Time to Say Goodbye


Time to Say Goodbye

After exactly 300 days of drifting with the MOSAiC floe, the international team around Expedition Leader Markus Rex on Wednesday, 29 July 2020, started the dismantling of the research camp and evacuation of the floe. Just one day later the floe finally broke into several fragments. After accompanying the floe on its journey for ten months, the team will now shift its focus to the last remaining puzzle piece in the annual cycle of Arctic sea ice: the start of the ice formation process.

The latest findings on the MOSAiC floe

Bivalve ice with pebbles

The latest findings on the MOSAiC floe

The New Siberian Islands were the birthplace of the MOSAiC floe: the sea ice in which the research vessel Polarstern is now drifting through the Arctic was formed off the coast of the archipelago, which separates the East Siberian Sea and the Laptev Sea to the north of Siberia, in December 2018. Sediments, and even small pebbles and bivalves, were incorporated into the ice during the freezing process, which the on-going melting process has brought to light on the surface of the MOSAiC floe.

Polarstern returns to MOSAiC floe

MOSAiC Expedition

Polarstern returns to MOSAiC floe

After a month’s absence, on 17 June the German research icebreaker Polarstern rendezvoused with the MOSAiC floe at 82.2 ° North and 8.4 ° East, after having left it on 19 May 2020 to exchange personnel and bunker supplies near Svalbard. Full of energy, the research team for the fourth leg of the expedition, which consists of experts from 19 countries, is looking forward to continuing the one-year-long MOSAiC expedition and its research on the ocean, ice and atmosphere in the Arctic. Earlier this week, their predecessors from Leg 3 returned to Bremerhaven on board the research vessels Sonne and Maria S. Merian.

Where is polarstern?

Figures and facts

Port of registry
Length118 metres
Width25 metres
Max. draught11.20 metres
Max. displacement17,277 tons
Empty weight
12,012 tons
Commissioning AWI1982
Engine4 x KHD RBV 8M540
Engine power
19,198 PS (four engines)
Range19,000 nautical miles /
80 days
Max. speed
16 knots
Operation area
Everywhere including pack ice zone
Days on sea per year (2013)
ShipyardNobiskrug, Rendsburg and Howaldswerke - Deutsche Werft Kiel AG, Germany
Scientists per day / long term sailing
none / 53



More Information

Polarstern is not only a research vessel but also a gigantic measuring instrument. Data are constantly collected aboard, some of them are also sent consecutively to different receivers. Further information about Polarstern can be found on the following pages:


Meteorological observations

Cruise Reports (data overview)

Sea Ice Portal


The sound of Polarstern

FS Polarstern on tour