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  • Station or cluster: CryoNet Cluster
  • Type: Integrated
  • WMO ID (if any):
  • Shape: polygon
  • Latitude, longitude: 74.47, -20.57
  • Altitude and/or range (m): 0-1470
  • Landscape: Coastal
  • Year established: 1995
  • Year-round? Yes
  • Operations contact: Michele Citterio
  • Science contact: Michele Citterio
  • Data contact: Michele Citterio
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Zackenberg GEM ZERO
Integrated CryoNet Cluster Information

Zackenberg Research Station (74º28' N, 20º34' W) is a Greenlandic research infrastructure in high arctic Northeast Greenland, 25 km northwest of Daneborg, a military outpost with twelve inhabitants. Zackenberg Research Station is operated by the Zackenberg Secretariat at the Department of Bioscience, Aarhus University. The objective of the station is to facilitate ecosystem research in the High Arctic.

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, and the Zackenberg river receives meltwater from the A.P. Olsen Ice Cap, the largest peripheral ice mass in the area. Clavering Island located across Tyrolerfjord hosts several more glaciers including Freya Glacier.

The mass balance of Freya Glacier on Clavering Island is monitored by Zentralanstalt für Meteorologie und Geodynamik (ZAMG), Vienna.

Stations in This Site

This site is comprised of the following stations:

Broad Research Focus

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

Integrated Approach

Gradients, feedbacks and forcings are studied across the ecosystem components. From 2017, dedicated means are available for cross-cutting applications based on cal/val of models and remote sensing using the in situ observations

Representativeness of the Cluster


Cluster Facilities

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.

Other Networks to Which This CryoNet Cluster Belongs

Measurement Methods Used

Other relevant measurement method documents:

Each of the five long term monitoring projects at Zackenberg (BioBasis, ClimateBasis, GeoBasis, GlacioBasis and MarineBasis) operate their measurement operations according to the procedures documened in their respective field manuals, available online at zackenberg.dk

Data Information


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


The measurements made at Zackenberg GEM ZERO are listed in the following tables. This is a combination of measurements made at the stations within the site, where the start and end years in the tables are the earliest and latest years of measurement. (Note: If End Year is blank, measurements are ongoing.)

Cryosphere Measurements

Element Variable Start Year End Year
SnowSnow water equivalent1995
SnowSnowpack profile2008
SnowSurface temperature2008
PermafrostSoil temperature1996
PermafrostActive layer depth1996
PermafrostSoil moisture1996
PermafrostCoastal retreat1995
PermafrostThermal state2012
PermafrostDuration of thaw1996
GlacierAnnual mass balance2008
GlacierWinter mass balance2008
GlacierSurface topography2008
GlacierFacies, snowline2008
GlacierSurface temperature2008
GlacierSurface albedo2008
GlacierIce/firn temperature2008

Atmosphere Measurements

Element Variable Start Year End Year
MetAir temperature1995
MetHumidity/vapour pressure1995
MetWind speed and direction1995
MetAir pressure1995
MetTotal precipitation1995
MetTrace gases2000
MetSensible and latent heat2000
RadiationDownwelling shortwave1995
RadiationUpwelling shortwave1995
RadiationDownwelling longwave1995
RadiationUpwelling longwave1995

Measurement Notes and Other Measurements

Category Description or List
GlacierArea is not measured on the ground but from optical remote sensing
AtmosphereContinuous half-houly flux measurements of CO2 since 2000

Continuous hourly flux measurements of CH4 since 2006

Measurements from glaciated areas since 2008. Continuous half-houly flux measurements of CO2 since 2000

Continuous hourly flux measurements of CH4 since 2006

Measurements from glaciated areas since 2008.

HydrologyMeasurements of river flow and river water chemistry since 1996.
EcologyAs an integrated activity at Zackenberg the long-term monitoring programme, Zackenberg Basic, was initiated in 1995 and fully implemented for the terrestrial part of the ecosystem in 1996. In 2003, the programme was supplemented with a sub-programme, MarineBasis, taking care of the marine environment. In 2008, it was supplemented with another sub-programme focusing on glaciers (GlacioBasis). The objective of the programme is to provide long time series of data on the natural innate oscillations and plasticity of a high Arctic ecosystem. This is accomplished through monitoring of selected biotic parameters and elements (BioBasis and MarineBasis) as well as climatic (ClimateBasis and GlacioBasis) and other abiotic (GeoBasis and MarineBasis) parameters and elements throughout the year on a long-term basis.

Last updated: 31 May 2017