Journalist Experience in Greenland
on Her Paid Internship!
When it was too cloudy
to fly, we had the day off. The town we were in, Kangerlussuaq,
is the home of Greenland's major international airport, and that's
about it. There was also a restaurant, a grocery store and a paved
road that ran down to the port and past the hotel.
One day, several scientists,
a pilot and I followed a dirt road to the edge of the nearest glacier
and hiked along the face. Sharp ridges of blue ice clashed with
the blue of the sky, and deep booms from the volatile glacier alerted
us to keep our distance.
We sat down to watch
a spot that seemed particularly likely to break apart soon, and
several small falls confirmed this. So we sat, staring intently
at the behemoth before us. A stream of melting ice roared along
the edge of the sheet to the fjord and eventually into the sea.
After looking down at the ice sheet from 1,600 meters, seeing it
loom above me helped put the incomprehensible size into perspective,
although I still have a hard time imagining how much ice actually
fits into a sheet 3 kilometers thick and covering eighty percent
The crack I had been
staring at continued to widen almost imperceptibly. Small pieces
of ice broke from the face and dropped into the water, and then
without warning, the entire face of the glacier split off and thundered
to the ground. The huge chunk broke apart and the impact sent a
wave of water and projectiles hurtling into the. The reverberations
echoed across the rocks. That huge piece, which could have smashed
a large house, was simply an immeasurably small fraction of the
ice sheet it broke from. The weight of thousands of miles of ice
was pushing that glacier toward the ocean. If all that ice melted,
it would put Florida under water.
Scientists are only
beginning to understand the polar ice sheets and how they are changing.
The KU scientists will work the rest of the summer analyzing the
data they gathered, then they will improve their radars and come
back next year to continue the unending process of scientific inquiry.
Her Thoughts Before She Left