Icebreakers set sail on multi-national research expedition to Central Arctic


The German icebreaker Polarstern (pictured) and the Russian icebreaker Akademik Fedorov have departed from the Norwegian port of Tromsø to bring a team of over 600 scientists from 17 countries on a research expedition to the Central Arctic Ocean near the North Pole.

The Multidisciplinary drifting Observatory for the Study of Arctic Climate (MOSAiC) expedition, which is led by Germany’s Alfred Wegener Institute (AWI), will see Polarstern and its embarked crew of scientists drift in the Arctic ice for an entire year to study climate processes, particularly how extreme warming in the northernmost regions can have an impact on regions in the middle latitudes, such as some European countries.

MOSAiC head Markus Rex said that this is the first expedition to measure climate processes in the Central Arctic to be done in winter, during which the region would be otherwise inaccessible.

After an exchange of crew and supplies, Akademik Fedorov will return to Tromsø with an expected arrival of October 30.

There will be rotation of research teams for the whole time that Polarstern will be adrift in the ice. Upon completion of the expedition in the late summer of 2020, the vessel will sail for its home port of Bremerhaven, where it is expected to arrive in mid-October of that year.

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