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Messages - psymmo7

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Arctic sea ice / Re: The 2020/2021 freezing season
« on: October 31, 2020, 06:34:30 PM »
 Re: The 2020/2021 freezing season
« Reply #634 on: Today at 03:03:04 PM » from Oren about the purpose of this thread.

Thank you for moderating so competently Oren.
I thoroughly agree with your analysis.

Thanks Etienne,
the comparison of the Polarstern Image with the one  of the Russian Icebreaker that reached the pole in 2017 is stark.

Arctic sea ice / Re: 2020 Sea ice area and extent data
« on: August 15, 2020, 09:15:32 PM »
Maybe my new computer gifted by a good many super people on the ASIF is operational just when the area and extent losses start to reflect the poorly state of the Arctic Sea Ice.

NSIDC Total Area as at 14-Aug-2020 (5 day trailing average) 3,235,790 KM2         

Welcome back. We sorely missed you

Arctic sea ice / Re: 2020 Sea ice area and extent data
« on: August 05, 2020, 08:20:39 PM »
Time for a GoFundMe. I'd put up some money to help. I'm sure others would as well.

If someone can organise it I'm good for 50 GBP too.

Arctic sea ice / Re: The 2020 melting season
« on: July 07, 2020, 02:38:07 PM »
Asking good questions is well encouraged. It enables shy posters and lurkers to receive answers that otherwise they would have had to guess. Normally such questions should go in the questions thread or in subject-specific threads, but it is sometimes acceptable to post them in this thread as well, depending on context, and tone.
Asking repeat questions, in the main thread, in an adversarial tone, for which the answer has already been given and over which a consensus exists in the community, is ill-mannered and is seen as a way to preach rather than an innocent attempt to find answers.
Phoenix - your 850 hPa vs. surface temps question was an example of the latter.
Asking "Can someone explain what is insane with the forecast?" is perfectly acceptable and within context. I often wonder myself, though thanks to the efforts of knowledgeable posters I have learned some of the basics over the years. Had you stopped with that sentence, all would have been fine. But you didn't and are hereby warned, derailing this thread is not allowed and moderation will be swift. Note: If I had been up when the post was made I would have moved it elsewhere immediately, but it already garnered some responses so I will let it stay.

Well moderated Oren - Thank You!

Arctic sea ice / Re: MOSAiC news English Transcript of Audio logbook
« on: June 06, 2020, 09:00:45 PM »
Here is an English language transcript of the Audio logbook podcast (otherwise only in German) that was made by the expedition leader Torsten Kanzow during the journey from the MOSAiC floe to Svalbard. The recording was made on Monday 25. May, but it wasn't published on the MOSAiC website till Friday 29th May and of course it has now been overtaken by events as the Polarstern arrived in Svalbard on Thursday 4th June. What it does reveal, very politely and politically correctly phrased, is that there appears to have been quite a lot of friction between the shore base and people on the Polarstern about how best to deal both with the disintegrating floe and the consequences of the pandemic.


Commentator: Arctic Drift - the audio logbook.

Torsten Kanzow: in the meantime we know that our female and male colleagues, the scientists belonging to the next leg of the expedition, and of course the crew of the Polarstern who will be on the ship during the next leg, have arrived in Spitzbergen, together with the research vessels Sonne and Merian, and that  they are, in principle, waiting for us. However, there’s not the remotest possibility of  us being able arrive there in the next few days.

Commentator: on the 16 May, after a delay of a week, the Polarstern was finally able to leave the  Mosaic ice floe to complete the handover to the next team in the Norwegian Spitzbergen group of islands. But the journey South has proved to be tough and arduous. The research icebreaker has had to fight its way through thick arctic ice and continues to test the patience and endurance of the crew to the limit. The delayed departure turned out to be rather different from the one that those responsible for it had originally planned. This was the result of drastic changes in the floe, as Torsten Kanzow, who is the leader of the third leg of the expedition, explains.

Torsten Kanzow: we had certainly intended to bring some of the equipment on board to protect it from any possible kind of damage and had made a plan.  Then we were warned that a storm was approaching that was very, very well forecast, so that we were able to make a great effort to get all the planned pieces of equipment on board before it arrived.  That effort succeeded very well. But then as the storm subsided we were able to see that the floe was disintegrating far more extensively  than beforehand.  We had already seen that some areas of the floe had split off from it and collided resulting in ice pressure ridges being formed, but then after the storm had ebbed, and we were able to see what had happened, it was quite clear that we would have to bring a lot more equipment on board to protect it and to make sure it could be used by the participants of the next leg of the expedition. That meant that we had to take two additional days to rescue the tents, such as, for example, those of Balloon town in Ocean City.  We had to witness the fact some areas had now become inaccessible. In the light of this development it was clear that the decision to salvage much of the equipment had been a good one. Especially when we saw that a monitoring station, that had been located in the area of the city, was destroyed by the formation of a pressure ridge the day before its planned salvage.  In addition, a tent that the Sea ice group had used for investigating the underside of the ice with a remote-controlled submarine also fell victim to the ice. Some of the instruments that were anchored in the ice could not be rescued either, simply because they couldn’t be located in the newly formed ice ridges. So that is what happened in the last few days that we spent there. I think that the decision that was made about them was a good one. We were able to salvage much more equipment than the original plan had foreseen. As a result, the prospects for the team of the next leg using this equipment to get off to a flying start are now quite good. 

Commentator: in the weeks beforehand the leads and tears in the central observatory,  were becoming daily more numerous. When Kanzow and his team bid the floe farewell they left behind a completely fissured landscape that didn’t bear comparison with the extensive solid floe  with which they were confronted when they started the third leg of the expedition  at the beginning of March.

Torsten Kanzow: the floe is unrecognizable. The state it was in when we took it over gave the impression that it was large, easily accessible area, on which one could work without any problems. That changed relatively soon, and we were already clearly able to see that the radius of action for our daily work was becoming limited as a result of the ice movements. However, what we saw then was nothing in comparison to what happened at the end of our stay: that was a completely different category of floe disintegration. I think that it has fallen apart in such a way now that you can’t really talk about a MOSAiC floe anymore. It’s just a patchwork carpet of ice that you can’t work on in any meaningful way.

Commentator: even if most of the instrumentation that was deployed on the MOSAiC floe could be salvaged and brought on board, the researchers still had to leave some measuring devices behind that may be of use to the next leg’s team.

Torsten Kanzow: for sure, some instruments were left behind.  Ones that measure the drift, the dispersion of the ice by the winds and currents. We also left equipment behind that was embedded in the floe itself and measures the internal temperature of the ice as well some that monitors ocean water parameters.  Some of this equipment was left behind, in part, because it would have been impractical to salvage it.  In particular, salvaging some of the instrumentation for oceanographic monitoring out of two metre thick ice would have been very, very challenging and labour intensive and could only have been carried out by a few appropriately qualified people, so that in the end we weren’t able to salvage everything that would have liked to. But naturally, the measurements that these instruments will make, if they survive, will be very valuable. That’s because the continuity of the data they produce will be maintained. Time series will now continue to be recorded during the transition to spring and summer that we are currently so strongly experiencing, with temperatures in the meantime now around freezing point.  We will be able to continue with these measurements during this important phase until our colleagues are on site and can resume the recordings in the snow and ice.

Commentator: After being in action for 79 days, the protracted return journey has given the leader of the third leg a little time to reflect not only about the preliminary scientific findings, but also about personal experiences and highlights during the last three intensive months.

Torsten Kanzow: naturally, there were some things that were dramatic. It was very often, let me put it this way, the dynamic power that the ice embodied during this period of the year that we,  or at least I personally, hadn’t quite expected.  When one discussed this with colleagues there was the assumption that, during this part of the year, we would be able to work on ice that would be solid and quiescent. However, that was far from being the case.  I think that that, in itself, is a very interesting finding. We could observe some big changes just because we were there for such a long time. For instance, the change from the record lowest temperature on the ice that was measured  during the expedition. This  was, if I remember rightly, minus 42. And now, towards the end of the leg, we are experiencing temperatures around zero. This range of conditions and the change in the ice and snow itself that was already a highlight. We also saw big changes in the Ocean: we saw that the extent of the water layer that formed immediately under the ice became extremely deep during our leg. The values we measured were very large and it will be very interesting to analyse them further, especially in conjunction  with other large changes that we observed in the ice and the atmosphere.

