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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.

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 ...


The Unexpected Success Story of a Sea-ice App

22 April 2021
When German coastal researchers head for the North Sea this May to measure the nutrient load in the water and, for the first time, whenever they use a scientific instrument, it is automatically recorded by an app, above all they’ll have the ingenuity of AWI sea-ice engineer Martin Schiller to thank for the new service. After taking part in a several-hour-long search operation in the Arctic, he developed FloeNavi, a system for navigating and locating measuring sites on sea ice. The AWI Computing Centre has since expanded the system’s most popular function, the metadata generator, into a separate app. The AWI’s Data Managers will now make it available to all members of the German Marine Research Alliance – the goal being to make scientific data more transparent and easier to verify. Read more here…


The Arctic Spring Has Begun

14 April 2021
The seasonal maximum sea-ice extent in the Arctic has come and gone, the sun now rises above the horizon again at the North Pole, and the long Polar Night has come to an end. The mean sea-ice extent for March 2021 in the Arctic was 14.72 million square kilometres. In March, the air temperatures at 925 hPa were up to 5 degrees Celsius below average in northern Eurasia, and ranged over Alaska to the east. In contrast, in the Atlantic sector of the Arctic the temperatures were 1 to 3 degrees Celsius above average. After experiencing a prolonged negative phase for the majority of the winter, the Arctic Oscillation was predominantly positive in March, though there were also significant fluctuations. This is indicative of more westerly winds, which bring warmer Atlantic air to Northern Europe. 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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