Greenland from Above

Glaciers and fjord along southeast coast of Greenland

Flights between Europe to the US usually take a great circle route, which is the shortest distance between two point on the globe. On a flight from Iceland to San Francisco in late May of 2019, we had the good fortune to pass over Greenland during daylight hours. Greenland was relatively clear of clouds and fog at the time, and I was in a window seat, so I shot several photos of mountains, glaciers, and fjords along the Greenland coast. The images with this post are two of my favorites. Here are a few notes:

  • The calm water in the fjord provides a good reflection of the mountains. I was surprised to see the water so calm, but certainly appreciated the view.
  • Look beyond the mountains, towards the top of the image, to see the ice sheet that covers most of Greenland. The ice sheet stretched away as far as I could see, until it disappeared into distant cloud cover.
  • A large glacier terminates in the fjord in the middle of the photo. Look closely and you can see a dark streak of debris carried by the ice; the streak starts somewhere upstream where two smaller glaciers merge to form this one.
  • The photo below shows a similar level of detail, and you can follow at least one of the dark streaks on the glacier back upstream to its point of origin.
  • Notice that the glacier in first photo terminates in a fjord that is clear of ice, but growlers and slush from the glacier clog the fjord in the second glacier. Maybe currents within the fjord in the first photo keep it cleaned out?
Merging glaciers along southeast coast of Greenland

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