Torsten Kanzow: what personal impressions have I taken away? I think that this journey was accompanied by a lot of high and low points, both with respect to living together with the team and also with how the world outside the ship was viewed, that we had to and did    live through. One thing that, let’s say, perhaps demanded the most from me and that I perceived as a big challenge is communication. Communication about the ship and about the situation that we were experiencing and the different perspectives about it that people had who were faced with the challenge of performing their own scientific work under extreme conditions, but who were then faced with another set of conditions and uncertainties from outside the expedition that had nothing to do with their work.  And then there was communication between the ship and the scientific and logistic groups that were involved with MOSAiC. That was also an enormous challenge: to describe our observations and the conditions in which we found ourselves in such a way as to make it understandable. The way that actually happened - I’ve never lived through anything like that before.   There’s a big range of impressions about this and its not just black and white.   There were many positive moments, for example, because we were able to see that despite having lots of different viewpoints, we were always able to motivate ourselves to work together well and we all pulled together. Naturally it was greatly satisfying to see that measurements continued to be made successfully, despite  the very rapidly changing external factors (Ed.- the pandemic) and the consequent uncertainties in the planning that arose with respect to the changeover between the legs and despite all the dynamic changes that we were experiencing on the ice. That we were able to remain  productive and to continue deal with each other in a friendly manner under this pressure was an enormous achievement. 

Commentator: The demoralizingly long return journey of the Polarstern may be testing the patience of a lot the crew. However, both the scientists and the crew can are quite clear about what their next big goal is. 

Torsten Kanzow: Our mission now is to reach Spitsbergen as soon as possible.  We should have arrived there 2 days ago,  if the original plan had been adhered to or if our ideas had been listened to.  In the meantime, we know that our female and male colleagues from the next leg and of course the exchange crew of the Polarstern have already arrived  in Spitsbergen (Ed. this podcast was recorded on Monday 25. May and broadcast Friday 29. May) on the research vessels Merian and Sonne and in principle they are waiting for us. But there’s not the remotest possibility of us arriving in the next few days. We have now covered 40 miles from the floe in a southerly direction. That’s during the 9 days we have been travelling so far and we are still about 100 or 120 miles away from the border between sea ice and open water. After we have reached open water then perhaps it will take another day for us to reach Spitsbergen.  The effort of travelling through the ice is extremely demanding: of course we spend a lot of time looking at satellite observations and how the ice to the south of us is changing, but, as of now, it doesn’t look as if it’s going to change much in the next few days.  That means progress is going to continue to be very slow and looked at soberly it means that we are going to have to continue to be very patient and not harbour the illusion that we are going to arrive in Spitsbergen in a day or two. (Ed. it took them another 10 days!)

Commentator: When they have arrived in Spitsbergen, Kanzow will handover command to the well-known  AWI (Ed. Alfred Wegener Institute) Project leader Markus Rex, who was already in command on the Polarstern during the first leg of the expedition at the end of September. By drawing on the experience of the team from the current leg, he (Rex) will be able to prepare himself in advance for the new situation in the field

Torsten Kanzow: of course I’m already in communication with the leader of the next leg, with Markus Rex, and he can see, just as I can, how slow our journey to Spitsbergen is. Naturally he always got updates from us about how dynamic the ice was and how difficult the situation there was and is.  I believe the best advice I can give him is that one should always have plans, but then be prepared to alter them and that you have to expect changes in the conditions on the ice  to occur and to have to cope with them.  It’s also important to know that the situation on the ice must be well described and well communicated to the women and men scientists who are still working in their labs and that you have to trust the people who are on the ship to make the right decisions, because only they can judge what the conditions on the ice are really like. I believe that that’s exactly what they are going to do on the next leg, so they probably don’t need any tips from me. But what I do believe is really needed is to be a bit relaxed and to trust each other, if you are going to get good work done. That may be a commonplace that holds anywhere in the world, but it particularly applies to those working on the floe. The next leg faces a big, a very big, challenge, because they will have to review the situation and will have to discussed how work can be continued during the coming months. Should the original floe be returned to? Are good conditions for working expected there? How will it be possible to achieve that in an ice-system that is probably going to remain very dynamic as the summer melt sets in, where the question of how power can be supplied to the equipment is very different from what it was in the beginning and where fog will have to be contended with – in other words poor visibility. How is it possible to create a good workplace environment for everyone on board, especially the women and men scientists? These are issues that we already had to struggle with during our leg. These are quite difficult questions and the next team will have to confront them too, but of course my female and male colleagues know that as well.

Commentator: there is still a long journey in front of Torsten Kanzow and his team before they can leave the ice behind them and return, hopefully safe and sound, to their homes. But the Oceanographer doesn’t have to think long about the answering the question about what he will enjoying doing most when he gets there.

Torsten Kanzow: of course, what I’ll be happiest about when I return is to see my family, my wife and my two children, and to have them in my arms. That‘s the most wonderful thing one can imagine.

Arctic sea ice / Re: MOSAiC news
« on: April 27, 2020, 11:45:00 PM »
Here's an English language transcript of the Audiologbook of the Polarstern from the MOSAiC expedition website that is otherwise only available in German. It was posted last Thursday (23. April). In the meantime we know that  the Polarstern is going to move from its current floe to go to Svalbard to meet 2 German  support vessels to get supplies and to change the scientific personnel. Whether it will return to the position it had left or reposition itself on another floe further North still hadn't been decided at the time of making this post.


Commentator:  The crew of the third leg of the MOSAiC Expedition directed  by Expedition leader Thorsten Kanzow has now been on the icebreaker Polarstern for more than a month and a half. In the meantime, polar day prevails: the sun doesn’t disappear behind the horizon anymore and makes the work of the scientists a little more pleasant. At the same time, the ice is, as before, always in motion resulting in continual changes.

Thorsten Kanzow: One thing that I find very impressive is, I‘m searching for a word, is the dynamic change that one sees here on the floe. What I’m trying to express is what one experiences when one goes to the bridge in the morning and sees how pieces of the floe or the cities or other markers on the ice have shifted and moved in relation to each other.  What we now realise is that it’s often the same leads that open and close again and again, the same fracture lines that exist in the ice so that such a large stable vessel like the Polarstern is unable to withstand the forces at work to keep itself stably positioned in the ice, and we experience these forces at first hand. I find that very, very striking. This observation may not be the result of a single experiment or from one particular group, but its something that affects all the groups in the course of their daily work.

Commentator: The continual movement of the ice makes the scientific work on the floe difficult. Some areas of the camp can temporarily only be reached with difficulty or may even be totally cut off. This results in experiments having to be set up all over again and limits the measurements that can carried out. 

Thorsten Kanzow: So, the MOSAiC floe has experienced several changes. When we arrived here it was very, very cold. It was also dark most of the time and the floe was, for the most part, intact. That meant that we were able to get to all the scientific monitoring stations and the automated monitoring in the various cities was going well. Then came a phase from circa the 11th of March onward when there was a lot of ice movement and an increased number of leads  opened up in the ice and then closed up again resulting in ice ridges piling up where they joined up again. This led to us often having to cut the electrical power supply to the monitoring stations that we could not reach, or could  only reach with difficulty. And I think we suffered  substantially during this period. During the last week or two the situation here on the floe has become very quiet or at least quieter. The ice has compacted considerably and that means that many of the activities that were either partially stopped, or that had to stopped completely, have been restarted. Some of the monitoring stations have been reconstructed or reconfigured and located nearer to the ship. But I would say that, in principle, at the moment we are gathering a lot of data.

Commentator: The scientists are able to react very flexibly to these changes. They have been able to make use of the situation and gather data about it from various different scientific angles. For example, it was possible for them to gather a lot of data about lead opening and ice ridge formation. 

Thorsten Kanzow: We have, of course, invested a lot of time and effort into investigating these changes, in particular into the opening of leads. Indeed, the phenomena of lead opening and the subsequent piling up of ice to form ice ridges are connected. We have worked a lot on this phenomenon, not only from the aspect of sea ice but also from an atmospheric and oceanographic perspective. That has been one focus of the change in the science.  A second change is related to the fact that we have daylight back again: there is sunlight all day and the sun does not set. For instance, one consequence of this is that  a number of chemical processes in the atmosphere change and that a number of important biological processes that take place in the floe have begun. Scientifically speaking, those are two big changes we have experienced on the floe.

Commentator: Other than originally planned, the drift of the ship and the floe have clearly shifted further in a southerly direction. This will affect the scientific work, because among other  factors the water in this region has different properties.

Thorsten Kanzow: For example, when we look at the ocean then we find ourselves moving through  another body of water either than when the expedition started or at the beginning of our leg of the expedition. We are now in so-called Atlantic water. This is a very, very salt-laden body of water. That means that simply as a result of the Atlantic influx, the water with which the floe  makes contact has become much more salty. That in turn has an effect on  the biology of the floe, on the supply of nutrients. In addition, and one has to speculate a little here, the speed with which we have advanced southwards  is coupled to the risk that we could possibly enter a zone in which the ice will break up still further. A zone in which we could get very, very strong lead formation and that would then alter and limit the work we do, but could also possibly present us with new opportunities.

