Living near one of the most iceberg’s productive glacier during the global worming period- UNESCO’s World Heritage Site from 2004.
Ilulissat (means icebergs in Greenlandic) is the third largest city of Greenland, with ca. 5,000 inhabitants and 3,500 sledge dogs.
The town is located nearly 250 km above the Arctic Circle on the west
coast of Greenland, in a beautiful location, at the mouth of the most iceberg’s productive glacier in the Northern Hemisphere.
This glacier, called also Jakobshavn, is an outlet glacier, a swift-moving stream of ice, that drains from the Greenland Ice Sheet into the sea. It drains 6.5% of the Greenland ice Sheet and produces around 10% of all of Greenland icebergs: 35 billion tons per year. The average daily speed is grown from 20 to 40 m/day during the last few years. This acceleration produces a greater number of icebergs, nevertheless with a smaller size, compared to previous years.
Sermeq Kujalleq is one of the best-investigated ice streams in the world.
For the past 150 years, a large number of scientific expeditions have visited the area and have described the gradual retreat of the ice margin from 1850 till the present day.
In 2004 Ilulissat Ice fjord was admitted in the UNESCO World Heritage List (Ice fjord Kangia and its surrounding land areas, part of the Inland Ice and the Iceberg Bank) and is today a main focus in the topic of global warming.
Just a couple of kilometers away from Ilulissat, the idyllic Sermermiut valley lies out towards the ice fjord. In 1727 it was Greenland’s biggest settlement and home to more than 250 people. Excavations have revealed that for thousands of years the beautiful valley has, at various times, been a home to all of the cultures living along the west coast of Greenland.
The ice fjord is nutrient-rich, so there is plenty of food for the sea animals.
For many years this has created good hunting and fishery possibilities for the people in the area. During the Stone Age about 4400 years ago, the Saqqaq people settled at Kangia. The Dorset people came after and finally the Thule people arrived. Today fishing and fish industry continue to be the most important business enterprises on Ilulissat.