Planning for future Greenland Environmental Observatory

Date: 
7 September 1998

Dear Colleagues,

The U.S. National Science Foundation, in cooperation with
the Danish Commission for Scientific Research in Greenland
has initiated planning for a new Environmental Observatory
at the summit of the Greenland ice sheet. This would be a
year-round, multidisciplinary facility, offering the
opportunity for European and U.S. scientists to make
observations, do monitoring and carry out experiments
throughout the year.

This proposal for a new facility builds on the successful
year-round pilot project in which 4 individuals lived and
worked at Summit from August 1997 through May 1998. They made
measurements of atmospheric chemistry and energy balance, and
collected atmospheric and snow samples for analysis in U.S. and
European laboratories. This pilot project was part of the
continuing studies of atmospheric chemistry and atmosphere-snow
transfer functions that started during the drilling of the
GISP2 and GRIP ice cores.

Involvement of the scientific community in planning for the
proposed facility started with a May 1997 workshop in
Kangerlussuaq, Greenland. Preparation of a draft science plan
was initiated immediately after the workshop. At a subesquent
workshop in Copenhagen in February 1998, Torben Jorgensen of
the Danish Meteorological Institute and I were asked to prepare
a white paper and draft sceince plan for consideration by the
European Polar Board (EPB), the Danish Commission for Scientific
Research in Greenland, the U.S. National Science Foundation,
other governmental organizations and the scientific community.
Over 25 individual scientists contributed to preparation of the
plan. In August 1998 we submitted the plan to NSF and the EPB.
The EPB considered the plan at its August 27 meeting. The plan
was well recieved and the polar board supports it.

The plan is available at
http://www.hwr.arizona.edu/Alpine/Summit/observatory.html

The plan calls for the facility to be in place and have science
begin in the summer of 2000. It is likely that a European group
will prepare a proposal by spring 1999; the corresponding NSF
proposal deadline is February 1999. NSF is currently evaluating
budgets and sources of funding for the facility and the science
that would be carried out. Watch for updates.

We have set up a listserv for those who would like to receive
updates as plans develop. Information on joining the listserv is
on the above www page. Please send comments on the science plan to
me. Contact information for NSF and European colleagues is also on
the www page.

Roger Bales
Professor Interim Director
Department of Hydrology Institute for the Study
and Water Resources of Planet Earth
P.O. Box 210011 1439 E. Helen St.
University of Arizona University of Arizona
Tucson, AZ 85721-0011 Tucson, AZ 85721

Phone: 520 621 7113 520 621 9010
Fax: 520 621 1422 520 621 5004
Internet: roger@hwr.arizona.edu
Homepage: http://www.hwr.arizona.edu/~roger/roger_bales.html