Commentator: After completing many arduous tasks during the last few weeks,  the scientists now have a little more time for social contact on the ship. It is not always that easy to find the right balance between work and private life.
Thorsten Kanzow: I think that we were able to get to know one another very well on the journey here on the Dranitsyn from Tromsø to the ice floe. That was, of course, a period in which we were not so immersed in work. Then came a period during which we had to work extremely hard and social life had to take a backseat. But I think that, at the moment, its recovering. For example, over Easter we did a lot of things together. We had an evening gathering on the ice with the Easter fire in little bowls and on Easter Sunday we had a barbecue with a party afterwards party on the ice. Those are proper events and just this very minute, as we are speaking, a football match is taking place on the ice. This means that one can  see that social activities are recovering. Activities are also offered that involve both scientists and crew, such as regular excursions on the ice, but there are also activities that take place on board like table tennis tournaments and things like that.

Commentator: The polar day that has meanwhile arrived also contributes to the wellbeing of all on board.

Thorsten Kanzow: I’ve already been in the arctic in summer. That means a lot of light and that the light doesn’t  go away, because it is light twenty-four hours a day, even at midnight. That I have already experienced. The alternative scenario was not something I was familiar with. This means that the complete darkness that we experienced on the Dranitsyn, was the first time I was able to experience it so intensely. I must say that I much prefer the scenario with light to the one without. I think it is quite easy to retire in the evening and to be able to darken your room, but to have to go completely without light I don’t find at all pleasant.

Commentator: Acoustically one is continually made aware dynamic nature of the ice surrounding the Polarstern: time and again the pressure of the ice makes the ship vibrate  and that impresses even the most experienced  scientists.

Thorsten Kanzow: These noises are connected with the movements of the ship. When they occur I am always gripped by a  slight fear and I go to the bridge to see how our power lines are faring - the lines that go from the ship onto the floe and then to the various places where power is needed all the time. And the other priority that I feel I must control, because of the safety aspect,  is whether the gangway is still securely positioned at the place where the scientific personnel go onto the ice or come back from it. Otherwise I have to say that it’s a crazy phenomenon, to be able to experience how the ice ridges pile up to the stern of the ship and tear out the ice anchor  and break cables as their formation progresses. I must say it’s rather impressive.

Commentator: The changes in the ice and especially these consequences of the ice movements are not predictable. Should the temperature rise further in the next few days and weeks as a result of persistent warm air, then further impacts on scientific work are to be expected.

Thorsten Kanzow: If it [the warm air] is an occurrence that only lasts for a few days and then everything returns to normal, then I think big changes will only come later. But, at the moment, we don’t know whether we will experience this rebound within the next four or five days so we can’t plan ahead. And what if that does not happen? We still have southerly winds, that means winds that are bringing warm air masses here. I think that if this warm air occurrence caries  on for one or two weeks then this is going to have a lot of consequences for the science, for the biosphere and for the properties of the sea ice, possibly even on the heat uptake by the ocean and so on. This means that the processes that connect the ocean, the ice and the atmosphere would all change and if that carries on for long  it will result in large scale consequences.

Commentator: Are there any wishes both from both a scientific and a personal perspective for the remaining weeks that the team of the third leg is going stay on the Polarstern?

Thorsten Kanzow: from a scientific perspective, I hope that that now that we have managed to get lots of things running that were temporarily experiencing difficulties, I really hope that we will be able to maintain this status for the next two or three weeks. But since the science is also changing, I hope that the teams will also be able to record all the changes too, because after all that’s what we are here for. We didn’t come here only at a particular time of year with a certain general weather situation because we wanted to investigate a single season, rather we wanted to follow  the transitions between the different seasons. That means that the science that one does has to change too. However, with limited manpower and with the teams working to nearly full capacity on the scientific tasks they have already set themselves that is difficult to achieve. However, the teams are working very, very strongly together with the experts at their home bases to find the right balance between continuing existing programmes and trying to answer new scientific questions and  setting up new experiments. And that, from a scientific perspective,  is my biggest wish: that they will succeed.  As expedition leader I naturally also want the scientists to be cheerful and content and to get on well with each other, as indeed they have so far. From a personal perspective, I want to continue to hear good news from home.

Arctic sea ice / Re: The 2020 melting season
« on: April 12, 2020, 10:14:21 AM »
Well moderated Oren

Arctic sea ice / Re: MOSAiC news Lat and Long numbers
« on: March 26, 2020, 10:28:03 PM »
It's on the Mosaic website in the little daily report in the bottom right hand corner.
Sailwx also reports sporadically with the Polarstern callsign DBLK and when it does the values correspond.
You will also find it in the upper left hand corner of Polarstern position grapfic on the start page of the Uni Bremen Sea Ice webpage gives position at 03.00 UTC).
I hope this helps

Arctic sea ice / Re: MOSAiC news
« on: March 23, 2020, 05:27:03 PM »
Here is an English language transcript of the podcast called "Arctic Drift" from the MOSAiC website that is otherwise only available in German. It was posted there on 21. March but it the "now" it refers to was probably sometime in the week of the 15th March, when the Polarstern was drifting South rather rapidly.


Commentator Audio Now.....The  Audio-Logbook.

Torsten Kanzow:  my name is Torsten Kanzow: and I’m leader of the third leg of MOSAiC. I’m a physical oceanographer and work at the Alfred-Wegener-Institute for Polar- and Ocean- Research.

Commentator: In the meantime, the crew of the third leg of the MOSAiC expedition has reached the Icebreaker Polarstern and is already continuing scientific work. The expedition leader Torsten Kanzow and his team had to endure a journey there that was not only a very arduous and challenging, but also took much longer than originally planned.
Torsten Kanzow: we successfully completed the journey here to the MOSAiC ice floe, to the Polarstern, on board a Russian icebreaker the Captain Dranitsyn, and the journey from Tromsø up to 88 degrees North, almost to the North Pole   took a total of four weeks. And I would say it featured a number of challenges.  Immediately after our departure from Tromsø on 27. January we anchored in a neighbouring fjord for the first four or five days because we had to weather the bad conditions on the open ocean and could only continue when they’d passed. We reached the edge of the ice in the Barents sea relatively quickly
but then we suffered an excruciating slow passage through the ice that lasted for several weeks and during that time it wasn’t really predictable how long it would take until we reached the ice floe. We tried to maintain a  lot of contact with the Alfred-Wegener-Institute, that was closely following what we were doing. At some stage we realised that to some extent  it was going to be a battle with the fuel reserves of the Dranitsyn, so that at some point different options as to how we could manage the exchange with the participants of the previous leg were brought up. There was lots of discussion about whether perhaps helicopters could succeed in bridging the distance between the Dranitsyn and the Polarstern for the last part of the trip or whether the journey time of the Dranitsyn should be extended, and in the end the last variant was chosen. This was because what our home base in Bremerhaven was able to organise was that, in effect, another icebreaker would set off to sail in the direction of the Dranitsyn, to meet her in the ice  as she was returning to Tromsø after  having brought us to the floe, and refuel her. 

Torsten Kanzow: we actually arrived at the floe at the beginning of March, when the conditions had already changed so that we could see the first light of the Arctic dawn, whereas during the whole journey there we’d been in complete darkness, and so I think naturally we were very, very  relieved when we finally arrived. This is because for many of the expedition’s participants it was of decisive importance to be able to set up their experiments and do on site research. After months and in some cases years of preparation for many of us it would have been very, very distressing and shattering if we hadn’t managed to get here. So, we were very, very glad when we covered the last miles and were able to moor on the MOSAiC floe.

Commentator: after the long and gruelling trip, even before he arrived at Polarstern itself, the new expedition leader was rewarded with a visual treat.

Torsten Kanzow: as soon as we came within range of  the helicopter, it was already the case for me that I was flown to the Polarstern as part of the vanguard from the Dranitsyn, so to speak, to arrange details of the exchange between the participants of the second and third legs. What that meant was that the vanguard was able to actually observe the observatory from the air and that on a very, very beautiful day on which the dawn light could be clearly seen for the first time.  It was an absolutely breath-taking flight and an awesome sight. Then at the first opportunity after I landed,  I looked out of the window of the Polarstern at the observatory and it was of course totally, totally different to just looking at something I had, till then, only known from pictures. Then came the realisation that I was there at last and that all that travelling had been worth it.

Torsten Kanzow: as it happened, I went to the Ocean-City on the day of my arrival. My colleagues, whom I know from the Alfred-Wegener-Institute had invited me there. In the  Ocean-City measurements of the ocean are being made, mainly physical measurements, but water samples are also being taken. My colleagues are active there almost every single day and what it involves is a small tent that has been placed on pontoons on the ice and, in the middle of the tent there is a hole through the ice, so that you can see through the sea ice down to the water. Measuring instruments are put into the water, through this hole, to allow measurements and samples to be made at depths of up to 4000 metres.

Commentator: The handover of the scientific monitoring stations on the ice floe took several days and was hampered the extreme temperatures there. After successful completion of the handover the new team of leg three is correspondingly relieved and motivated to be able to finally get on with their real work.

