Atmospheric Watch Observatory

Summit Station, Greenland

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Summit Station is located at the top of the Greenland ice cap, at 72 degrees north, 3225 metres above sea level and nearly 400 kilometres from the nearest point of land. It is a scientific research station sponsored by the U.S. National Science Foundation under a permit with the Government of Greenland and operated by CH2M HILL Polar Services. The station is the home of the Greenland Environmental Observatory, which monitors key climate variables. Snow levels rise by 700 millimetres per annum and temperatures drop to -60ºC in winter.

The module is designed to provide year round state-of-the-art laboratory facilities for atmospheric and snow chemistry research. The energy efficient, aerodynamic design maximizes flexibility to suit the ever-changing needs of the scientific research. Features include hydraulic legs to help the module climb above the rising snow levels, highly insulated glass fiber cladding and integrated photovoltaic arrays. All materials have to be scrutinized to ensure no risk of pollution through off gassing of highly sensitive aerosol experiments. The module may be prefabricated in the USA and shipped to Thule in Greenland, from where it would be hauled in sections 730 miles across the ice cap to the station for assembly and commissioning.

The appointment is the third joint triumph for AECOM and Hugh Broughton Architects in the cold regions, firmly establishing both companies as world-class leaders in the design of facilities for polar research. Previous project wins include the Juan Carlos I Spanish Antarctic Base and the design of Halley VI Research Station for the British Antarctic Survey, which will be officially inaugurated next February.