IKKA expedition 2021
What a challenging year to carry out fieldwork in Greenland! Despite many obstacles such as covid-19 restrictions, bad weather, (too) heavy luggage, engine failure, and technical problems on Air Greenland’s Airbus, we managed to get all people to Greenland and back again with some delays. Due to all these obstacles, this was also the year of changing plans every 5-10 minutes to adapt to the situation. I have never experienced such a ‘crazy’ field season before both weather-wise and from not being able to do long-term planning. The IKKA crew this year consisted of geophysicist Paul Seaman from the UK, marine geologist Richard Gyllencreutz, geophysicist Erik Sturkell, and oceanographer Bengt Liljebladh from Sweden, diver/biologist Uli Kunz and diver/marine archaeologist Florian Huber from Germany, and then myself, a geochemist from Denmark. In addition, we had the company of Claudia Ruby and Steffen from German film company Gruppe5/ZDF the first couple of days. The aim this year was to do 1) geophysical measurements of the sediment layer with a sub-bottom profiler, 2) make oceanographic profiles with an Idronaut CTD probe and retrieve dataloggers deployed by Jesper Højdal in June, 3) take samples of the same three ikaite columns sampled in 2019, 4) supplement water samples from rivers and streams, and 5) make film recordings both above and under water for the program Terra X, featured by ZDF. Thus, several projects to coordinate and make sure every one got a chance to carry out the research they had planned. Because of consistent bad weather with rain and strong winds, we had to stay the whole period at Grønnedal Navy Base instead of establishing a camp in Ikka Fjord. Furthermore, we had to call in assistance from locals in Arsuk to help us with boat transports to supplement the Targa boat from Blue Ice Explorer. This luckily turned out really well, and we are super grateful for the help from Kunuk Albrechtsen and Jonathan Rasmussen from Arsuk and their speedy Poca boats! Many thanks also to Morten, Torben and Henrik at Grønnedal for hosting and helping us! This ensured we could at least dry ourselves and the instruments over night.
All in all, we managed to do almost all we had planned to do. Uli and Florian took spectacular photos under water that shows biology is still at play on at least some of the ikaite columns. We sincerely hope the biologists will get a chance to return to Ikka Fjord soon and make a new inventory on the biological life on the columns. Thanks to all who helped and contributed to this year’s fieldwork and not least our financial sponsors the Bolin Centre for Climate Research, Aase og Jørgen Münters Fond, Aage V. Jensens Fonde, and the Research Fund at the University of Iceland!