Members of parliament visit Greenland

Westminster group visits Arctic research station

Arctic scientists welcomed a Parliamentary group to their Greenland research station to showcase work which investigates the environment’s impact on regional lakes.

Members of the All Party Parliamentary Polar Group (APPG) spent two nights with academics from Loughborough University where they were taken to the see retreating ice sheets, field sites and research equipment.

The Westminster group, including chairman James Gray MP, spent time with Professor Joanna Bullard and colleagues in the south-west of the country, staying overnight at the Kangerlussuaq International Science Support research station, which included an evening meal of reindeer and musk-ox.

During the day visits, the group was given an insight into the effects of environmental change on natural processes in the Arctic, such as the ecological impacts of wind-blown dust on remote lakes and soil.

Prof Bullard said: “We travelled about 25km east to a point over-looking the Greenland Ice Sheet and some of the lakes that are being used for the Loughborough University research project.

“I explained about the rapidity of climate change in this part of the Arctic and the implications of that for landscape development and the MPs were able to view former positions of the ice sheet, which is retreating.

“The group was then taken right to the ice margin and walked up onto the ice.

“We also stopped to visit some of the instrumented field sites where we are studying soil development and Arctic dust.”

The dust traps used by the Loughborough team capture high-latitude particles to learn how dust in the earth-atmosphere-ocean system affects Arctic ecosystems.

Some of the dust has been trapped within ice for centuries and only recently been released by the melting west Greenland ice sheet, other material is recycled from Arctic soils.

Chair of the APPG James Gray MP said: “We were delighted to have the opportunity to spend time with Professor Joanna Bullard and her colleagues from Loughborough to learn more about their NERC-funded research into how Arctic environmental change is affecting lakes in the Kangerlussuaq area.

“British Arctic science is often overshadowed by what we do in Antarctica and we must do more to ensure that Britain’s world-class science in the Arctic has the visibility it deserves.”

The Parliamentary trip to Greenland, made up of 8 MPs and Peers, is part of a week-long visit, between August 23 and August 31, focused on Arctic Policy, the UK's interests in the Arctic and UK-funded Arctic research.

The APPG is, James Gray MP (Con), Mark Menzies MP (Con), Theresa Villiers MP (Con), Brendan O’Hara MP (SNP), John Mann MP (Lab), Stephen Hepburn MP (Lab), Baroness Neville-Jones (Con) and Baroness Smith of Newnham (Liberal Democrats).


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