How much snow falls in Greenland? Rick Forester, Evan Burgess, and Clément Miège (University of Utah) and Jason Box (The Ohio State University) are helping answer that question. Following a two-week put-in delay due to poor weather, the Icelandic volcano eruption, and aircraft issues, the group had twelve successful field days measuring snow accumulation on the southeastern Greenland Ice Sheet (GIS).
Their three-year project, the Arctic Circle Traverse 2010 (ACT 10), builds on similar work done in 2004, and will help fill a data gap with information critical to remote sensing, mass balance and ice sheet and climate modeling studies.
During their 700 km traverse, the team used a ground-penetrating radar to examine the top ~160 feet of snow. The radar uses electromagnetic waves to create an image of snow layers below the surface. By correlating their images to firn cores, they will be able to measure the amount of snow that has fallen in southeastern Greenland over the last 20-60 years.