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Crown Prince crosses the Greenland ice sheet

His Royal Highness Crown Prince Haakon embarked yesterday on a journey across the Greenland ice sheet. He is participating in an expedition aimed at disseminating knowledge about polar history and the critical scientific research taking place in the Arctic.


The Crown Prince was invited to take part in the expedition by UiT The Arctic University of Norway in Tromsø. The university has a long tradition of Arctic research and dissemination of research findings. The current expedition, titled Across the Great Glacier, marks the 50-year anniversary of the official opening of the university and the 150-year anniversary of Tromsø Museum. 

“I am delighted to have been invited by UiT to join the expedition. What a fantastic way to celebrate the fact that 50 years have passed since my grandfather opened the university. This expedition is all about sharing information. We will be talking about polar history, Arctic outdoor life and climate research – topics that interest me and that I consider important,” the Crown Prince said this afternoon on arrival in the town of Ilulissat on the west coast of Greenland (Kalaallit Nunaat). 

Before the Crown Prince and other expedition members set out on the Greenland ice sheet, they visited the Icefjord Centre in Ilulissat for a briefing on climate research in Greenland. Photo: Ane Mette Sandgreen, Avannaata municipality

Will collect snow samples

Aided by kites and skis, the expedition members will cross white mountain plateaus on top of ice that is 3 000 metres deep. The Crown Prince is taking part in the first part of the expedition.

The expedition begins on the inland ice near Ilulissat. The plan is to cross the Greenland ice sheet and finally descend to Daneborg on the east coast in early June.

“We will get up onto the ice and then travel 800 kilometres to the EastGrip research station,” Crown Prince Haakon said. “I look forward to meeting the researchers there and learning more about the research on climate and the Greenland ice melt they are carrying out there, before we travel on towards the east coast.”

Using kites and skis, expedition members will cross Greenland’s inland ice from west to east. Along the way they will visit the EastGrip research station, where the Arctic ice melt and other phenomena are being studied. Photo: UiT The Arctic University of Norway.

The expedition’s purpose is to disseminate knowledge and insight about Arctic nature, research and polar history. EastGrip – the East Greenland Ice-Core Project – is situated at the centre of the inland ice.

Along the way, expedition members will periodically collect snow samples for delivery to the climate scientists at EastGrip. The primary task of the international research team working there is to extract ice cores by drilling in ice that ranges in thickness from two to three kilometres. The team’s findings will be crucial to understanding how much of Greenland’s ice would disappear in a warmer climate.

View map and follow the expedition day to day (in Norwegian) on UiT’s website

Visited Icefjord Centre in Ilulissat

Before the expedition team set out across Greenland’s ice sheet, they visited the newly opened Icefjord Center in Ilulissat.

There the Crown Prince met climate scientists Dorthe Dahl-Jensen, a professor at the University of Copenhagen; Kerim Hestnes Nisancioglu, a professor of climate dynamics at the University of Bergen; and Dag Rune Olsen, the rector of UiT The Arctic University of Norway. The scientists are affiliated with the EastGrip station.The scientists briefed the expedition members on the research now being conducted on the ice sheet. 

Before heading out on the expedition, the Crown Prince met a number of scientists, including researcher Iben Koldhoft, Professor Kerim Hestnes Nisancioglu, Rector Dag Rune Olsen of UiT The Arctic University of Norway, researcher Dorthe Dahl-Jensen and researcher Sune Olander Rasmussen. The scientists are affiliated with the EastGrip research station. Photo: The Royal Court.

They also formally assigned Dr Olsen the task of collecting snow samples for the EastGrip researchers.

In connection with his visit to Greenland (Kalaallit Nunaat), the Crown Prince also met Ilulissat Mayor Palle Jeremiassen and Chief Municipal Executive Nick Nielsen at the town hall.

EastGrip scientists Dorthe Dahl-Jensen and Kerim Hestnes Nisancioglu officially commissioned the expedition to collect snow samples. Photo: Erik Abild, The Royal Court

The leader of the expedition is Harald Dag Jølle, a polar historian at the Norwegian Polar Institute and UiT.

Other members are Vegard Ulvang (University of Tromsø), Kunuk Lennert (University of Tromsø), Markus Landrø (University of Tromsø and the Norwegian Water Resources and Energy Directorate) and Ronny Finsås (expedition guide) as well as a bodyguard from the Norwegian Royalty Protection Unit.


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