Northern Greenland research station gets major makeover

From shack to state-of-the-art in six weeks

A climate change research station in northernmost Greenland will be refitted and refurbished over a six-week period this summer.

All of the materials for the 650 sqm Defence Station Nord will be flown in from Venslev, a Zealand-based company that has been outfitting various polar-based companies since 1991. Currently, researchers studying air pollution and climate change at the station are forced to work out of a small shack with only enough space for a maximum of four researchers at any one time. Interest in Arctic research is exploding, and scientists working in the extreme north need better facilities and more elbow room.

“We are seeing great temperature increases and large changes in biological systems in the far north,” Professor Henrik Skov from Aarhus University told Ingeniøren newspaper.

The new base has been dubbed the Villum Research Station after the Villum Foundation, which has donated over 70 million kroner to the project. It will be able to house ten researchers year round and feature a 350 sqm combined laboratory and personnel building, a garage and storage building and a building for atmospheric studies.

A lot to move in a short time
In total, about 250 tonnes of material will be shipped, first by ship and then by cargo plane, to the outpost. Greenland’s climate only allows for building during a six-week window every year, so the foundation for the station was laid last year.

The new buildings and equipment will be powered by a diesel generator, later to be supplemented by solar cells. The diesel generator will be located in a building several kilometres from the station itself, so its operation does not skew air pollution measurements being taken by the researchers

“We want to be as green as possible and keep costs down,” said Skov . “It is very expensive to get fuel up to Station Nord.”

READ MORE: Greenland research station to monitor climate change

Researchers will start using the facility next year. The building should be completely finished by 2016.