Andrew Tedston doing his last dye injection of the season. A few days ago, my advisor called my satellite phone to let me know that in early July, something like 98 percent of the surface of the Greenland Ice Sheet was melting at once, or, as the media put it, “The entire Greenland Ice Sheet melted.” Although the Greenland Ice Sheet is still there, this year’s melting will be something to remember.During last year's melt season, Leverett Glacier’s catchment area probably lost about one-third as much ice as what is currently melting this summer.
Cat Lee (lower right) sampling the river at high discharge. The river coming out from beneath "our" glacier is running somewhere around 800 cubic meters per second, over twice what anyone’s measured in previous seasons.
NOTE: Just after finishing this and while brushing my teeth outside my tent, I almost ran into a couple of musk ox—or rather, they almost ran into me.
From the mess tent, we can hear huge boulders crashing through rapids half a kilometer away. The boulders sometimes sound like approaching footsteps, and as we’re all just a tiny bit nervous about an unlikely polar bear visit, conversations trail off and we listen.In the four years our camp has existed on this glacial river, more meltwater is spilling out from beneath Leverett Glacier than we’ve ever seen.
“Camp is like the seven plagues of Moses. We get here in May and there’s cold and snow, which turns to rain and wind by the end of the month, in June clouds of blood sucking mosquitoes come out, and in July the wind and dust comes back.” Jon Hawking It had been a very windy night, and the sound of nylon tents flapping in the wind had kept everyone awake.
An early-season river crossing. I knew something was wrong. I pulled my blindfold off, unzipped my sleeping bag and stared at the ceiling of my tent.
The river crossing in May last year before the annual melt made it unpassable. Over the past few months I lost sleep almost every night thinking about Greenland.
The moon rising over Leverett Glacier.) One night last summer, I rose from my bed, left my tent and walked to the river. It was well past midnight, a full moon had risen over the glacier and in the twilight of the Arctic summer night, I could make out a herd of musk ox grazing nearby.