Prof Markus Rex, Expedition Leader and head of the MOSAiC project, Alfred Wegener Institute, Helmholtz Centre for Polar and Marine Research (AWI)
“I’m very pleased with how the MOSAiC expedition progressed, and what a complete success it has been. Through the expedition, we can provide the climate data and observations that humanity so urgently needs in order to make fundamental and pressing political decisions on climate protection.”
“We’ve seen how the Arctic ice is dying. In the summer, even at the North Pole, it was characterised by extensive melting and erosion. If we don’t make immediate and sweeping efforts to combat climate warming, we’ll soon see ice-free Arctic summers, which will have incalculable repercussions for our own weather and climate. Though today the Central Arctic remains a fascinating, frozen landscape in winter, the ice is only half as thick as it was 40 years ago, and the winter temperatures we encountered were nearly always ten degrees warmer than what Fridtjof Nansen experienced on his ground-breaking Arctic expedition over 125 years ago.”
“Arctic sea ice is not only an important part of the global climate system; it is also a unique ecosystem and the basis of life for many indigenous societies. And it is a realm of fascinating and unmatched beauty. We should do everything within our power to preserve it for future generations.”
Thomas Wunderlich, Captain, Laeisz Shipping Company
“On the way north, I was especially impressed to see how many stretches of open water and therefore easily navigable ice we encountered, even near the North Pole. We didn’t get stuck a single time, and were able to follow a route to the north of Greenland that should normally be avoided, since the area is known for its massive, virtually impenetrable sea ice. Despite the serious challenges posed by resupplying at sea, and not at port, all transfers went remarkably well. I have a great deal of respect for the nautical prowess of the other captains involved, who completed the transfers in winter, during the long polar night, and even at temperatures below minus 30 degrees, when the cargo cranes on the Russian resupply icebreaker were only partly functional. The outstanding commitment of the crew and researchers under these conditions warrants a successful expedition, and I’m very glad that we have all returned to our homeport, safe and sound.”
Background information on MOSAiC
During the MOSAiC expedition, experts from 20 nations explored the Arctic for an entire year. From autumn 2019 to autumn 2020, the German research icebreaker Polarstern drifted frozen in the ice through the Arctic Ocean. MOSAiC was coordinated by the Alfred Wegener Institute, Helmholtz Centre for Polar and Marine Research (AWI). In order to make this unique project a success and to obtain the most valuable data possible, more than 80 institutes had pooled their resources in a research consortium. The expedition budget was over 140 million euros.
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