June 17, 2013

Matt Kennedy, Northern Hemisphere Program Manager, Extreme Ice Survey

I am Matt Kennedy, the Northern Hemisphere Project Manager for the Extreme Ice Survey and Earth Vision Trust. For the past four years I’ve been responsible for turning our gigantic pile of time-lapse images into polished videos of glaciological history; however, over the last year or so, I’ve had the pleasure of stepping away from the computer to revisit and install cameras at sites that I had previously only seen digitally.

I’ve been fortunate to travel a fair bit in my life, and every time I’ve flown over the pond to Europe and back, instead of sleeping, my eyes are usually glued to the window, trying to get a peek at the glaciers and ice-covered mountains of Greenland. I’m fascinated by the landscape. Although I’ve seen Greenland several times from 36,000 feet, been aboard a ship locked in sea ice directly connected to the northeast coast only 5 degrees of longitude away, held 40,000-year-old ice cored from the depths of the ice sheet, and sifted through tens of thousands of images from the Extreme Ice Survey time-lapse cameras, I’ve never actually set foot on land in Greenland—until now.

This morning, peeking out of the window of my Air Greenland flight from Copenhagen, the view means something different. I’m not just passing by. Thousands of rivers of sapphire-blue meltwater instantly remind me that I’m here to see the ice up close. More specifically, the purpose of my trip is to make sure the EIS time-lapse cameras continue to record the story of the Jakobshavn Glacier, a large tidewater glacier on the west coast of Greenland.

Today, sitting in a small hotel room in Kangerlussuaq, I’m mostly getting settled and trying to figure out which time zone I’m in—Mountain time? Copenhagen time? Twenty-four-hours-of-daylight Greenland time? Tomorrow, or whenever the weather permits, I’ll head north from town about 300 km to visit and replace our cameras at the glacier. These trusty Nikon D200 camera bodies have been playing peek-a-boo with Jakobshavn every hour of daylight for nearly six years; it’s time for them to take their leave. With any luck, our new battalion of Nikon D3200 cameras will take the lead in capturing the retreat of that 10 km-wide gigantic river of ice.

Matt Kennedy, Extreme Ice Survey

Matt Kennedy, Extreme Ice Survey

Matt Kennedy, Northern Hemisphere Program Manager, Extreme Ice Survey

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