TROMSØ, Norway: September 20, 2019. After a decade of preparations, scientists from 17 nations left Norway today on the German icebreaker RV Polarstern for a €140 million, year-long research project that will see the vessel pass the North Pole while frozen in ice.
Escorted by the Russian icebreaker Akademik Fedorov on its initial journey, the 40 year-old vessel will set sail for the Central Arctic where researchers will investigate a region that is virtually inaccessible in winter, and crucial for the global climate, to gather urgently needed data on the interactions between the atmosphere, ocean and sea ice, as well as on the ecosystem.
The two icebreakers will remain in visual contact as they head across the Barents and Kara Seas in the next 14 days on course for the Central Arctic.
The Multidisciplinary drifting Observatory for the Study of Arctic Climate expedition, or MOSAiC, is led by the Alfred Wegener Institute, Helmholtz Centre for Polar and Marine Research and faces significant logistics challenges: An international fleet of four icebreakers, helicopters and aircraft will supply 600 international participants, half of which are researchers, for the next 12 months.
“Climate change is the greatest challenge facing humankind. The MOSAiC mission is proof that, despite all of the setbacks in the worldwide climate protection process, there is still a strong desire at international level to take on this challenge,” commented German Federal minister of Education and Research Anja Karliczek. “It is a promising signal for climate change mitigation that scientists from 17 different countries will come together to conduct research in the Arctic Ocean, the epicentre of climate change.
“Thanks to their great personal commitment, the scientists will make an outstanding contribution towards helping humanity overcome the challenges of climate change and preserving our world as we know it for future generations. Everyone on this expedition, and also those in their home countries supporting them from afar, are heroes of our time,” she continued.