World’s largest Arctic expedition returns with grim news

Right after 13 months of accumulating data, history’s largest Arctic research expedition returned with grim news. “We witnessed how the Arctic Ocean is dying,” mission chief Markus Rex instructed Agence-France Presse. “We noticed this procedure ideal outside the house our windows, or when we walked on the brittle ice.”

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In September 2019, the study mission established sail on the German Alfred Wegener Institute’s Polarstern ship from Tromsø, Norway. For 13 months, about 300 scientists from 20 international locations had been on board at various situations. Recognized as the MOSAiC Expedition — Multidisciplinary Drifting Observatory for the Review of Arctic Local climate — the crew followed in the footsteps of Fridtjof Nansen’s 1893-1896 journey. But rather of touring aboard an previous picket sailing ship like Nansen’s Fram, MOSAiC traveled by means of the Polarstern, a extremely contemporary icebreaker developed for investigation.

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The global experts collected data to improved comprehend how the Arctic is weathering the local climate crisis. Rex explained this spot as “the epicenter of climate modify.” The crew hopes that the acquiring will support predict how heatwaves, storms, floods and fires will have an affect on the Arctic’s potential.

The researchers brought back above 1,000 ice samples and 150 terabytes of data about topics this sort of as Arctic clouds, biology, atmosphere, and ocean physics. It will take years, or even a long time, to assess all this intel. “We went over and beyond the info collection we set out to do,” said Melinda Webster, a sea ice expert from the College of Alaska, Fairbanks.

Sadly, the expedition’s first impressions of the problem had been significant. “At the North Pole alone, we identified terribly eroded, melted, slender and brittle ice,” reported Rex. The researchers expert easy sailing in some locations earlier covered with ice. Rex predicts that Arctic summers will quickly be ice-totally free if the planet’s warming pattern proceeds.

The Polarstern’s Arctic voyage value $177 million. Coronavirus upended the trip’s logistics, forcing researchers to stop the mission previously than planned.

Via EcoWatch and Science

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