Torsten Kanzow: It was a phase during which we had extremely low temperatures. We had temperatures of around minus 40. We had good visibility, but it was very, very cold. At such cold temperatures the mechanical devices on the ships and all the mechanical devices that are required to move freight from one ship to other are naturally operating at the limit of their capabilities.  The hydraulic systems of the cranes were not operating well. In addition, we had the situation that  the Dranitsyn wasn’t moored directly next to the Polarstern, but a kilometre away on the same floe. This was done on purpose to hinder any destruction of the ice in the vicinity of the Polarstern as a result of the arrival of the Dranitsyn. So, our colleagues prepared a sort of small road on the ice floe.   A path on the ice was cleared and for the first couple of days  the exchange of materials and personnel was really rather sluggish, because of the problems that I’ve just mentioned, but then things improved as the handling of the individual pieces of equipment could be, so to speak, better adapted to the conditions. And so, after five or six says we were through with the exchange and hadn’t just transferred all the freight from the Dranitsyn to the Polarstern, but also all the personnel, who were conveyed from one ship to the other on sleds. This was a phase during which, at the same time, the scientists from the second leg had to hand over and explain the use experimental equipment and sensors. It was a very, very intense period. But I believe that I, and everyone else who participated, was very glad when it ended and one could get cracking on one’s own.  We all appreciated it a lot to have the floe in our hands, so to speak, and to get to work as individual teams.

Commentator: Despite this, even for Kanzow and his team, the new surroundings are still very unfamiliar and so even after the first few days he still doesn’t feel quite at home.

Torsten Kanzow: I believe that that takes just a little more time. I haven’t yet inspected everything. Naturally, to begin with, we were faced with the challenge of familiarising ourselves with everything and setting up our daily routines, and then getting on with our projects. I was very strongly involved in events here on board and couldn’t be out in the field as often as many of my colleagues. I hope that that will now soon change. In particular, its self-explanatory that we don’t just have to keep the scientific side of things going, but we must also be logistically in the position to service and maintain our infrastructure to ensure that we can always be reached, especially by air. I am already active in this respect and am trying to fulfil this part of my responsibilities

Commentator: Since a few days after the arrival of the first scientists of leg one in September the sun hasn’t risen above the horizon. The polar night is now coming to an end. During the last week it’s gradually been getting lighter and the first sunrise can be seen.

Torsten Kanzow:  We would have been really happy to happy to experience the moment of seeing the sun for the first time, but today we didn’t see it. It wasn’t visible for the whole day, because we have had very, very strong winds here, bad visibility and to some extent low cloud. So today wasn’t much different from the day before. It was an exciting day, because our position shifted quite a lot and we were kept very busy organising how we could protect certain pieces of equipment from cracks in the ice. It began yesterday and has continued till now. That meant that we had a lot of practical worries to deal with rather than concerning ourselves about the sun. However, a celebration party is planned to welcome the sun. We still have to decide on the day, because at the moment the weather  really isn’t good enough for grilling outside. 

Commentator: Because of the extreme conditions in the Arctic, both the scientists and the technical staff are continually confronted with new challenges. The new expedition leader is particularly impressed by the tireless efforts of the logistics team.

Torsten Kanzow: When we arrived on the floe, a fleet of various vehicles was handed over to us. We could move around on the floe with them or use them, for instance to prepare a landing strip. It included  2 Pisten-Bullis and 8 Skidoos. But then within a few days, because of the extremely low temperatures and other technical defects we were only in a position to start 3 of the Skidoos and neither of the Pisten-Bullis could be used.  That meant that we were able to see with our own eyes how quickly the technical requirements, that are a prerequisite for working in the field here, can become shaken or even be forgone as the result of extremes of temperature and other technical difficulties.  What particularly impresses me was how the people here are applying themselves to getting all our equipment back into working order under these extreme conditions. Motors are being dismantled and parts removed, fuel lines cleaned and other diverse operations carried out at temperatures of minus 30 or minus 40. So, by now we already have 7 of the skidoos up and running  and today both Pisten-Bullis were running again. That naturally requires  the logistics people to invest a lot of energy in keeping us fully operational.

Commentator: Apart from the scientific projects the handover to the crew of the next leg must also be planned. This is should or rather must take place by air. The existing airstrip must be modified for this.

Torsten Kanzow: Until now, one of the foci of my work was to try and find and survey a site that would be suitable for a landing strip. This is because the exchange of the next cohort of scientists at the beginning of April should be taking place by air. That’s something to which we must give priority. We do have a landing strip already, but it’s not suitable for the type of aircraft that we are planning to deploy for the exchange. So we’re working on an alternative, but very recently the conditions changed rather abruptly as a result of the mobility of the ice, through cracks and leads that have appeared in the ice. I believe that we now have to work in parallel to ensure that working conditions on the ice remain safe. That must certainly be a focus that is assured or to see, after the storm that we are currently experiencing has ended, how we are still able to get to our measuring equipment.  How can we make sure that it‘s possible to carry on working safely? I think that’s one focus and another one is to work on the options for the landing strip. A third focus, that I am attempting to set up scientifically, is to enable physical oceanographic measurements to be carried out. Together with other scientists we are developing an experiment to understand the processes that go on in these areas of open water that appear as the result of cracks and leads opening and that are in direct contact with the atmosphere. That’s a situation that interests many of us here. It’s a situation in which a lot of  oceanic heat is released into the atmosphere, and that affects the ocean, which cools as the result of sea ice being formed, while on the other hand, how can I say it,  the atmosphere gets a source of energy that can drive atmospheric circulation. That’s where we are at the moment, scientifically preparing things somewhat and it’s a theme that will keep me occupied in the coming weeks.

Arctic sea ice / Re: MOSAiC news
« on: March 01, 2020, 12:25:07 PM »
Here is an English translation of a transcript of instalment 13 of the Arctic drift podcast posted on the MOSAiC website that is otherwise only available in German.

This time the podcast is almost up to date because it refers to events that happened on the 27th of February, one day before the Dranitsyn managed to reach the Polarstern.  It reveals the problems that have been encountered in  maintaining the emergency  landing strip because of ice movements and that the expedition has probably experienced its closest approach to the Pole. It also includes a contribution from the new expedition leader Torsten Kanzow, who tells listeners something about the mood of his team. 

Installment 13 – Delay of Provisioning Icebreaker, Airstrip kaput and a seal.

Introduction: The next leg of the MOSAiC Expedition is already coming to an end. However, the arrival of the Russian icebreaker Dranitsyn for provisioning and crew exchange has been considerably delayed.  Naturally, most  of the existing scientific projects continue, but there are others that, because the Arctic dawn (return of daylight) is beginning, should be begun as soon as possible. For the third leg of the expedition,  Torsten Kanzow will take over the position of expedition leader on the Polarstern from  Christian Haas.
Commentator: Arctic Drift,  the Audio Logbook.

Christian Haas: Our current position is 88 degrees, 30 minutes North and 39 degrees  48 minutes East. That‘s about 90 miles from the North Pole and the Dranitsyn, the ice breaker with our supplies and exchange crew that we are so eagerly awaiting, is located about 30 miles to the South.[Ed.: According to the data on the MOSAiC webpage, this makes the date of this recording the 27th February]

Commentator: The next leg of the MOSAiC Expedition is already coming to an end. By the half-light of the Arctic dawn (the return of daylight) the crew associated with Christian Haas, the leader of the expedition, is eagerly awaiting the Russian icebreaker Dranitsyn with supplies and exchange crew, whose arrival has be considerably delayed. The delay has consequences for various types of measurements that should already have started. As a result, it’s now important to coordinate the exchange of personnel and materials as quickly as possible to avoid losing any more time.   

Christian Haas: The communication with the Dranitsyn is very difficult, because it is only possible to speak with them via Satellite telephone, where there are big lags in the conversation and the connection is often interrupted, or by E-Mail, where it’s difficult to clarify complicated technical issues quickly and clearly. Anyway, as soon as the weather allows, we are planning to make additional flights to the Dranitsyn to bring more scientists here, in particular to allow them to start the measurements that should be made during the Arctic dawn, that’s just beginning.

Christian Haas: We haven’t just been sitting here doing nothing. Rather, we used the delay period, that‘s now lasted about 2 weeks, to continue and intensify our monitoring. The MOSAiC project is planned to continue for a whole year and therefore it’s important to continue weekly measurements. We’ve done that so the scientific projects are continuing routinely.   

Commentator: After the months-long persistent darkness of the polar night, the Arctic dawn is beginning. Even among experience researchers this natural spectacle evokes fascination and elation.

