Before you take off to the arctic, just one more thing


Contact
Coen.Hofstede [ at ] awi.de

Abstract

The two largest ice sheets of the Earth are the Greenland Ice Sheet and the Antarctic Ice Sheet whereby the ice volume of Antarctica ten times larger is then that of Greenland. What are these ice sheets really made of, is it just ice on a continent or is there more to it? To check that out, I was dropped on the East coast of Greenland in April 1997 with the intention to traverse the ice cap in a 900km track. Five days before I had worked under the burning sun of Australia, the transition was pretty brutal. Naïve and inexperienced as we were, we headed West and after many days, many reckless and often scary adventures, we arrived at the West coast just North of Jakobshavn Isbrae, an ice stream that moves 40m per day. Seeing the gigantic ice stream gives some idea about the Achilles heel of ice sheets and inspired me to become a Glaciologist. To find out that size is relative we were hungry for more and more we got in November 1998 when we were the first expedition flying over the Indian Ocean from South Africa to East Antarctica. Of course the pilots were Russian, brave enough to put an Ilyushin plane on the blue ice of Dronning Maud Land. We had three months to cross the continent, some 3800km. After 63 days and many set backs, we arrived at the South Pole base Admundsen-Scott as the first two Dutchmen who made it just by man-power. I would like to reflect on these unreal trips and at the same time give some background information on these large ice sheets.



Item Type
Conference (Invited talk)
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Peer revision
Not peer-reviewed
Publication Status
Published
Event Details
Sub Zero, High Potential: Exploring the Oceans and the Arctic, 26 Nov 2012 - 30 Nov 2012, Delft.
Eprint ID
31891
Cite as
Hofstede, C. (2012): Before you take off to the arctic, just one more thing , Sub Zero, High Potential: Exploring the Oceans and the Arctic, Delft, 26 November 2012 - 30 November 2012 .


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