Being trapped under a sheet of frigid ice for a year, maybe most people's nightmare, but scientists from 17 nations are gearing to travel to the Arctic Circle in September to study the impact of climate change on the cold Arctic zone and how it could affect the rest of the world, as per international news agencies.
The Multidisciplinary drifting Observatory for the Study of Arctic Climate (MOSAiC) expedition is first of its kind where 600 people from 17 countries will board the German research icebreaker Polarstern at Tromso, Norway to the Arctic Sea where it will spend the next year trapped in the ice, drifting at sea, as shared in MOSAiC's website.
The scientists and other researchers aboard the icebreaker will gather data focused at advanced climate and ecosystem research, will be led by the Alfred Wegener Institute (AWI), Helmholtz Centre for Polar and Marine Research says the website.
Ruptures seen in northern America (Photo: MOSAiC)
Speaking to AWI's Sebastian Grote, expedition head Markus Rex said that while the Arctic has been the epicentre of global warming, the Central Arctic in winter remains virtually unknown and hence his teams aim at investigating it.
"No other region of the Earth has warmed as rapidly over the past few decades as the Arctic; in essence, it is the epicentre of global warming. But at the same time, we still barely understand the region; in particular, the Central Arctic in winter remains virtually unknown. Accordingly, our goal is to comprehensively investigate, for the first time, local processes within the climate system," said Rex.
Talking about what his expedition will entail, Rex said that beginning from Siberian sea ice where they will drop anchor on a stable floe (a sheet of floating ice) and then drift along the Central arctic sea.
"We’ll begin in September 2019 with the research icebreaker Polarstern to the Siberian sea ice and look for a stable floe to drop anchor on. We’ll then drift along with the floe through the ice of the Central Arctic, as the ice thickens. One year later, we should have reached the Fram Strait between Greenland and Svalbard," he said.
Previous Arctic Circle expedition (Photo: MOSAiC)
The Multidisciplinary drifting Observatory for the Study of Arctic Climate (MOSAiC) will be the first year-round expedition into the central Arctic exploring the Arctic climate system. The project with a total budget exceeding 120 Million € has been designed by an international consortium of leading polar research institutions, under the umbrella of the International Arctic Science Committee (IASC), as shared in its website.
The results of MOSAiC will contribute to enhance understanding of the regional and global consequences of Arctic climate change and sea-ice loss and improve weather and climate predictions. This will result in safer maritime and offshore operations, contribute to an improved scientific basis for future fishery and support science-informed decision-making and policy development.