Christian Haas: We are still thrilled by the environment that surrounds us, and by the moving around and work on the ice. Naturally, that’s become even more fascinating because the sunrise is already beginning. Just today [Ed.: 27th February] for the first time, because the sky was clear, we could really see the ice we were standing on and orient ourselves without using our head lamps. Despite this, many of us on board are of course also still a little incredulous about the situation that our return home will be delayed by so many weeks, which will result in a  lot of organizational and private problems

Commentator: The current monitoring programme will hardly be affected by the delay in exchanging the crews. In fact, just the opposite has happened: in the last few weeks some continuous 24-hour measurements that required a lot of preparation could be carried out.

Christian Haas: In any case, among the recent scientific highlights is the fact that we were in a position to continuously monitor the turbulent flows under the ice for periods longer than 24 hours.  Turbulence measurements are very important for being able to estimate how heat from the ocean can be transferred to the ice and then to the air above the ice.    The strength of the turbulence is dependent on the speed of the current flow and the roughness of the ice. Normally we can only make these measurements during the day and when there is good weather. What does that mean? The wind should be relatively calm and there should be no drifting snow. But these are not conditions under which the current flow is particularly strong and the turbulence correspondingly large. For this reason, we made a special effort to make continuous 24-hour recordings out in the oceanography tent.  Naturally that meant that we also had to ensure safe working conditions 24 hours a day. People had to be on bear watch all the time and shifts had to be organised to make sure that the monitoring was continuous.

Christian Haas: Anyway, a further highlight was that we met the first seal on our ice floe. The first time it was seen was only for a few moments in the ROV tent (the ROV is our underwater robot), but for such a short time that nobody was able to photograph it, so half-jokingly we doubted if the observation was real. Then, just this week, the ROV’s dives took it for long distances under the ice and in its livestream all at once we saw a seal appear, a ringed seal, that we able to observe  catching Arctic cod directly under the ice.    This is a very nice example of how the ice provides a habitat for microorganisms and zooplankton, that are then eaten by fish, in this case arctic cod, of which we see large numbers in our underwater video footage, but have not been able to catch. The fish then serve as a food source for the seals.

Commentator: The specially constructed landing strip that, in emergencies, would allow crew members to be flown out and supplies to be air lifted in was damaged by strong ice movements. Temporarily a new area for it must be found, but for the handover between legs 3 and 4 in April a kilometre-long strip will be required.

Christian Haas: The airstrip was operational for five weeks and in really good condition. But unfortunately, a week ago it was damaged. A split that went the whole way through the floe also went through the middle of the landing strip and divided  it into two parts. However, the crack was less than a metre wide and on the next day we were already able to fill it with snow,  compacted snow, so that planes would have been able to land again.  Sadly, two days after that, because of continuing ice movements, the floe was disrupted again, but this time the crack was much bigger, at least a metre and a half wide, so that one couldn’t just jump over it. To make matters worse, one of our Pistenbullys, these are the vehicles that we use to remove snow, smooth the ice and remove pressure ridges, got stuck on the wrong side of the crack. After several days we were able to bring the Pistenbully back to the ship over the slowly closing crack. But then, there where the crack had been, the ice edges moved together further and the thin ice that had formed in the meanwhile was squeezed out and a pressure ridge formed where the crack had been.   Because the ice there was particularly unstable, we haven’t been able to level the pressure ridge and can’t use this part of the landing strip. But despite the storms of the last few days we are in the process of extending the other part to the North so we will have a new 500 metre long landing strip which, when the cracks to the South have been mended, can be quickly extended to provide one a kilometre long.

Commentator: Despite the demanding work on the ship, the scientists are still able to devote some time to sporting activities that bring them ever closer to the North Pole.

Christian Haas: A special kind of sport on arctic expeditions is that, for fun, one is always trying to get as far north as possible and establish new records. Therefore, we were particularly excited to see how far north we would come and whether we would possibly get to the North Pole. During the last two weeks the drift in a northerly direction was very strong and very  swift, so that we really did approach to within 80 miles of the North Pole. Since then we are now moving southwards and, because we are now in the downstream part of the Polar Drift, it is unlikely that we will reach such a high latitude again. Therefore, we are happy that, in all probability, we got to the northernmost point of the MOSAiC expedition.  Since we were only 80 miles away from the North Pole, we feel that it was justified for us to have called our skiing club the North Pole Skiing club, right from the beginning. And, until we leave the ship, we will continue to make our weekly ski tours and push even further North.

Commentator: Some scientists have already been flown from the Dranitsyn to the Polarstern. Among them is Torsten Kanzow, who will take over the leadership of the expedition from Christian Haas. During the long outward journey, the new personnel has had a chance to grow together as a team and prepare itself for the forthcoming tasks.
Torsten Kanzow: I’m Torsten Kanzow. I’m a physical Oceanographer, working at the Alfred Wegener Institute for Polar- and Marine Research and will be taking over the leadership for the third leg of the expedition.

Torsten Kanzow: We have tried very, very hard to come together as a team. Many scientists didn’t know each other before they joined the expedition and they have now got to know each other well and organised themselves to be able to work together. And we have worked an awful lot within the team. Apart from preparing themselves for their individual duties, the scientists have tried to work out different ways for ensuring  effective cooperation between individual groups within the team. In addition, we indulged in an awful lot of free time activities together. We met for communal film evenings, had a table tennis tournament, and quiz evenings. There was frequently a presentation of the best photographs of the day. There were many, many activities, some on deck as well. I believe we used the outward journey and the leg very well to become a team.

Torsten Kanzow:
But on the way here, when the progress through the ice wasn’t so great we went through a roller-coaster of emotions. During the last few days we have been progressing much faster and the mood depended very, very  strongly upon how high we rated the chances that we would be able to reach the Polarstern. From time to time we discussed other alternative possibilities of how we could accomplish our mission, if the Dranitsyn couldn’t get to the Polarstern. So naturally for a long time, and indeed still even today, because the Dranitsyn isn’t there yet, she is still 30 miles distant, we have been holding our breath. [Ed.: in the meantime, the leg3 people can breathe out. The Dranitsyn made it the next day 28. February] But with the good progress that we made during the final part of the trip, its only natural that there are many more happy and hopeful faces to be seen. 

The next thing that must be done is to coordinate the mooring of the two ships so that people and materials can be exchanged. The captain of the  Dranitsyn has received  a comprehensive plan for this.  Torsten Kanzow is very happy about the next leg but also has very high expectations for the next few months.

Torsten Kanzow: On the Dranitsyn we received the plans from Captain Stefan Schwarze, that the mooring of the two ships should be different from the last time.  The mooring position of the Dranitsyn should be about a kilometre away from the Polarstern, to the East. There, as I understand it, there are some sort of infrastructural measures being made to ensure that the transfer of goods from the Dranitsyn to the Polarstern can take place over the ice floe. Naturally we are very happy about this, because it will allow us to kick off with our activities on the ice floe. The third leg can begin or continue activities, because as I have been told it has  now officially started.  Our expectations are very, very  high, in the main because the team seems to me to very motivated and friendly. That’s… That gives me good reason to anticipate that we will be able to achieve a lot, both by carrying on with MOSAiC’s successful projects  and by complementing them through starting new ones. Naturally some of this expectancy is bound up with the fact that we will experience the transition from darkness to 100 percent daylight.  That makes our leg a really, really special one – although of course the other legs were too, in their own way – and that understandably gives this leg  its own powerful allure. Today, on the flight here, we could get our first impression of what we are about to experience: the ascending sun was already producing a red twilit sky and I have to say that it made the flight breath-taking. The helicopter trip today was quite an amazing experience.

Commentator: How successful the changeover from leg 2 to leg 3 will turn out to be and whether the expectations of the new expedition leader Torsten Kanzow will be fulfilled, you can find out by listening to the next instalment of Arctic Drift – the audio logbook.


Arctic sea ice / Re: Global sea ice area and extent data
« on: February 20, 2020, 12:18:00 PM »
7 days after the average date of minimum, a daily sea ice extent GAIN. Now maybe the 17th Feb is the minimum (16.72 million km2). Then again, maybe not.
Correction ? - Surely extent was 16.72 yesterday (18th) not the 17th?

Arctic sea ice / Re: MOSAiC news
« on: February 15, 2020, 10:30:28 PM »
If anyone is good in Danish - then Rasmus Tonboe is reporting from the Kapitan Dranitsyn at this site.
Apparently  the ship passed through a snowstorm last Sunday (9th Feb) picture attached

Arctic sea ice / Re: MOSAiC news
« on: February 13, 2020, 11:44:01 AM »
Here is an English transcript of the latest podcast from the MOSAIC website that is otherwise only available in German.

Posted last Sunday (February 9. 2020) at 9:02 AM

Installment 12 – little snow, lots of new findings & “Gurki”

In this installment expedition leader Christian Haas reports lots of new findings that have been gathered in various scientific areas of the  MOSAIC expedition. One finding among them concerns the  formation and original provenance of the various ice types. In addition, during the last few days, various living organisms have been found in the ice. Haas describes the current status of the programme for  building a landing strip and gives an insight into various  kinds of methods and  measurement techniques.

