Scientists aboard the German research ship “Polarstern” have begun their year-long journey in the Arctic sea-ice to study the atmosphere, ocean, ice and wildlife. Their goal: understanding how warming affects the region and planning better ways to tackle the climate crisis.
“We need to understand what is driving that rapid climate change,” says Dr. Markus Re, leader of the 155-million-dollar expedition, “and we need to have a solid basis of our modeling for the future.”
Organized by Germany’s Alfred Wegener Institute, the expedition – known as the Multidisciplinary drifting Observatory for the Study of Arctic Climate, or Mosaic – has been in planning for five years, involving scientists from 19 countries. Instrument stations will be set up on board and on ice including some equipment up to 30 miles away.
The polar Arctic is one of the world’s most remote areas, normally accessible by ship for only a few months in the summer. But the Polarstern locks itself in the sea and drifts with the Arctic ice, to gather data throughout the annual cycle of ice growth and melt in the biggest Arctic expedition ever conceived.
“That’s one of the great things about Mosaic — we’re kind of nested there for the year,” says Dr. Allison Fong, leader of the expedition’s team that will study the ecosystem of the high Arctic.