GEM Scientist of the Month - March

2019.03.28 | Marie Frost Arndal

Kirsty - on a rock glacier in Godthåbsfjord

Kirsty Langley is a geophysicist working for Asiaq in Greenland. When asked about working for GEM in the Arctic, Kirsty passionately says: “I love being based in Greenland. Living and working in the GEM focus area gives a whole other dimension, interest and purpose to our work.

Since 2015, Kirsty has been employed as a researcher at Asiaq and her research mainly focuses on the interactions, changes and feedbacks between cryosphere and climate. In late 2018 Kirsty joined GEM as a program manager for both ClimateBasis in Nuuk and Zackenberg, as well as GlacioBasis in Nuuk, keeping the involvement in many research projects linked to these programs. Within the ClimateBasis programs, Kirsty and her colleagues focus on maintaining climate and hydrology parameters at the main GEM sites, as well as at strategic spatially distributed sub sites. Furthermore, her work at GlacioBasis covers a mass balance program and a weather station on a local glacier.

Being involved so tightly in several programs, she values the close connection and collaboration between the sub-programmes within GEM – especially when data collected by her managed programs feeds directly into the MarineBasis, BioBasis and GeoBasis programs and vice versa.

 “I have had many memorable field trips in both the Arctic and Antarctic. Each has had its own moments of frustrations and laughter. The polar regions are challenging places to work, but that’s part of the fun. Successfully collecting data and being able to convert that into new knowledge and understanding of our environment is rewarding.”

 Besides the fun and challenges in fieldwork, Kirsty sees a huge motivation in documenting and understanding systematically the changes that are happening in the Arctic. Despite often being underestimated, especially in matters of funding, long-term monitoring programs are priceless in their value to her. Similar to Mikael Sejr, our scientist of the month January 2019, she would wish for more recognition by funding agencies and governments, when it comes to the value that lies within long-term monitoring programs such as GEM. Especially now that the global focus shifts more towards the plentiful changes the Arctic is facing, which in her eyes, increases the importance of understanding the environment. "You can't turn the clock - it's now or never", as Kirsty says.

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