Commentator: Arctic Drift – the Audio Logbook.

Christian Haas: Today is one of the coldest days that we have experienced till now, about minus 34 degrees. But luckily the wind is not particularly strong, only about force 3, so that the wind chill temperature is only about minus 45 degrees.
Commentator: Very low temperatures continue to prevail in the Arctic. Despite this the researchers on the MOSAIC expedition observe similar climate alterations to those that are currently occurring in Europe. There is also comparatively little snow in the Arctic. The expedition leader Christian Haas explains why this change has consequences for the ice and why the researchers welcome any change in the condition of the snow.

Christian Haas: During the last few days we even had Strong Wind event, with force 5 to force 6 winds. That isn’t exactly a storm but, of course, given the temperatures that we have here, it felt very, very cold. What was fantastic about it, was that the snow was redistributed: that means that it was blown away from some places and piled up in other places in deep drifts. These drifts were several decimeters deep and several meters wide and long. As a result, the landscape quite clearly changed in the course of the last few days. However, just as before, there is still very little snow: on average between 9 and 12 centimetres, which is really a lot less, about half the amount that we would expect from long term climate records. That leads to the ice being able to grow thicker than it would be able to if the snow was deeper. This follows from the fact that snow has very good insulating qualities and very low heat conductance. Therefore a thin snow covering has the effect that the ice can lose more heat and can grow faster as a result. If the snow were deeper, the ice would grow significantly more slowly.

Commentator: In the previous installment Christian Haas already told us at some length about the various kinds of instruments that were being placed in the pressure ridges. The first measurements and observations from the so-called Pressure Ridge Observatory are bringing results.

Christian Haas: Yes, a few weeks ago we set up the Pressure Ridge Observatory. That meant that we installed a large number of measuring instruments in a large pressure ridge to observe how the ice grows in  the cavities and under the thickest ice and how the pressure ridges affect turbulence under the ice. Currently we are making the first investigations with our ROV, our remote-controlled unmanned submarine that is equipped  with cameras and is able to take samples. And, just as we hoped,  we found fish, even now in winter, in the cavities - the openings in the ice keels that occur in the pressure ridges between the ice blocks. Small codfish that spend the winter hiding there. We also found the remains of algal mats that will start to grow as soon as the light returns and will serve as a food source for these fish.

Commentator: Intensive research is also going on in other scientific  fields. As the result of new ice movement and a split in the ice inside the camp new insights could be gained into ice formation.

Christian Haas: During the last few days we had a lead opening event and a strong ice deformation event even though the wind wasn’t particularly strong. However, because the ice is drifting continuously  there are always  local differences in drift speed and drift direction. That happened now in our vicinity about 2 kilometres south of the ship where a lead opened and an open water surface about 20 metres wide and several hundred metres long was exposed in a relatively short period of time. This event was very welcome, because it enabled us to investigate the processes that occur when water is exposed in this way, how quickly it loses heat and how ice forms on it  and how thick it gets. So, several teams rolled out on the day it occurred and set up their instruments around the lead and made measurements for hours and in some cases days. They measured the water vapour above the  lead and how this affected the warming of the air. They also measured how new ice came into being in the form of  so-called frost flowers and the chemical processes that accompany it.

Commentator: In addition, the results of the ice-core-drilling programme  have provided information about the place where the ice floe originally came from.

Christian Haas: Once a week we have an extensive ice core drilling programme where we drill ice cores from different types of ice to examine their chemical and biological properties. This week for the first time we found a core that was full of sediment from the sea floor. At the moment we have 4000 metres of ocean beneath us, so it’s a fairly natural question to ask how the sediment got into the ice. But this sediment is a clear indication, if not proof, that that our ice floe was formed in the very shallow water of the Siberian Shelf. The water there is only 20 metres deep and if the wind is strong while the ice is being formed sediment can get trapped in the ice. The sediment then drifts with the ice and we can use it as a reliable tracer for identifying the origin of our  floe.

Commentator:  Research doesn’t only take place on the ice.  Airborne  missions with helicopters help the crew work more effectively by allowing regular maintenance of automatic monitoring stations that are several kilometres distant from the ship.

Christian Haas: One aspect of our activities here that’s very successful, although we haven’t said much about it yet, is helicopter flights. It wasn’t clear how well it would be possible to fly in the dark. Flying in darkness is very challenging. We took a lot of effort to prepare the helicopters for it by providing them with the right equipment for night flying. The pilots and mechanics also had to undergo special training in order to be able to undertake night flights here.  Fortunately, the effort has paid off. Because we have had really very good weather conditions, we have been able to carry out a large number of flights. We not  only made survey flights with the laser scanner in the neighbourhood of the ship, but we also have a network of automatic monitoring stations in an area between 10 and 50 kilometres from the ship and we have been able to visit some of these locations and in some cases to land there. We installed lights on them that can switched on by remote control, to save battery power, and in this way we were able to visit them and carry out maintenance tasks such as cleaning them, replacing batteries or reactivating them. 

Christian Haas: Another important aspect of the helicopter flights is that we carry out measurements of the thickness and  surface roughness of the ice. We do that with a laser scanner that measures the height of the helicopter over the ice with a rotating laser beam so that we cover a roughly 300 metre wide track along the flight path. By flying criss-cross over the ice in a grid pattern we can use this track to map large areas and can get a good impression of the type of ice  and its surface properties.  The maps that we produce in this way are our most important tools for being able to navigate through the ice, because otherwise we have neither photographs nor high resolution satellite data. An important feature of these freeboard and roughness maps is that we have used them to identify possible locations for siting the landing strip that we are going to construct during the next few weeks.

We need this airstrip for the crew exchange between the third and fourth legs of the expedition, because we can only accomplish this  using larger aircraft that land on wheels.   

The  landing strip will have to be one and a half kilometres long and on ice that that is one metre thick. We have already begun to look for such possible sites and the laser scanner maps were an important tool for doing this, because we could distinguish between areas that were relatively flat and those that were uneven because of pressure ridges. Of course we like to construct the landing strip on a relatively flat area, because it would be very laborious to have to try and remove and flatten humps and pressure ridges with the Pisten Bullys. Unfortunately the recent deformation- and lead-opening- events have destroyed some of the potential sites so that we must now wait until the situation has stabilized and then make new survey flights to confirm whether the sites we identified earlier are still suitable before we can begin with the construction of the landing strip.

Commentator:  The laser data and the survey flights aren’t just important for the construction of the airstrip and the maintenance of the automatic monitoring stations. The movement of the ice can also be followed and analyzed using aerial data. 

Christian Haas: At the moment the  laser scanner data are the most important way for us to be able to observe the movement and deformation of the ice. For instance, to see exactly where leads open, where pressure ridges occur and where floes are colliding.  . During the lead-opening event that we already mentioned we were successfully able to survey the area with the laser scanner for several days and to follow how the ice opened up in some  places but was pushed together in others until leads were completely closed   and the last strong convergence event took place. A convergence event is one where ice floes collide and are pressed against each other with such force that they break up and pressure ridges are formed.

Commentator:  Whereas the helicopter pilots work at an altitude of several kilometres [Ed. sic – this is really what he said – I know it’s nonsense], the marine biologists are researching at a depth of several kilometres and made a rather remarkable discovery.

Christian Haas: A special highlight of each week are the net catches of the biologists, who lower their nets several thousand metres deep into the ocean from the side of the ship and catch a variety of living organisms including algae, zooplankton, small amphipods and jellyfish.   The shrimp-like amphipods are the most numerous.  But this week we had a rather special surprise, because we caught a ca. 10-centimetre-long animal that was a very bright red. We haven’t  identified it yet, because there are so many different species that not every  biologist can be expected to identify them all immediately, but because it looked like a cucumber we called it “Gurki” [Ed. “Gurki” is a diminutive form of the German word for cucumber  “Gurke”]

Commentator:  You will be able to find out whether a suitable site can be found for building the landing strip and what new findings there are from the various scientific investigations  in the next installment of Arctic-Drift the  Audio Logbook.

Commentator: AUDIO NOW.

Arctic sea ice / Re: MOSAiC news
« on: January 28, 2020, 01:53:03 AM »
Here is an English Translation of a transcript of the latest Podcast from the MOSAIC Website that is only available in German.

The Podcast was posted last Wednesday (January 22)  at 5:57 PM on the MOSAIC Website (in German) - the recording itself was probably made 8. January

Instalment 11 – thick ice, four-legged visitors and slight frostbite

In the meantime, the team around the new leader of the MOSAIC-Expedition, Christian Haas, has accustomed itself to life on the ship and to the camp on the Ice Floe. In this instalment the Sea Ice physicist goes into detail about the composition of the ice and how it is continuously changing. Apart from this, Dr. Haas also reports on measurements made by other scientific disciplines and explains how an aircraft landing-strip is made on the ice. The continual decrease in temperatures and the ongoing polar night present further challenges for the members of the expedition. And, this week, the camp got another animal visit.

