About the station

Villum Research Station - Photo: Bjarne Jensen.
Monitoring house and Flyger's hut (old monitoring location)

Villum Research Station was opened in 2015 at the military outpost Station Nord in high arctic North Greenland (81°36’ N, 16°40’ W). The station is owned by the Greenland Government and is being operated by Aarhus University (Denmark) in cooperation with the Danish Defense (the Arctic Command). The station has been established based on means provided by the Danish private fund Villum Foundation.

The station consists of three houses, i.e. an accommodation building (380 m2), an atmospheric observatory (110 m2) and a garage (110 m2).The station is open for access throughout the year, and it can host up to 14 scientists at a time. The facilities of the station are described in details in the Villum Research Station Site Manual. Besides the different laboratories, the station also has an extensive collection of research and expedition equipment being available for visiting scientists. The equipment available at the station is also described in details in the Villum Research Station Site Manual.

The operation of the station is carried out in cooperation with the Danish Defense (the Arctic Command). The Danish Defense provides electrical power and water for station, they maintain the runway and their canteen facilities are used both by the military personnel and the scientists visiting Villum Research Station.

Laboratories and scientific equipment

The accommodation house (Researchers' house) contains 4 laboratories. A dirty laboratory where e.g. larger biological and geological samples can be  treated. A chemical laboratory for sample preparation, a microbiological laboratory where e.g. DNA samples can be treated, and finally a cleaner laboratory for more demanding analyses where contamination is a problem. The access to latter laboratory is limited and is only allowed after special permission.

The atmospheric observatory (Monitoring house) contains two laboratories. One is for continuous monitoring and has limited access. The other is open for field campaigns. Both laboratories are equipped with a special inlet for gas sampling and another for particle measurements. 

Here is access to lists of various equipment:

Villum Research Station Site Manual

There is a Villum Research Station Site Manual, which contains lots of practical information (pdf, 50 pages, 2 MB) . The manual may not be up to date on all aspects, so please also consult the web pages concerning such things as forms and price lists.

Location

The station is situated at the northeastern corner of Greenland, on the small peninsula Prinsesse Ingeborg Halvø (Princess Ingeborg Peninsula) on Kronprins Christian Land (Crown Prince Christian Land), adjacent to Nordøstrundingen and Flade Isblink. Kap Morris Jessup (the northernmost land point on Earth) is situated in Peary Land, only 300 km northwest of Station Nord. The nearest town is Longyearbyen on Svalbard (Norway) 720 km east of Station Nord, while the nearest town in Greenland is Ittoqqortoormiit 1,250 km south of Station Nord.

Climate

The climate around Station Nord is dry and cold with a mean annual temperature of -21 ºC and a mean annual precipitation of 188 mm. The average wind speed is 4 m/s, with winds mainly from SSW. Calm weather with wind speeds below 1.5 m/s occur about 30 % of the time, but storms with wind speeds at 20–30 m/s occur frequently. The mean monthly temperature is below 0 ºC for nine months of the year (September – May), and the minimum temperature ever recorded at Station Nord is -51 ºC. The sun stays permanently above the horizon for 146 days per year, while it is permanently below the horizon for 131 days per year.

Role of Villum Research Station

The station hosts individual scientific projects focusing on atmospheric, marine and terrestrial research. In addition to this, the station is also used as a permanent base for an extensive long-term monitoring programme with main focus on atmospheric pollution, but also including effects of Climate Change on arctic marine and terrestrial ecosystems.

History

Aarhus University operates the Villum Research Station in North Greenland. The Villum Research Station is a substantial upgrade of a previously existing air pollution monitoring station at Station Nord.

Station Nord was opened in 1952 as a Danish weather station and emergency runway, and remained open until 1972, when it was then closed and left unused, until the Danish Military acquired it in 1975. The research activities have been ongoing since the 1970’s with measurement activities intensified since 1990. The previous research facilities were established by the Danish National Environmental Research Institute (NERI), which is now merged with Aarhus University. Some more information on the early history of the air pollution monitoring activities at Station Nord (1970-2000) can be found in a booklet with an informal account of the history of the NERI department of Atmospheric Environment (pdf in Danish).

In the summer of 2014 the Villum Research Station was built, and it was officially inaugurated in July 2015. 

In Picture Gallery you can find a documentary film (20 minutes) on the construction of Villum Research Station, as well a short (1 minute) time lapse movie showing the construction.