After the field activities at Qaanaaq Ice Cap and a workshop with residents of Qaanaaq Village, a 5-day ocean measurement campaign was performed in Inglefield Fjord from August 13.
Inglefield Fjord is the largest fjord in the region fed by fast-flowing tidewater glaciers (e.g., Tracy Glacier, Heilprin Glacier). We sampled seawater and plankton to study the influence of glacial meltwater and suspended sediment on the material cycling and ecosystem in the fjord. Furthermore, we measured ocean depth with a sonar to investigate a link between glacier retreat and bed topography. During the campaign in Inglefield Fjord, we based in Qeqertat, a village on a tiny island about 60 km east of Qaanaaq. Qeqertat is smaller than Qaanaaq with population of only about 30. Traditional hunting of narwhals and seals is still popular in Qeqertat. Many village people were absent for hunting during our visit. During our stay in Qeqertat, we saw village people processing a narwhal, and joined them tasting the meat. Fresh raw narwhal meat tasted rich and had a similar texture as whelk.
On August 16, we held a workshop in Qeqertat to introduce our research activity to the residents. Almost everyone in the village participated in the event at night. We exchanged ideas and information through interpreters. Residents told us that sea ice near the village has been thinning. They also claimed that multi-year ice is drifting into Inglefield Fjord from the Arctic Ocean, which have never been observed before.
We provided the participants ocean bathymetry maps generated after our ocean measurements. Many people said that the maps are useful for fishing and hunting. We realize that our research is potentially highly useful for the life of local residents.
Yoshiki Fujishi (Hokkaido University）