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Reports from Ryder Glacier 2019

Start August 5 in Thule
Follow Oden's position online here https://oden.geo.su.se/map

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14-08-2019

Glacier on Wolf Land flowing into Sherard Osborn Fjord. Photo by Johan Nilsson
Glacier on Wolf Land flowing into Sherard Osborn Fjord.

Oden is now in the Sherard Osborn Fjord which is truly spectacular and filled with ice bergs some of which are nearly 10 kilometers long and over 200 m thick. Tidal currents move these islands of ice erratically around in the fjord and they could potentially trap Oden inside the fjord. It has been an unusually warm summer on Greenland, which has resulted in exceptionally warm surface water temperatures in the ice filled fjord. We have measured water temperaturs up to 4 C in the upper 10 meters of the fjord. Warm ocean and air temperatures drive strong melting of the ice, causing smaller ice bergs to disintegrate and roll over, sending waves across the fjord.

Ice melting in the Sherard Osborn Fjord at 82 degrees north. Photo by Johan Nilsson
Ice melting in the Sherard Osborn Fjord at 82 degrees north.
Ice bergs, fog and mountains. Photo by Johan Nilsson
Ice bergs, fog and mountains.
One of the several kilometre-sized islands of ice floating around in the fjord. Photo by J. Nilsson
One of the several kilometre-sized islands of ice floating around in the fjord. These have calved off the Ryder Glacial and are up to 200 m thick.

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09-08-2019

We have settled into life and routines onboard Oden and many of us have also started to collect interesting data. Yesterday it was Ärtsoppa, pannkakor and punsch on the menu (pea soup, pancakes, and a sweet snaps). My American and Scottish company at the table asked me why this meal is always served on Thursdays. Since we have no internet connection I could not cheat and do a google search, but had to confess that this is also a mystery to me. Knowledge you don't have in your memory or in bought books is not accessible here.

The temperatures have dropped to a few degrees above freezing but thanks to fair winds it is pleasant to work and spend time on deck. We are all very excited to reach Ryder fjord and unexplored waters. In clear conditions, we can see the fjord entrance but fairly compact sea ice with ridges and thick floes will make to final approach slow. Hopefully, we are there within a few days.

The helicopter on Oden. Photo by Johan Nilsson
The helicopter takes off to carry fuel to deposit on Greenland. Incase, we need to fly back to Thule the helicopter needs to refuel atthis deposit.
Hans ø (Hans Island). Photo by Johan Nilsson
Hans ø (Hans Island), a small barren island between Greenland and Canada, which issubject to a friendly territorial dispute. According to rumours, Danesgo there once in a while placing a Danish flag and leaving a bottle ofGammeldansk. Later Canadians come, take down the Danish flag and placetheir own, drink the Gammeldansk and leave a bottle of Canadian whiskey.And then the cycle starts over.
Glaciers on Ellesmere Island. Photo by Johan Nilsson
Glaciers on Ellesmere Island with sea ice in the Nares Strait.
Icebreaker Oden on a foggy morning. Photo by Johan Nilsson
Oden steaming in Lincoln Sea a foggy morning. We are now enteringmore compact sea ice, which slow us on the final approach to the Ryderglacier.
Johan Nilsson
A selfie on the bridge. When I wake in the morning, I go to thebridge to check our position and enjoy the view. This morning thevisibility was low, but the scenery is always fascinating.

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06-08-2019

Icebergs in the midnight sun, Thule Greenland.
Icebergs in the midnight sun, Thule Greenland.


Yesterday in the afternoon, we embarked on Oden that was anchored off Thule airbase on northwest Greenland. The sun was warming and it was completely calm, as warm and nice as summers can get in the high arctic. After dinner time, Oden began to steam towards the Ryder Glacier on the very northern part of Greenland. As Oden exited the Thule fjord system, we could enjoy the sight of many large ice bergs in the midnight sun.

Sara Johansson, the expedition
Sara Johansson, the expedition's meteorologist, photographing icebergs off Thule, Greenland.


This morning comes with a layer of high thins clouds, which keeps the temperature to just a few degrees above freezing. Oden is moving into Nares Strait with Greenland to the east and Ellesmere Island to the west. The landscape is spectacular by harsh. Mountains of old eroded sedimentary rocks, glaciers, and sea ice make up the scenery. On the Greenland side, there are ice streams flowing towards the sea from the huge continental ice sheet, which can be seen in the distance. Sea birds are the only wildlife so far. Calm weather and so far favourable sea ice conditions makes the journey polewards swift and enjoyable. Within days, we will enter the Ryder Fjord area where no ships have been before.

Icebergs in the midnight sun, Thule Greenland.
Icebergs in the midnight sun, Thule Greenland.
 
Ice streams flowing into the ocean from the Greenland Ice Sheet.
Ice streams flowing into the ocean from the Greenland Ice Sheet.
 
Sea ice and icebergs with Ellesmere Island in the background.
Sea ice and icebergs with Ellesmere Island in the background.

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