…..[Ed.: Just so that transcript readers don’t miss out on the atmosphere of the podcast they should know that it is preceded and ended by sound recordings of strong wind and creaking ice….]

Arctic Drift – The audio logbook.

Christian Haas:   At the moment we are at 87 degrees 8 minutes North. During the MOSAIC expedition the ship this the most Northerly that the ship has been. [Ed.: According to the positions reported on MOSAIC webpage this would date the time that this recoding was made a being around 8. January]

Commentator: In the meantime, the leg 2  Team has adapted to arctic conditions. The crew around the new  Expedition leader Christian Haas has familiarised itself  with the Icebreaker  Polarstern and the condition on the home floe. Dr. Haas himself is head of the Sea Ice Physics section of the  Alfred Wegener Institute and can precisely explain what an ice floe is and why the ice in the arctic is constantly changing.

Christian Haas: we are always using the term “ice floe”, but everyone probably imagines something different under this term…and at this time of year, in the middle of winter, there aren’t really any, anymore. When the  Polarstern arrived here at the beginning of October, it really was the case that there were individual ice floes drifting in the water. They were separated from each other by water or thin ice. But the ice and the ice floe formed a unit and could be regarded as a swimming platform.   The MOSAIC ice floe had a diameter on the order of two to three kilometres. But since we have been here and the winter has begun, the whole area around us has frozen solid, so that one can’t make out individual ice floes, because the borders between them are not visible, except with the help of Satellite data. Nonetheless it’s the case that the ice floe isn’t a plate, it isn’t a simple uniform plate of ice, but, as before, it regularly fractures and is displaced by shear zones. Till now we have just had a lot of luck that such shear zones and fractures didn’t go directly through our camp but were some distance away. Just yesterday we made an exploratory tour with snowmobiles to the West and East and at a distance of about two to three kilometres in each direction we found tears and shear zones.  With that we could say that the floe is  two to three kilometres in size, but the Northern and Southern boundaries haven’t been found yet. 

Commentator: The ice and the alterations in it are being constantly observed. Using different kinds of measurements it is possible to completely understand the displacement of the ice. Many researchers view these displacements as a danger, because they can lead to interruption in their research. Others welcome the possibility being able to  observe and analyse them directly. 

Christian Haas: The ship’s radar, that every 10 minutes makes an image of the surroundings within a radius of 5 kilometres, helps us a lot. When one looks at a time series of these images it’s like looking at a film of the ice movement. Most of the time the ice is stable, but sometimes one sees shear events, where, because of a difference in the extent of ice-drift in different regions, a part of the floe suddenly slides by between several metres up to as much as 100 metres relative to the other part. These zones produce tears and the formation new pack ice ridges.

Christian Haas: For most of our colleagues here the tears and the formation of pack ice ridges are seen as a hazard, because they interrupt research. But for us as researchers and  for the whole MOSAIC project of course it’s an important process that we want to investigate.  This is because we want to better understand why the ice in the arctic has declined so much during the last few decades and to find out what processes result in the ice becoming thicker or thinner. The growth of pack ice ridges, the deformation of the ice and the sliding of pieces of ice on top of each other  is a very important process and can make ice much thicker than it would become through solely as the result of freezing through contact with the cold atmosphere. For this reason the sea ice researchers and remote sensing experts who are involved in our project are very thrilled to be able to observe such deformation events at first hand and to be able to see how the ice can continuously become thicker through floes fracturing and sliding on top of each other. 

Commentator: In the meantime, the floe ice is circa one metre thick and has doubled in thickness since the beginning of the expedition in October.  In comparison, the so called “pack ice ridges” are considerably thicker. To investigate them more thoroughly various instruments have been installed in the ice.

Christian Haas: We see here that some pack ice ridges are up to three metres high. Pack ice ridges are like icebergs, that means that roughly a tenth of appears above the surface and nine-tenth of them are under water. It follows that where there are pack ice ridges the ice can be 10, 20 or even more metres thick. We have observed this with our remotely controlled ROV, with which we were able to make  sonar measurements of the ice depth and we have already found ice thickness of over 10 metres. In our last big action, we installed a number of instruments in some of these pack ice ridges. We call this the “Pack Ice Ridge Observatory” and we want to use it to observe on the one hand how the underside is eroded by currents and by the warmth that is present in the sea water and on the other hand  how the pack ice ridges are frozen from above. In addition, we want to know how, because of their rough surfaces, they are affected by turbulence in both air and water and whether this is important for their growth or melting.

Most ice measurements are made by drilling holes in the ice and then placing instruments underneath the ice or in it. That’s exactly what we have to do here. We have placed large measuring devices, that require large holes to be drilled, at the periphery of the pack ice ridges and underneath the ice. These are for instance instruments that measure water currents and turbulence.  Then we embedded thermistor chains over the whole ridge as well as in the thickest ice, that was more than 8 metres thick in places. With these chains we can observe how the ridges cool, how they freeze in the centre, and how the processes of erosion and disintegration  take place on their undersurface.

Commentator: Research in other scientific disciplines is also ongoing. A great deal of weather data is being collected both on the Polarstern and  in the Ice Camp. Still lower temperatures than the current low temperature of minus 35 degrees have been measured there and that has led to one or two expedition members experiencing mild frostbite.

Christian Haas:  By itself the air temperatures aren’t sufficient to judge how cold it really feels on the ice, because it’s the combination of air temperature and wind strength, what’s called “windchill”, or in other words perceived temperature,  that’s important. Unfortunately, some of the coldest periods occurred at the same time as phases when the winds were strongest. Windspeeds went up to 50 km per hour and the perceived temperature fell under minus forty-five, sometimes under minus fifty. This made work on the ice very, very  unpleasant and even almost dangerous. Although we have very good extreme weather clothing, a few people still managed to experience mild frostbite on their faces. This is very difficult to avoid when you are really concentrating on your work and you forget how cold your cheeks, or your nose, is getting.

Commentator: The safety of the team is still first priority. In case there should be a medical emergency, that luckily hasn’t happened yet and hopefully won’t in the future, then expedition members can be airlifted out. 

Christian Haas:  We are approximately 300 kilometres from the North Pole and therefore a long way from any form of human civilisation and from any form of help that we would need if an accident were to occur. Basically, we are further away from help and civilisation than one would be on the international space station.  For this reason, we have made contingency plans for how we would obtain help in case it was really needed. One of these plans is that we could be reached by a light aircraft with skis that could land here and bring help or airlift a sick person out.  However, such an aircraft would require that we have a more or less even landing strip, which wouldn’t be there naturally, because the ice needs to be thick enough - at least 50 centimetres – for the aircraft to land safely. Because of this, during the last few days we constructed a test landing strip close to the ship, so as to minimise our use of  resources. To do this we used Pistenbullys, these are tractors equipped with snow ploughs and rotary hoes [Ed. In English they are also known as “Snowgroomers”]. This Pistenbully prepared a roughly 400-metre-long, 25-metre-wide  landing strip, that is very, very flat – so flat that even an aircraft with landing wheels could land here. That was a very important exercise for us to allow us to  prepare for the construction a larger landing strip that we will need for the changeover between legs 3 and 4.

Commentator: The scheme for protection from Polar bears is also still active, although so far during leg 2 no polar bears have seen. Instead the camp was visited by other four-legged creatures who unfortunately caused minor problems with various measurements.

Christian Haas: The pin up animal for the arctic is the polar bear and we are prepared for them in all sorts of ways, although they aren’t as dangerous as they are often made out to be. But, to our great disappointment, we haven’t yet seen one. This isn’t perhaps so surprising, because in the middle of winter, when its dark and the ocean is almost completely frozen over, there are neither seals nor any other kind of food.  Then the polar bears tend to go South. Therefore, given that our tour of duty was the mid-winter one, perhaps we shouldn’t necessarily have expected to see many of them. But what then  did surprise us, although there are past reports of it, is that we were visited by Arctic foxes. Up to 6 of them were seen. They stayed in the neighbourhood of the ship quite a long time, circling the ship and playing. That was something of an occasion here and a bit of a diversion. Naturally, first of all we thought that the foxes were cute animals and nice to look at. However, actually they presented something of a danger to our measurements because they love chewing cables. And accordingly, some of the foxes chewed through some of the cables that we had laid across the ice to connect measuring instruments with dataloggers, batteries or generators, interrupting measurements. But then we were able to successfully protect the cables against the foxes and were able to drive them away and for the last two weeks there haven’t been any more foxes here and our work could continue unhindered.[Ed.: on the MOSAIC webpage on 6 January a further instance of damage was discovered and  reported and the remark made that the foxes had been seen at “the end of December”] 

Commentator: Christian Haas is looking forward to the coming weeks and the upcoming research work, although the conditions for it won’t be made easier by the continuing polar night and the further decrease in temperatures. He is very focussed on keeping the goal of the MOSAIC expedition in his sights.

