Ross Edwards, expeditionary member, has verified on the ground, “Larramendi pointed out upon arrival to Kangerlussuaq.
During the expedition data has been collected for five different international scientific projects, all related to the impacts of Arctic melting, its origin and its consequences. To the adventure of crossing a practically unknown territory, an added challenge of obtaining fundamental information so that climate models conform as much as possible to reality. The experience has also served to define new improvements in the convoy, especially in terms of device energy supply, which is obtained by solar panels, and the design of the kite controls.
The five participating expeditionary were Ramón Larramendi, Australian scientist Ross Edwards, polar guide Hilo Moreno, audiovisual producer Nacho García, and Greenlander Jens Jacob Simonsen. The WindSled has been completely dismantled inside the scientific base, waiting for possible new expeditions that could be carried out from this point next year and for new research projects.
The first 10 days of the journey, the expeditionary headed north of Greenland, ascending 1012 m (3320 ft), from 2000 m (6561 ft ) to 3012 m (9881 ft) in altitude, with a cargo of 2000 kg (4400 lbs), increased by the weight of the snow samples collected by Edwards. In this manner, on each stop he would drill holes of a maximum depth of 2.5 m (8 ft) from which to obtain samples and information, mainly for the Dark Snow and Ice2Ice Projects.
Once at the highest elevation point in Greenland, they encountered the ice flow that begins on the other side, the Northeast Greenland Ice Stream (NEGIS), which is estimated to advance about 100 m (328 ft) per year by dragging large ice masses to the ocean and which, at present, is being studied at EastGRIP. For another nine days, they stopped every 20 km (12.4 mi), to complete a total of 12 holes. In addition, they collected polar air samples and GPR (ground penetrating radar) data, of up to 25 m (82 ft) in depth.
Although during the whole scientific adventure the meteorology has been propitious, they have withstood temperatures down to -28 º C ( -18.4 º F) at night; During the day they have registered temperatures close to thaw of -2.5 º C (27.5 º F). Weather forecasters at the State Meteorological Agency (AEMET) provided predictions with great precision.
On arrival to the EastGRIP facility, which now has 36 scientists from 12 nationalities, they had the opportunity to offer a conference to explain the origin and development of the Inuit WindSled Project and its potential. “There is great interest in its possibilities,” affirms Larramendi.
The leading scientists who have collaborated in Greenland Ice River 2017 Expedition are, besides Edwards, Jason Box (Denmark Geological Survey), Paul Travis Vallelonga (University of Copenhagen), Francisco Navarro and Javier Lapazaran (Universidad Politécnica de Madrid), Antonio Quesada and Ana Justel (Universidad Autónoma de Madrid), Javier Sanz, Sergi González and Francisco Vasallo (AEmet), and Dr. Daniel Pérez del Castillo.
The expedition is sponsored by Tasermiut South Greenland Expeditions and supported by the EastGRIP base.