gios Publications


Fig.: Marine container unit in the outer part of Young Sound (left) and terrestrial container unit inside the fjord near the Zackenberg Research Station (right) in NE Greenland (74N). The marine unit collects data from the meteorological mast in the background and from the fjord ca 1 km off the coast. The terrestrial container collects data from the meteorological mast in the foreground and from various installations in the landscape.

Rysgaard S, Bjerge K, Boone W, Frandsen E, Graversen M, Høye TTi, Jensen B, Johnen G, Jackowicz-Korczynski MA, Kerby JT, Kortegaard S, Mastepanov M, Melvad C, Mikkelsen PS, Mortensen K, Nørgaard C, Poulsen E, Riis T, Sørensen LL, Christensen TR (2022). A mobile observatory powered by sun and wind for near real time measurements of atmospheric, glacial, terrestrial, limnic and coastal oceanic conditions in remote off-grid areas. 2468-0672 / 2022 Published by Elsevier Ltd.

Abstract: Climate change is rapidly altering the Arctic environment. Although long-term environmental observations have been made at a few locations in the Arctic, the incomplete coverage from ground stations is a main limitation to observations in these remote areas. Here we present a wind and sun powered multi-purpose mobile observatory (ARC-MO) that enables near real time measurements of air, ice, land, rivers, and marine parameters in remote off-grid areas. Two test units were constructed and placed in Northeast Greenland where they have collected data from cabled and wireless instruments deployed in the environment since late summer 2021. The two units can communicate locally via WiFi (units placed 25 km apart) and transmit near-real time data globally over satellite. Data are streamed live and accessible from ( The cost of one mobile observatory unit is c. 304.000€. These test units demonstrate the possibility for integrative and automated environmental data collection in remote coastal areas and could serve as models for a proposed global observatory system.

Fig.: Automatic weather station (AWS) locations and the Watson River catchment appear on both panels. (a) An area of the western Greenland ice sheet on 20 August 2021 featured using a 1 km Sentinel-3 Ocean Land Color Instrument RGB image with inset 10 m Sentinel-2B true color images illustrating saturated snow and dark bare ice after the atmospheric river. (b) Greenland Climate Network and Program for the Monitoring of the Greenland ice sheet AWS locations and the expansion of wet snow area over 12-hr recorded by AMSR satellite passive microwave between August 13, 16 UTC and August 14, 04 UTC.

Box JE, Wehrlé A, van As, D, Fausto RS, Kjeldsen KK, Dachauer A, Ahlstrøm AP, and Picard G (2022). Greenland ice sheet rainfall, heat and albedo feedback impacts from the mid-August 2021 atmospheric River. Geophysical Research Letters, 49.

Abstract: Rainfall at the Greenland ice sheet Summit 14 August 2021, was delivered by an atmospheric river (AR). Extreme surface ablation expanded the all-Greenland bare ice area to near-record-high with snowline climbing up to 788 ± 90 m. Ice sheet wet snow extent reached 46%, a record high for the 15–31 August AMSR data since 2003. Heat-driven firn deflation averaged 0.14 ± 0.05 m at four accumulation area automatic weather stations (AWSs). Energy budget calculations from AWS data indicate that surface heating from rainfall is much smaller than from either the sensible, latent, net-longwave or solar energy fluxes. Sensitivity tests show that without the heat-driven snow-darkening, melt at 1,840 m would have totaled 28% less. Similarly, at 1,270 m elevation, without the bare ice exposure, melting would have been 51% less. Proglacial river discharge was the highest on record since 2006 for late August and confirms the melt-sustaining effect of the albedo feedback.

Video: Greenland Ice Sheet Atmospheric River – Rainfall, Heat and Albedo Feedback Impacts