Greenland’s icebergs get GPS trackers

Five icebergs off the coast of Greenland have been fitted with satellite trackers so their movements can be monitored online. Knut Solberg, a Norwegian climate change scientists and Arctic adventurer, scaled the floating ice mountains himself in order to attach the global positioning system (GPS) transmitters.

“You’re able to watch the path of the icebergs on the internet to see the long-term trends — how the icebergs move,” Solberg said in an interview with CBC News.

Solberg tagged the icebergs by pulling up alongside them in his 12-metre sailboat and then scrambling onto them using an axe.

“That was quite a scary experience because the icebergs are kind of unstable. It’s not a place you should really hang around for too long,” he said. “You have crampons and ice screws and ropes and all that, and then you make your way up to find a suitable place for the transponder. You just hope that the iceberg won’t turn when you are there,” he added.

Solberg has now spent two winters on his boat surrounded by thick sea ice in the Arctic waters in an attempt to collect scientific data that will shed light on climate change trends. As well as installing the GPS trackers, Solberg has also been taking readings of the water temperature in the area.

“The glaciers are melting. The sea ice is deteriorating earlier in the spring and consolidating later in the autumn,” he said to CBC. “It’s clear that that’s happening all over the Arctic.”