As the Ice Leaves, Greenland Becomes Green

Kulusuk, Greenland
Puppies with sled dog mom in Kulusuk, Greenland

This summer I had the opportunity to travel to Greenland with the Earth Science department. We had an incredible trip and got to see a lot of ice. Climate change is readily apparent in the landscape and in speaking with the locals. One man local to the small settlement of Kulusuk told us that the dog sledding season used to last from September until June, now they usually can’t start until late October and are ending in early May, a drastic change for this culture. Even though the season is getting shorter, families still train dogs to sled. This picture shows a mom with two new born pups, there were also more in her litter under her belly.




Tidewater glacier near Kulusuk, Greenland
Tidewater glacier near Kulusuk, Greenland

One our first full day of hiking we were able to see a glacier that has been studied by some Danish scientists for many years, Mittivakkat Glacier. There is a great deal of scientific literature on the subject, some of which can be found here. We were only able to see one small tongue of the glacier shown in the photograph. For more information on this glacier see journal articles here.


Apusiaajik Tidewater Glacier near Kulusk, Greenland
Apusiaajik Tidewater Glacier near Kulusk, Greenland


The most striking glacial feature we saw was an incredible tide water glacier, about 30 minutes from Kulusuk by boat. The Apusiaajik Glacier is retreating. While there is currently no scientific literature on the glacier, locals say that it is just in the past 5 years that the rock in the middle of the photograph above has become exposed. This is consistent with other glacial observation in the region that many “tide water glaciers” no longer reach the ocean.

All photographs taken by Will Kochtitzky, August 2014

2 Replies to “As the Ice Leaves, Greenland Becomes Green”

  1. Its amazing how drastically climate change is affecting settlements in the arctic. I’m interested whether you have more on what the people living in Greenland had to say concerning climate change, and how it has affected them. Its really interesting and powerful to hear what the people living in highly vulnerable places have to say about climate change.

  2. Yeah Joe, it is really nice to hear directly from people how climate change is already affecting them. I have another good story about farmers in Bolivia, they are finding it increasingly difficult to preserve their potato crops. I will try and do a blog post about that sometime as well. Do you have any such stories that would be good to share?

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