Visiting Swiss Camp
This research station was founded in 1990 by Swiss climatologist Dr. Konrad Steffen. That same year, the first automated weather station was built and marked the beginning of Greenland Climate Network (GC-Net), which has been measuring the ice and the atmosphere for nearly 30 years. In the 90’s, there was very little talk about global warming. Today, climate change is a pressing topic and Swiss Camp has become one of the most important climate research stations and with its state-of-the-art technology measures hourly the conditions of Greenland’s ice sheets and its altering state.
On the large expanse of the ice sheet, the researchers are rebuilding a weather station that fell during a storm, which measured 150 km/hr. Most equipment remained intact under the snow. Konrad Steffen’s group maintains 18 weather stations throughout Greenlands Ice Cap. Each station measures temperature, wind speed and direction, snow level and GPS location.
Swiss Camp is located on a slope, therefore the winds are strong and constant. The snow drift changes the landscape around the camp on a daily basis, and shoveling snow takes up a big part of the day.
At midnight at Swiss Camp, the temperatures drop to -18 Celsius and people retire to their tents and into the comfort of their down sleeping bags. Some of us had to climb out of the tent to warm up the frozen ‘hot’ water bottle. Others had to get up midnight to take care of business…