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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.

Sea-Ice Situation in the Weddell Sea

An expedition report by Dr Stefanie Arndt

5 July 2021
While the Arctic sea ice continues to decrease, a glance at the Southern Ocean reveals a different picture: in recent years and decades, the sea-ice extent has increased slightly – albeit with clearly recognisable interannual fluctuations and significant regional differences. Investigating the ice situation in the Southern Ocean was one of the aims of the 124th Polarstern expedition (PS124), which took place early this year. One important finding: there were hardly any differences between this year’s measurements and those from previous years! Read more here…


In the Arctic, the transition from spring to summer is largely par for the course

22 June 2021
This May, the sea ice in the Arctic showed average development compared to the past several years. Not until the end of the month did the sea-ice extent substantially decline, dropping below two standard deviations from the average for the period 1981 – 2010. At the same time, the summer solstice was reached in the Northern Hemisphere, which meant the summer’s influence could be felt the most directly, even in the Arctic. The months that follow will be decisive in terms of how the melting in the Arctic progresses and to what extent the sea ice retreats. Read more here ...


A Time-Lapse Video of the MOSAiC Expedition – On-board Radar Images from 300 Days in the Ice

12 May 2021
RV Polarstern is equipped with various marine radar systems. During the MOSAiC expedition, one of these systems’ antennas took a new picture every minute, offering exciting insights into the dynamics of the ice pack in the ship’s immediate vicinity: a time-lapse video of the MOSAiC expedition – a one-of-a-kind sequence compiled using a selection from ca. 2.5 million radar images. Read more here ...


DriftStories from the MOSAiC expedition through the Central Arctic

You can read the online version of the introduction here.
In addition, you can download the complete booklet as a PDF here or request a printed copy free of charge by mailing us at

Real time course plot R.V. Polarstern
Where is Polarstern?

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