An entire year trapped in the Arctic ice

MOSAiC - Multidisciplinary drifting Observatory for the Study of Arctic Climate

It could be the largest-scale Arctic research expedition of all time: In September 2019, the German research icebreaker Polarstern departed from Tromsø (Norway) and, once it had reached its destination, will spend the next year drifting through the Arctic Ocean, trapped in the ice. A total of 600 people, who will be supplied by other icebreakers and aircraft, will participate in the expedition – and several times that number of researchers will subsequently use the data gathered to take climate and ecosystem research to the next level. More than 70 research institutions from 20 countries are involved in the expedition. The mission is spearheaded by the Alfred Wegener Institute, Helmholtz Centre for Polar and Marine Research (AWI).

Read more about the expedition on the MOSAiC website. 

MOSAiC: The largest Central Arctic expedition ever

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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.

New MOSAiC team now bound for the Arctic

MOSAiC Expedition

New MOSAiC team now bound for the Arctic

Late Monday morning, the time had come: the German research vessels Maria S. Merian and Sonne departed Bremerhaven, headed for the Arctic. In addition to the ship’s crews, roughly 100 passengers were on board: researchers and Polarstern crewmembers. The two ships will tentatively rendezvous with the Polarstern near Svalbard this weekend, so that their passengers can relieve the current MOSAiC team. A substantial amount of scientific material, equipment and provisions will also be transferred.