Field Notes: The Polar Field Services Newsletter

News from Nuuk

A statue of Hans Egede keeps watch over Nuuk, Greenland's capital. The Scandanavian missionary brought modern colonization to Greenland in the 1720s--for good and ill (literally). Photo: Jason Buenning

As the U.S. summer research support program in Greenland came to an end last week, agency representatives assembled in Greenland’s picturesque capital of Nuuk for two days of meetings. The goal: to further coordinate U.S. research activities on the island, especially focused on changes resulting from Greenland’s increased self-governance effective in June of 2009 (an island in the Kingdom of Denmark, Greenland has gained increasing autonomy since voting for self-rule in 1979).

Leaders from several Greenlandic agencies met with program managers from the National Science Foundation’s arctic division, officers from the New York Air National Guard’s 109th Airlift Wing, and CH2M HILL Polar Services staff to discuss Greenland’s permitting policies, safety, field travel, and environmental regulations.

From left: Aviaja Marsilie Neumann Andersen, Dept. of Spatial Planning; Naja Holm, Section of Nature; Thomas Nielsen, Section of Nature; Brad Stefano, CPS safety; Maj. Paul Bernasconi, ANG; Mike McKibben, CPS head; Talea Weissang, Section of Nature; Sandy Starkweather, CPS Greenland management (outgoing); Stan Wisneski, CPS Greenland management (incoming); Elmer Topp-Jørgensen, Section of Nature - Special Advisor; Jason Buenning, CPS Greenland science planning. Photo: Brad Stefano

Though it’s home to only about 15,000 people, Nuuk is a thriving metropolis compared to other Greenland communities, more than doubling the population of the next-largest community.  “Nuuk is pretty crazy compared to anywhere else I’ve been in Greenland,” Jason Buenning wrote.  “Kanger it ain’t.  Even Ilulissat doesn’t really compare when it comes to amount of traffic and larger buildings…!   All the food we had was quite good, ($90USD dinner anyone?) and generally we drank beer that was brewed there in town (besides the random Carlsberg or Tuborg) and it was tasty and expensive.”

Jason Buenning captured this photo of fog burning off Stor Melina, the only time the sun appeared during the trip. "Within an hour, though, we were socked in again."

The quick trip afforded little time for sight-seeing, but Jason was able to squeeze in a quick peek at Santa's mailbox, located next to the hotel. Postmarks from 1996 are clearly visible in the window. Photo: Brad Stefano

–Kip Rithner

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