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The Multidisciplinary Drifting Observatory for the Study of Arctic Climate (MOSAiC)

Polarstern in ice. Credit: Markus Rex

Collection launched: December 2020

Markus Rex, Alfred Wegener Institute, Bremerhaven, Germany
Matthew Shupe, University of Colorado / NOAA, Boulder, United States
Céline Heuzé, University of Gothenburg, Gothenburg, Sweden
Marcel Nicolaus, Alfred Wegener Institute, Bremerhaven, Germany
Rolf Gradinger, University of Tromsø, Tromsø, Norway
Ellen Damm, Alfred Wegener Institute, Bremerhaven, Germany
Gunnar Spreen, University of Bremen, Bremen, Germany
Annette Rinke, Alfred Wegener Institute, Bremerhaven, Germany
Wieslaw Maslowski, Naval Postgraduate School, Monterey, United States
Paul Shepson, Stony Brook University, Stony Brook, United States
Zoe Courville, Thayer School of Engineering, Dartmouth, Hanover, United States
Joel Savarino, CNRS, Glaciology Laboratory, Grenoble, France
MingXi Yang, Plymouth Marine Laboratory, Plymouth, UK
Stephen Ackley, University of Texas, San Antonio, United States
Jean-Eric Tremblay, Laval University, Quebec City, Canada
Mary-Louise Timmermans, Yale University, New Haven, United States
Lisa Miller, Institute of Ocean Sciences, Sidney, Canada

Coupled processes and feedbacks in the Central Arctic

The Arctic is in a state of transition, with amplified warming, thinning sea ice, emergent processes, and wide-reaching impacts. Models are challenged to represent these changes. The international Multidisciplinary drifting Observatory for the Study of Arctic Climate (MOSAiC) expedition of 2019-2020 used a coupled system approach to examine the processes and feedbacks that lead to the amplification of climate warming in the Arctic, the diminished Arctic sea ice, and their implications on weather, global climate, ecosystems, and model predictions. MOSAiC entailed freezing the icebreaker Polarstern, and an extensive collection of observational assets, into the Central Arctic ice pack for a full year to drift with the sea ice. Over this year, detailed observations of the atmosphere, seaice, snow, and ocean targeted physical, chemical, and biological processes. This Special Feature examines results from the MOSAiC expedition, including both individual components of the complex Central Arctic system and interdisciplinary research that cuts across multiple components. It draws upon a comprehensive suite of observations and samples, including in situ, aerial, and remote-sensing measurements, and a host of related modeling and synthesis activities. Lastly, it places MOSAiC within the context of other campaigns and analyses across the Arctic.


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Polarstern at MOSAiC.
Credit: Matthew Shupe
A transect for measuring thickness.
Credit: Lianna Nixon
Installing an ocean buoy.
Credit: Michael Gallagher
MOSAiC Met City with tethered balloon and Polarstern in the distance.
Credit: Matthew Shupe
CTD operations.
Credit: Matthew Shupe
Polarstern and Met City at night.
Credit: Marcel Nicolaus
ROV ready for a dive.
Credit: Marcel Nicolaus
Position buoy with Polarstern.
Credit: Marcel Nicolaus
Radiation station.
Credit: Esther Horvath
Handling an ice core.
Credit: Lianna Nixon
Ice thickness measurements.
Credit: Lianna Nixon
Ice coring.
Lianna Nixon
View of the MOSAiC ice floe and Polarstern.
Credit: Markus Rex
Polarstern in ice.
Credit: Markus Rex
View of Polarstern at sunset.
Credit: Stefan Hendricks
Snow depth measurements.
Credit: Marcel Nicolaus
Deployment of a sediment trap through the ice.
Credit: Amy Richman

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