The MOSAiC expedition

In September 2019, the German research icebreaker Polarstern has set sail from Tromsø, Norway, to spend a year drifting through the Arctic Ocean – trapped in ice. The goal of the Multidisciplinary drifting Observatory for the Study of Arctic Climate [MOSAiC] expedition is to take the closest look ever at the Arctic as the epicenter of global warming and to gain fundamental insights that are key to better understand global climate change. Hundreds of researchers from 19 countries take part in this exceptional endeavour. Following in the footsteps of Fridtjof Nansen’s ground-breaking expedition with his wooden sailing ship Fram in 1893-1896, the MOSAiC expedition will bring a modern research icebreaker close to the north pole for a full year including for the first time in polar winter. The data gathered will be used by scientists around the globe to take climate research to a completely new level. MOSAiC is spearheaded by Alfred Wegener Institute, Helmholtz Centre for Polar and Marine Research (AWI).

© Alfred Wegener Institute
The Polarstern courtesy of Mario Hoppmann

At the time of writing – the 28th of September at 1000 UTC – the Polarstern is positioned at 82°48′ north and 122°00′ east. It’s very close to the edge of the summer remains of the Arctic sea ice. It’s also close to its final position where it will come to an all stop and be allowed to drift through this coming winter close to the north pole and popping out across the other side of the pole close to Spitzbergen all being well. Let’s hope they’ve stocked up with lots of M&S ready meals – keeping them frozen should not be a problem I would have thought.

They have a web app that you can follow there progress with which is pretty good. So I wish them luck and all the best, it’ll be interesting to follow their progress this winter and see just how cold it gets up there this winter. Here are the latest SYNOP observations from Polarstern, the sea water temperature is a super-cool -1.8°C at the moment.


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