In the 45 years since 1971 some things have remained the same and others have changed dramatically. In 1971 Greenland was an exotic destination mainly visited by large formal expeditions. In 2016 it’s fairly easy to be an “adventure” tourist with regular flights from Iceland and regular flights up and down the coast – not to mention the delightful Arctic Umiaq Lines ship “Sarfaq Ittuk” that we used to get from Ilulissat to Narsaq. But of all the obvious changes, the most disconcerting is the clear evidence of global warming.
In this 1971 picture on approach to Narsarssuaq, the icecap is solidly frozen and shows large glaciers heading for the sea. In 2016, even though we were further north, on approach to Illulissat, the icecap displays large pools of surface melt water and rivers cutting their way through the ice.