Standing a short walk from the base, I have a good view of why this place is unique.

I'm not looking at the snow topped mountains, arctic flowers, musk ox in the distance or blue water of the fjord - impressive as all those things are, you can find them in other Greenland valleys. Instead, I'm looking at the weather station monitoring temperature, wind speed and direction, precipitation (intensity and amount), snow depth and other variables.

Dr. Charlotte Sigsgård, a physical geographer with the University of Copenhagen (Denmark), is removing a black memory module where all of this data is automatically stored. This is her seventh summer at Zackenberg, where an on-going climate observations and research program - taking place around the valley, up the mountain sides and down the fjord - is in it's tenth year.

It's this long-term program that makes Zackenberg Research Station such a special place, but it is also particularly well sited for studying environmental variations.

Being in the Arctic, which is heating up almost twice as fast as the global average, the long term effects of global warming will likely show up here earlier than most places. The research area is also is amazingly pristine because so few people have ever been here. This is a remote location in the middle of the world's largest national park, and a special permit is needed to even visit.

The only human presence is the station personnel, and visitors with the small dog sled patrol. Great care is taken by station occupants not to disturb the area. All waste is carefully disposed of, or shipped out. Glass and metal are separated for recycling. Organic waste is shredded.

This specific location was also chosen thanks to its combination of geophysical variables. It is near the interface of the 'mid-Arctic' and the High Arctic regions, which means there are plants unique to both in the research area. There are two lakes, one with and one without predatory fish. The research area is snow rich in some parts, borderline desert in terms of precipitation, and still boggy in spots due to poor drainage and summer melted permafrost. The area of research also goes from sea level out in the fjord, to the top of surrounding mountains.

Physically, it's strange terrain to walk over - going from dry cracked earth with practically no vegetation, to boot sucking muck in just a few hundred steps. We're too far north for trees or even bushes. The ground cover is all very low. Lots of moss in the wet areas. There are also lots of, "Arctic poppies, purple saxifrage, Arctic willow and cassiope (a type of heather with tiny, needle-like leaves and lovely white, bell-shaped flowers)," to quote Melanie. Steve, our photographer, is obsessed with flower pictures - crouching down constantly to catch them at close range - so expect a flower slideshow sometime soon.

There is already a scientific consensus that human caused global warming is a reality. Scientists here and around the world are doing their part by studying how a changing climate will affect our planet.

- Andrew