Arctic expedition to drift in sea-ice for a year

It’s being described as the biggest Arctic science expedition of all time.

The German Research Vessel Polarstern is about to head for the far north where it intends to drift in the sea-ice for an entire year.

Hundreds of scientists will visit the ship in that time to use it as a base from which to study the climate.

The MOSAiC (Multidisciplinary drifting Observatory for the Study of Arctic Climate) project is expected to cost about €130m (£120m/$150m).

Its scale means it must be an international effort. RV Polarstern will be supported by icebreakers from Russia, Sweden and China.

In deep winter, when these vessels can’t pierce the floes to reach the German ship, aeroplanes and long-range helicopters will deliver the supplies and relief teams.

MOSAiC’s objective is to study all aspects of the climate system in the Arctic. Instrument stations will be set up on the ice around the Polarstern, some of them up to 50km away.

The ice, the ocean, the atmosphere, even the wildlife – all will be sampled. The year-long investigations are designed to give more certainty to the projections of future change.

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