In August 2016, an international research group specifically warned that climate change could turn the base into a ticking bomb. As part of the Danish Realm, Greenland has long been urging Copenhagen to "clean up the mess" left by the country's Cold War ally.
To provide a clear and conclusive estimate of exactly how toxic the leftover US waste is, a team of six researchers from the Geological Surveys for Denmark and Greenland (GEUS) are embarking on a 20-day mission to Camp Century. During the mission, scheduled to last from July 12 to August 9, equipment to monitor wind, weather and ice conditions over the next four years will be installed. All data will be continuously published the website Camp Century Climate, the Danish magazine Ingeniøren reported.
Today, a network of tunnels under snow, housing everything from research facilities to a hospital, a cinema and a church, remains abandoned inside Camp Century. The pollutants left behind are PCBs used in building supplies, tanks of raw sewage and low-radioactive coolant used in the nuclear reactor. According to climatologist and GEUS project manager William Colgan, one of the goals is to observe the interaction of the ice and the atmosphere to see how much meltwater percolates through the ice and how deep it reaches.
All the data gathered in the government-funded project will subsequently be presented as climate models to equip the authorities with an overview of what may happen to the base in the future if present climate change trends continue.
Earlier this month, western Greenland was hit by a dramatic landslide, causing floods and evacuations; some people remain missing.
Last month, Norway said it was boosting protection of the Svalbard Global Seed Vault after soaring temperatures caused water to leak into the entrance of the "Doomsday Vault" designed to protect the world's crops from disaster.