Research Icebreaker Parks on Arctic Ice Floe for Year-Long Drift Around the North Pole

Safety engineer Bjela König watches a group of scientists from the bridge of Polarstern leaving for ice survey, October 1, 2019. Photo: Esther Horvath / MOSAiC Expedition

German research icebreaker Polarstern is now parked Arctic Ocean ice floe where researchers will set up camp for a one-year-long drift around the North Pole in the name of climate science.

Experts from the MOSAiC expedition used satellite imagery and helicopter flights to scout the perfect ice floe, perhaps the most critical piece of the puzzle in the year-long expedition to study the climate system in the Central Arctic.

Over the the course drift, hundreds experts from 19 countries will be on board for what is described as the largest-scale Arctic research expedition of all time.

The German research icebreaker Polarstern departed from Tromsø, Norway in September to spend the next year drifting through the Arctic Ocean, trapped in the ice close to the north pole. The mission: to take climate research to a completely new level by spending full year at “ground zero” for climate change.

The MOSAiC expedition is led atmospheric scientist Markus Rex, and co-led by Klaus Dethloff and Matthew Shupe, MOSAiC is spearheaded by Alfred Wegener Institute, Helmholtz Centre for Polar and Marine Research (AWI).

“After a brief but intensive search, we’ve found our home for the months to come,” explains MOSAiC expedition leader Markus Rex. “The ice floe is characterized by an unusually stable area, which we are confident can serve as a good basis and point of departure for establishing a complex research camp.”