Five Dartmouth graduate students in engineering, earth sciences, and ecology are bundled into puffy parkas and insulated pants standing on a layer of ice a mile thick marveling at a panoramic 360-degree blanket of white. “It makes me feel so small. It’s humbling,” says earth sciences graduate student Lee Corbett. Tonight it will be near zero and she’ll be sleeping in a tent.
Welcome to the Greenland Ice Sheet, the first leg of the annualDartmouth IGERT field seminar for graduate students in the polar environmental change program.
Only a matter of hours earlier, it was in the high 70s as she and the other IGERT students were boarding a C-130 Hercules transport plane at the Air National Guard base in Scotia, New York, for their flight to Kangerlussuaq, the site of an international science center at the edge of the Greenland Ice Sheet. After a cold, cramped flight on a plane designed for cargo, not human comfort, they touched down in Kangerlussuaq, excited already by their glimpses of Greenland from the air. “Most of the scientists on the flight huddled around the two windows in the tail, pointing and yelling over the roar of the engines,” Corbett posted on the IGERT student blog.