PS121 - Weekly report No. 1 | 10. - 18.08.2019

Stormy start

[02. September 2019] 

About a week ago, in the evening hours of August 10 in Bremerhaven, it was “lines off” for Polarstern, as she set course through the initially calm sea towards the long-term observatory area Hausgarten. Every single spot on the ship is full with us, 53 scientists, engineers, technicians, and students from various national and international research institutions.

After the farewell to family, friends, and colleagues, we looked forward to the beginning of the expedition with joyful expectations. Before us lay a few really stormy and miserable days because of high waves, which lead to a couple absences in one or the other team on board.

As a consequence, laboratory access beginning only on the second day of the expedition was universally welcomed. Assigning the laboratories signals the real start of an expedition on Polarstern. Everyone tries to be as well-equipped as possible, in order to work optimally during the coming research program. For this first phase of the expedition, we had to not only deal with the high waves, but also with the fact that the ship is packed not only with our equipment but is also transporting equipment that will be used for the MOSAiC expedition that follows ours. In every corner and cranny of the ship, cases and equipment for both expeditions were distributed in an apparent chaos, which had to be sorted in order to create enough space to successfully accomplish the research on our expedition. Every once in a while, an expedition participant fell into a sudden panic because their favorite place to work was covered in tools and cargo. Luckily, the apparent chaos was quickly conquered by scientists working together and the strong routine support of the ship’s crew. After we had moved into the laboratories, the comradery on board was strengthened by presentation of scientific questions from some working groups on the expedition as well as the most important results from 20 years of research in the area of the long-term observatory Hausgarten. The presentations showed in an impressive way how well the individual working groups complement each other, with research fields stretching from the atmosphere through the water column into the deep sea, all demonstrating the complex interactions of arctic marine ecosystems and the effects of climate change in our study area. We reached our study area two days ago, and work at the first station has already been successfully completed. Multiple moorings could be efficiently and completely recovered. These instruments are all covered in sensors and automatic samplers and constitute a central component of the FRAM observatory (Frontiers in Arctic Marine Monitoring), which is at home in the Hausgarten.

The mood on board is good, and we are excited about the coming week, which we will tell you about in the next weekly report. With best regards from the expedition participants,


Katja Metfies


(Translation: Kirstin Meyer-Kaiser)



Katja Metfies

Scientific Coordination

Rainer Knust
Rainer Knust


Sanne Bochert
Sanne Bochert