Moderate Ice Conditions in the Arctic and Antarctic

10 March 2020
February / March and September are the months of the year in which Arctic and Antarctic sea ice reaches its minimum and maximum extent, respectively. While the summer minimum was reached in the Antarctic on 19 February 2020 (at 2.68 million km²), in the Arctic the extent has been growing steadily since the end of February, and hasn’t yet reached its winter maximum. Read more…

The 2019 tundra wildfires – the atmosphere hasn’t forgotten

6 March 2020
Though the devastating wildfires that raged in Canada, Alaska and Russia in the summer of 2019 have long-since become old news, in the Arctic stratosphere their impacts can still be clearly seen. The stratosphere is the part of our atmosphere beginning at an altitude of ca. 10 km. : “It’s too soon to quantify the effects of this unusual stratospheric aerosol concentration on the sea-ice formation this winter. But this is an area of research that is being investigated – by the ATMOSPHERE team on the MOSAiC expedition, and in the form of extensive measurements and probe work done both on the MOSAiC floe and at land-based stations like AWIPEV – so that it can be more accurately reflected in future climate models. Read more…

DriftStories from the 2019/2020 MOSAiC expedition through the Central Arctic

28 February 2020
With the DriftStories, once a month we’ll introduce a member of the ICE Team and share insights into the background of their research area. Together with the weekly Sea Ice Ticker, these stories will present the sea-ice-related work being done on site in more detail, and help readers understand the role of sea-ice research within the context of the MOSAiC expedition as a whole. We hope you enjoy reading them! Read more here…

 

A Stone’s Throw Away from the North Pole

24.02.2020
Four months into the MOSAiC drift campaign, the North Pole is less than 160 kilometres away. Current predictions by international forecast centres and researchers, collected and evaluated by the Sea Ice Drift Forecast Experiment (SIDFEx), suggest that there is a chance that the drift will take the expedition even further North. However, the tight grip of the westward Transpolar Driftstream makes it unlikely that the ship will pass the North Pole in the direction of North America. There is other good news: The probability to get pushed into the open ocean before October 2020 is still not more than 10-15%. Read more here...

 

Sea-ice extent in the Arctic and Antarctic at an average level

14 February 2020
In January the ice cover in the Arctic showed a comparable development to that seen in the past several years. Since the sea-ice extent in the Arctic is naturally limited by the coastlines of adjacent landmasses, the ice can only expand in the Atlantic sector, in the Barents, Bering and Greenland Seas, in the Sea of Okhotsk, and in the Davis Strait to the west of Greenland. The air temperature over the Arctic Ocean at 925 hPa was 1 to 3 °C higher than the long-term average. Further, major expanses of Siberia were much warmer than usual for this time of year. Read more here...

 

AWI’s Antarctic fast-ice monitoring programme in Atka Bay celebrates 10-year anniversary

31 January 2020
For more than ten years now, regular measurements have been taken of the fast ice, which normally breaks up during the southern summer, before drifting out of the bay into the Weddell Sea. These routine readings in Atka Bay are taken by the overwintering team at the Neumayer III station, starting as soon as the sea ice is safe to walk on (usually June), and ending when the ice starts breaking up in January or February. The team chiefly measures the thickness of the snow, fast ice and platelet ice along a 24-km-long west-to-east transect that spans Atka Bay. Read more here...

 

Climatology of atmospheric and oceanic forcing data: Essential information for understanding sea-ice formation processes

07th February 2020

The atmosphere is an important component in the climate system and is crucial to sea-ice formation. The air temperature, humidity, pressure and wind fields determine the circulation, and with it, the inflow of warm air masses from the temperate latitudes. In addition, the ocean temperature is the most important factor in determining whether sea ice grows or melts. “These new map products at meereisportal.de are an important resource for sea-ice research, but also provide valuable information for other academic and societal actors (e.g. those in the fishing industry, shipping, etc.) with an interest (ecological or economic) in climatic developments in the polar regions,” adds Dr Renate Treffeisen. Read more…

 

After two-and-a-half years, the adopt-a-buoy project draws to a close

13 January 2020
The ‘last survivor’ from the adopt-a-buoy project was the ice mass balance buoy (2018M11), which continued transmitting until 27 November 2019, when it, too, was lost in the marginal ice zone. In the course of 1 year, 9 months and 9 days, the buoy had traversed the Weddell Sea and covered a distance of more than 8200 km. To give the children a better idea of what this distance means, in the buoy biographies the sea-ice physicist described it as “the distance from Berlin to the North Pole – and back!”. Read more here...