Dark Snow Project at 5 Years: Looking Back

May 19, 2017


Poking around the Dark Snow Project Facebook page – came across this picture I had not seen before, taken by Mackenzie Skiles during the first Dark Snow expedition, in 2013.

That’s myself with Jason Box, at the apex of our stay in Greenland, we caught a break in the weather, and managed to Chopper-sprint up to a place called Saddle – the geographic center of the southern Greenland Ice Sheet – where not too many people go. In fact, Jason told us that he had set up the small weather station there 15 years previously, having traversed in via snow machine over a hundred kilometers or so from the nearest Science Station. So far as he knew, no one had ever gone there via chopper.


I looked back into the archives to recap our arrival in Greenland that year – late June 2013.

Dark Snow Settles into Greenland Base:
houseThe Dark Snow project Science and media team has set up shop  in a small cabin on the outskirts of Sisimiut, on the coast of Greenland.

Scientists Jason Box and Marek Stibal, along with myself,  will be working pushing out communications, video, still pictures, and narrative over the next several days, while we wait for the remainder of the scientific team to arrive, and for our helicopter transportation situation to clarify.  Our originally contracted helicopter provider has been hamstrung by the Danish regulatory system for now, and we were able to fly this week by making a last minute arrangement.  Plans for the coming days are being re-evaluated on a daily, and even hourly basis.

Dr. Stibal will be heading home tomorrow, as his samples so far indicates that the glacier-based organisms he has been sampling may be at a more advanced growth stage when he returns in August.  Dr. Box is busy reviewing budget and planning items, and working with me to go thru the large amount of video and stills we have already acquired, as well as create more interviews and voice-over for an expanding number of interested media outlets.


We’ve seen sunshine, rain, snow and fog, sometimes all within the same hour.
The only condition that has not changed radically in recent days has been the sun, which is always circling the arctic sky, and when the clouds part, dazzlingly bright.


Sisimiut varies wildly between spectacular physical scenery,  incongruous and unexpected human dwellings clinging precariously to the outlying rocks, bustling traffic and  dreary public housing in the city center.  The temperatures have ranged from comfortably cool to biting cold, and today we had snow, that fell but did not stick. The wind comes and goes, but generally remains not far out of mind or ear. Enormous Ravens haunt the rocks around our tiny cottage, babbling as we come in and out, and occasionally bursting out of the shadows with ponderous Tolkeinesque flapping.


Marek Stibal and Jason Box share lunch and pensive moments as they plan the next moves for the Dark Snow project.


As President Obama, onscreen, delivers his policy address on climate change, Marek Stibal listens quietly in the main room of our Sisimiut, Greenland base.


Houses cling to rocky hillsides near the Dark Snow base.


Fog descends over historic buildings in central Sisimiut.


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