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Kangerlussuaq International Science Support

Location and Background
In order to stimulate and attract international research interests in Arctic science the Greenland Home Rule Government has established KISS as a year-round science support facility in Kangerlussuaq Airport.

Kangerlussuaq is located just north of the Arctic Circle in West Greenland, at the head of the 140 km long fjord Kangerlussuaq (the Greenlandic word for 'big fjord'). The climate is continental and dry with precipitation averaging 120 mm annually; winter temperature reaches down to -50° C and in summer the temperature may increase to above 20° C.

Kangerlussuaq airport is the main hub for air traffic to, from and within Greenland with regular direct international connections to and from Copenhagen (Denmark), Keflavik (Iceland), and Ottawa, Montreal, Eqaluit (Canada).

Basis for Science
Kangerlussuaq has a long tradition as an important base for fielding research projects in geophysical, glaciological and life science disciplines. The area lies on the edge of the Polar Cap Zone and the Auroral Zone. It is therefore of particular interest to scientists studying elements relating to the ionosphere and the magnetosphere as well as the lower and upper atmosphere.

Furthermore, Kangerlussuaq lies within the low Arctic ecozone with diverse habitats such as salt lakes, dune systems, mountain tundra and steppes with caribou and muskox populations. Caribou are indigenous but muskoxen were introduced from Northeast Greenland in the mid 1960'ies.

The plant growing season is long, featuring 150 days without snow cover, 80 continuously frost-free days, and 150 consecutive days with maximum air temperature continuously above freezing; (the numbers given are average values). The climate is very stable and predictable with a monthly mean of 241 sun hours in May through August.

The Kangerlussuaq region is a well exposed high grade basement terrain forming the southern border zone of the Nagssugtoqidian orogen. The region has a glacial landscape dating back 8,000 years.

The proximity of the Inland Ice has a significant effect on the climatic regime for the living resources and further it presents unique logistic opportunities for studies on the Ice Sheet proper, the edge zone, and periglacial geomorphology.

KISS and the Kangerlussuaq region is thus the ideal site for field courses in polar biology, Arctic ecology, geomorphological processes and geology.

The KISS Concept
Scientists and students doing research in Greenland have access to modern facilities located centrally in Kangerlussuaq. KISS offers an array of facilities and possibilities to rent additional equipment and goods for use in the field or in the labs of the KISS building.

The KISS concept creates the general physical framework for scientific work within natural sciences. Only basic lab equipment is available and each specific project needing specialised equipment should therefore plan to bring it along or have it shipped up on beforehand.

KISS is owned by The Home Rule Government and operated by Mittarfeqarfiit (Greenland Civil Aviation Department). The Danish Polar Center is responsible for the dissemination of information about KISS and assists in handling KISS bookings.

It is important to realise that KISS is a year-round facility and that the Kangerlussuaq region offers obvious research opportunities and potentials also during the eight winter months. This applies both to projects in biology and geophysics and the presence of KISS greatly improves the logistics for performing field operations in winter as well as the effectiveness of your activities.

KISS has an in-house manager year-round who is available for answering questions and solving problems as well as acting as a liaison to the authorities and institutions in Kangerlussuaq. Furthermore, the KISS manager will be your contact when you wish to rent equipment, vehicles, vessels, helicopters and fixed-wing aircrafts or other services of interest to you and your project.

For more information, please read Welcome to KISS

Address and Booking
The KISS address is:

KISS, P.O. Box 109, DK-3910 Kangerlussuaq

You should use this address for mail to visiting researchers and for shipping goods and equipment for projects.

You can connect to KISS directly at:

phone 299 841107 ext. 76451
telefax 299 841472