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Villum Research Station

STATION NAME AND OWNER: Villum Research Station is owned by the Greenlandic Government and operated by Aarhus University.

LOCATION: VRS is located on Princess Ingeborgs Peninsula (c. 20 ×15 km2 lowland plain) at the military station, Station Nord, in North Greenland (81°36’ N, 16°39 W). The station is situated within the National Park of North and Northeast Greenland, the largest national park in the World. The military station has an average elevation of 30 m a.s.l. with a gentle slope to the coast. A two kilometer long gravel/ice runway, which is kept open year round, is the only gateway to Station Nord. The station acts as a gateway to the northern part of the National Park of North and Northeast Greenland.

BIODIVERSITY AND NATURAL ENVIRONMENT: The station is situated in the High Arctic, and the surroundings are mainly Polar Desert. The area has continuous permafrost, and a continuous snow cover characterise the area for almost ten month per year. The mean annual temperature is c. -17 °C, and the mean annual precipitation is c. 190 mm. Mean monthly temperature is -31 °C during the coldest month (February) and 3 °C during the warmest month (July). The Princess Ingeborgs Peninsula plain consists of Quaternary raised marine silt, beach shingle and glacial deposits. The Quaternary deposits are underlain by rocks of Permian age. Station Nord is situated very close to the Polar Sea, and the sea-ice conditions in the area are generally severe with heavy sea-ice throughout the year. Consequently, ships cannot service Station Nord.

HISTORY AND FACILITIES: Station Nord was opened in 1952 as a Danish weather station and emergency runway, and it remained open until 1972, when it was closed and left unused, until the Danish military acquired it in 1975. The research activities at Station Nord have been ongoing since the 1970s with measurement activities being intensified since 1990. The research facilities were established by the Danish National Environmental Research Institute (NERI), which is now merged with Aarhus University. In 2014, the research facilities at Station Nord were substantially upgraded based on a major grant from the Danish private fund, Villum Foundation. 

Villum Research Station consists of three buildings, including a main building with laboratories and accommodation facilities, an atmospheric/air observatory situated two km outside Station Nord, and a garage with storage facilities. The station can house 14 scientists at a time. The total area under roof is c. 600 m2.

GENERAL RESEARCH AND DATABASES: Once the new station is fully operating, a database will be established for storage of all kind of scientific data. At present only atmospheric data are stored in a database maintained by Aarhus University. Meteorological and atmospheric chemical data are reported to EMEP (European Monitoring and Evaluation Programme) and AMAP (Arctic Monitoring and Assessment Programme) and will in the future also be reported to WMO-GAW (World Meteorological Organisation, Global Atmosphere Watch).

HUMAN DIMENSION: Station Nord is operated by the Danish military and is manned year round by five soldiers. The nearest Inuit community is situated more than 800 km away.

ACCESS: Traditionally, transport to Station Nord has been with the Danish Air Force Hercules C-130 aircrafts on space-available conditions. From 2015, Aarhus University will arrange regular flights between Longyearbyen, Svalbard, and Station Nord.

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