Sea-ice extents recalculated, starting from 2018!

12 September 2020
Once the errors in our processing routine for calculating the sea-ice extent had been identified and corrected, all time series since 1 May 2018 were recalculated, double-checked and then posted on the website again, from 11 September. Older time series are unaffected by the correction. Comparing the results of different algorithms and questioning the accuracy of their results is part of the scientific process, and of quality control. This news informs you, how satellite algorithms work, why they have to be updated from time to time and why we have to update our data. The updated data and graphs are now online. Read more here… team

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Dear sea-ice fans!

An exciting and intense year is now drawing to a close – one that, especially due to the MOSAiC expedition, marks a milestone for sea-ice and climate research. In this expedition of the superlative, 442 researchers, crewmembers and support personnel took part during the five legs and 389 days. Seven ships, several aircraft, and more than 80 institutes from 20 countries joined forces to investigate the complex interactions in the climate system between the atmosphere, ice and ocean, as well as life in and below the sea ice. accompanied the expedition with exclusive coverage in the form of the Sea Ice Ticker, the DriftStories, and a wealth of special-purpose charts and detailed information, to help you ‘join in’ the expedition. In peak periods, attracted more than 4,500 visitors a day, reflecting the considerable demand for the information we provide.

Yet 2020 was also a year in which we saw a number of negative records in the Arctic: the second-lowest September sea-ice extent since the beginning of record-keeping; temperatures that were up to 6 degrees above normal in the Russian Arctic in April and record highs of up to 38 degrees Celsius; and ice-free regions at times of the year in which the ocean is normally covered in ice. Climate change is progressing inexorably, and the Arctic is both a witness to and victim of this trend.

Accordingly, in the year to come, we look forward to keeping you up-to-date with engaging articles, introducing you to new data products, reporting on the latest scientific publications, and offering you comprehensive information on the topic of sea ice and the on-going transformation of the polar regions. Only well-founded scientific findings can provide the basis for changing our behaviour, so as to limit climate change to a scale that, while calling for tremendous efforts, remains manageable.

We wish you peaceful Christmas holidays, above all health, and a good start into the new year 2021!

Your Team

MOSAiC - Multidisciplinary drifting Observatory for the Study of Arctic Climate

It was the largest-scale Arctic research expedition of all time: in September 2019 the German research icebreaker Polarstern departed from Tromsø, Norway and, once it has reached its destination, spent the next year drifting through the Arctic Ocean, trapped in the ice. A total of 600 people from 19 countries, who were supplied by other icebreakers and aircraft, will participated 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. The mission will be spearheaded by the Alfred Wegener Institute, Helmholtz Centre for Polar and Marine Research (AWI). More information about the expedition here.

With we accompanied the MOSAiC expedition with sea-ice-related information and detailed ice maps, and reported on the initial findings. In the course of ten DriftStories, once a month we showcased experts from the expedition’s ICE Team and explored the backgrounds of their research areas. You can continue to find all DriftStories, which offer a closer look at the sea-ice-related work done on site and the relevance of their research for the MOSAIC expedition as a whole, here. has provided regular coverage of the MOSAiC expedition in the form of the Sea Ice Ticker. Though the main focus of the Ticker texts was on fieldwork conducted on all aspects of sea ice, we also explored other topics, especially with regard to new developments, milestones and findings in the context of the MOSAiC drift experiment. The Sea Ice Ticker texts were released once a week and can still be read here.

DriftStories from the Central Arctic – one year, one floe – sea-ice research to the extreme!

20 January 2021
Never before have experts had the chance to investigate the Arctic sea ice as comprehensively as on the international expedition MOSAiC, on board the research icebreaker Polarstern. For an entire year, the ship drifted with the ice through the Central Arctic; for an entire year, the men and women of MOSAiC used cutting-edge technologies to study every facet of the ice around them. They share the challenges they had to overcome, and what they learned at the polar hotspot of climate change, in the following ten DriftStories, which have now also been collected in the booklet “DriftStories from the Central Arctic”. Read more here ...

Back to the Southern Ocean: taking a closer look at the complex climate system in the eastern Weddell Sea

04 December 2020
Following the German research icebreaker Polarstern’s fascinating year in the Arctic as the research platform for the MOSAiC expedition, it’s now time to return to the ice-covered Southern Ocean to gain a better understanding of local interactions between the ocean, sea ice and atmosphere. In the subsequent two months, the research teams on board will investigate the complex interactions between the constantly changing climate and ecosystem in the eastern Weddell Sea. Read more here ...