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  • Station or cluster: Contributing Station
  • Belongs to cluster: Zackenberg GEM ZERO
  • WMO ID (if any):
  • Shape: polygon
  • Latitude, longitude: 74.47, -20.55
  • Altitude and/or range (m): 0-600
  • Landscape: Tundra
  • Year established: 1994
  • Year-round? Yes
  • Operations contact: Jørgen Skafte
  • Science contact: Niels Martin Schmidt
  • Data contact: GEM Secretariat
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Zackenberg Research Station
Contributing Station Information

The study area around Zackenberg is in the zone of continuous permafrost with an active layer thickness varying from 20 to 100 cm. A major geological flexure and thrust zone dissecting Zackenbergdalen (note: 'dalen'= 'the valley'), the core study area, separates Caledonian gneiss bedrock (to the west) from Cretaceous sandstones and Tertiary basalts (to the east). The margin of the Greenland Ice Sheet is located c. 60 km to the west of Zackenberg Research Station. The core study area was de-glaciated c. 8,000 years ago and it holds a great diversity of biotopes like ponds, fens, heaths, fell field plateaus and grasslands.

Monitoring and research taking place in the surroundings of Zackenberg Research Station is coordinated through the programme Zackenberg Ecological Research Operations with the following institutions as partners:

Department of Bioscience, Aarhus University
Greenland Institute of Natural Resources
University of Copenhagen
Asiaq, Greenland Survey
Geological Survey of Denmark and Greenland

The objective of the station is to facilitate ecosystem research in the High Arctic. According to the framework programme of Zackenberg Ecological Research Operations (ZERO) this includes:
- Basic quantitative documentation of ecosystem structure and processes
- Baseline studies of intrinsic short-term and long-term variations in ecosystem functions
- Retrospective analyses of organic and inorganic material to detect past ecosystem changes
- Experimental studies enabling predictions of ecosystem responses to Global Change

This is done by:
- Providing facilities, logistic services and accommodation at Zackenberg
- Offering logistic support for transport to and from Zackenberg
- Providing access to a wide range of both biotic and abiotic data from the long-term monitoring programme, Zackenberg Basic, i.e. the long-term monitoring programme at Zackenberg.

During the summer field season (June, July and August) Zackenberg Research Station is staffed by minimum with a logistics manager, a logistician and a cook. During the rest of the year, there will be logisticians based at Zackenberg only in periods with resident researchers - and only when previously arranged for through agreement with the Zackenberg Secretariat at the Department of Bioscience, Aarhus University.

Access to the station and the designated research zones for any research project is given by Greenland Ecosystem Monitoring (GEM) Coordination Group on the basis of a proposal (Application form) describing aims and practicalities of the field research.

Zackenberg Research Station provides accommodation facilities for 24 persons at a time. Besides, the station has several laboratories at disposal for guest scientists. An unmanned research house in Daneborg provides accommodation for 10 people at a time. The logistics staff can help with transport to/from Zackenberg/Daneborg and with transport in the local area. Good advices in relation to your travel to/from Zackenberg/Daneborg and your stay at Zackenberg/Daneborg are collected in the ZERO Site Manual.

Other Networks to Which This Contributing Station Belongs

Data Information


Annual reports are published documenting the ongoing monitoring activities, available at zackenberg.dk


The measurements made at Zackenberg Research Station are listed in the following tables. (Note: If End Year is blank, measurements are ongoing.)

Cryosphere Measurements

Element Variable Start Year End Year Frequency
SnowSnow water equivalent1995Sporadic
PermafrostSoil temperature1996Continuous
PermafrostActive layer depth1996Continuous
PermafrostSoil moisture1996Continuous
PermafrostCoastal retreat1995Continuous
PermafrostThermal state2012Continuous
PermafrostDuration of thaw1996Continuous

Atmosphere Measurements

Element Variable Start Year End Year Frequency
MetAir temperature1995Continuous
MetHumidity/vapour pressure1995Continuous
MetWind speed and direction1995Continuous
MetAir pressure1995Continuous
MetTotal precipitation1995Fragmented
RadiationDownwelling shortwave1995Continuous
RadiationUpwelling shortwave1995Continuous
RadiationDownwelling longwave1995Continuous
RadiationUpwelling longwave1995Continuous

Measurement Notes and Other Measurements

Category Description or List
AtmosphereContinuous half-houly flux measurements of CO2 since 2000

Continuous hourly flux measurements of CH4 since 2006

Measurements from glaciated areas since 2008.

Last updated: 31 May 2017