Christian Haas:  We are still moving into February and March, that’s actually the coldest season in the arctic. That means that weather conditions will become even more extreme. Nonetheless, I believe we will continue to work enthusiastically on the ice. Because now, just as we are slowly beginning to get good time-series measurements of atmospheric conditions and of ice and water conditions, the information is becoming increasingly interesting and we are getting nearer to fulfilling the goal of the MOSAIC expedition to investigate the interaction between the atmosphere, ocean and  ice and, and we shouldn’t forget that, the Biology of the arctic. So I hope that we will continue to be able to work unhindered. Naturally one or two ice deformation events should also take place, if possible, at quite a distance from the  ship. We will continue to expand the radius of the area that we move in. Apart from that, I hope that we might indeed get a storm that will bring us some snow. Till now the snow has been very sparse, the snow cover is between eight and twenty centimetres. And what we also hope for, even if it may sound paradoxical, is that at some stage we get an intrusion of warm air that will temporarily give rise to very high temperatures and even to a little rain, as has been seen with increasing frequency in past years and about which there has been much speculation as to the effect it has on ice cover and ice growth. We now have a unique opportunity to observe the phenomena on the spot and that is absolutely necessary to better understand these processes. 

Arctic sea ice / Re: MOSAiC news
« on: January 23, 2020, 08:12:54 PM »
Here is an English translation of installment 10 of the MOSAIC podcast that is only available in German on the MOSAIC webpage. It was posted there last Wednesday (15. January) but mainly covers events from mid-December last year, namely the handover from leg1 to leg 2 seen through the eyes of the leg 2 leader Christian Haas.

Moderator: Audio Now    Arctic Drift – the audio logbook.

Christian Haas: Hallo, I’m  Christian Haas, I’m the project leader for leg 2. I’m not just a researcher, I’m also head of the Sea Ice section of the Alfred-Wegener Institute in Bremerhaven and I’m very happy to have been chosen to take on this task.

Moderator: The next part of the Mosaic Expedition is in full swing. In the meantime, Christian Haas has taken over Markus Rex’s post and is now the local expedition leader for the duration of the second leg. He and the other expedition participants were only able to reach the Ice Breaker Polarstern and relieve the crew of the first leg after  a long and difficult journey through the arctic.

Christian Haas: Yes, our journey began long before we reached the Polar Stern, in fact on the 27th November in Tromsö, where we went on board the Kapitän Dranitsyn.
There were about 60 scientists including the logistic teams and Polar Bear lookouts as well as about 40 of the Polar Stern’s crew, the sailors that look after us here on the Polarstern. We boarded on the 27th and sailed off immediately, but we  only sailed about 2 miles into the fjord before we had to drop anchor as the ship wasn’t fully prepared for the high seas: because of this we had to lash all the containers on deck and store all the other freight for the expedition either in the helicopter hanger or under the foredeck. Then, sadly, there was a very bad weather forecast that predicted a big storm would be blowing over the Barents sea that would make it too dangerous to sail. 10 metre waves were forecast and the ship is only built to withstand three or four metre waves. Therefore, we had to wait for 6 days in the fjord, off  Tromsö,  before we could start the trip. After that the voyage lasted 10 days, 2 days to traverse the Barents Sea, where the waves were moderate and  most of the passengers took it well. And then we went into the ice along its edge where we safe from the next storm that had already sprung up, causing waves on the open sea. Then we sailed north of Severny island [Ed.: The northernmost part of Nova Zemlya], an island that is part of the Siberian Arctic, and set our course North to get to the Polarstern and that took another 5 days.

Christian Haas: The voyage to the Polarstern was very, very  exciting and we all had great expectations of getting there as soon as possible. To begin with the journey through the ice was relatively rapid, but then from day to day it became slower and in the end we were travelling at an average speed of only 1 knot, so that the people on the Polarstern, who were greatly looking forward to finally being relieved, asked what we had been doing. But the Dranitsyn was just very cautious going through the ice to avoid getting stuck and  so took  her time to get to the Polarstern.

Moderator:  The new crew also had to get used to conditions in the arctic. The ice breaker supply ship Dranitsyn had to make its way in the darkness from waypoint to waypoint until it was only a few metres away from the Polarstern before materials and crew could be exchanged between the 2 ships.

Christian Haas:  The first interesting thing was that  on the first day of our voyage there was already no daylight, so that we had to get used the darkness. That made our first glimpse of the Polarstern in the distance, after 10 days at sea, all the more amazing and impressive. However, because it was roughly 40 miles distant, it quickly became clear to us that what we were seeing was a Fata Morgana, caused by reflections from air layers, which was itself an interesting phenomenon. Then we received a delegation from the Polarstern that came to us by helicopter from the Polarstern. One of the officers from the Polarstern, was seconded to us. He knew the waypoints and the coordinates and had an exact plan for how we could approach the Polarstern without colliding with any of the buoys which make up the network of autonomic stations around us that carry out automatic measurements. He knew a secure route for being able to get us as close as possible to the Polarstern. This was done very professionally and  in impressive style. The prow of the Dranitsyn approached the stern of the Polarstern to within 6 metres, so that nothing had to be offloaded onto the ice but instead, using the cranes of both ships,  it was possible to transfer freight and personnel between the two ships in both directions at the same time.


Christian Haas:  Despite the amazing positioning of the two ships it was unavoidable that we did have to transfer some heavy items from the stern of the Dranitsyn to the Polarstern via the ice.  This was done using 2 cranes in tandem, because items on the Dranitsyn couldn’t be transferred from the aft part of the ship to the front part. Instead, we had to offload heavy items such as helium gas cylinders onto the ice, then they were transported from the stern to the prow with a tracked vehicle and then they were taken up by the crane again to lift them onto the starboard side of the Polarstern. We were very happy, because the ice on the port side of both ships remained very stable, at least to begin with, but on the last day a crack in the ice did appear so that immediately after the last transfers had been completed it wouldn’t have been possible to traverse the crack and transfer the last heavy items from the helicopter deck to the Polarstern..

Moderator:  The expedition members could now make an on the spot appraisal of the situation and inspect the ice floe on which they would be spending the next months. For the first time they were able to see for themselves the cracks and other ice structures from which until then they had only heard from their colleagues and which had had such a strong influence on the expedition. 
Christian Haas:  We of the second leg were now very curious to have a look at the situation on the floe and see all the changes about which we had heard so much and from which leg 1 had had to suffer so much; in particular the cracks that were opening all the time and the displacements that occurred. And, as if pre-ordained, the next cracks appeared on the day of our arrival. One of our first actions was that we had to help out. Some of the instruments, especially the remote-controlled instruments, were standing on the ice in the covered area called  ROV City under which a huge crack had developed, directly under the covered area, and we had to rescue them. There was a lot of speculation about whether the cause might have been because the Dranitsyn had to come so near to the measurement area to access the Polarstern. But I think that it was in general caused by the high drift speed and the strong wind that prevailed at the time and that it was a simple deformation event, Anyway since then it’s been the case that the ice has been very, very quiet. Indeed, actually  that was the only deformation- or  break-up event that we ourselves experienced. Since then the floe has quietened down a lot. We moved the remote-controlled instruments and ROV city to a new site. But we haven’t had to reorganize anything else simply because the ice in the immediate vicinity and in the area where we are making measurements has remained static  and we have therefore been able to concentrate 100 percent on our projects and our measurements and have been able to work unhindered

Moderator: in the next installment you will find out how the new crew has adapted to life on the Polarstern and what progress the scientific measurements are making.

Moderato:  Arctic Drift – the audio logbook

Arctic sea ice / Re: Arctic Image of the Day
« on: January 12, 2020, 10:25:34 PM »
If you look at the 24 hour video from the webcam
you'll see that there was a lot of floe ice movement on the open water during the last 6 hours from 06:00 - 12:00 local time. Drift direction to the North.

Arctic sea ice / Re: MOSAiC news English Transcript of Audio Logbook
« on: January 12, 2020, 08:17:40 PM »
As promised earlier here is an English transcript of the Audio logbook that can be found on the MOSAIC website and is otherwise only available in German. It was posted on the MOSAIC website on Wednesday 8 January, but the recording itself was made on December 14 last year just before the changeover between the first and second leg teams. So it doesn't contain anything particularly newsworthy.

For the record here it is.


Commentator: Artic Drift the Audio logbook.

Markus Rex:  We have now coms as far as eighty-six degrees twenty-six minutes North on the direct route to the North Pole [Ed.: The Polar Stern was at this latitude on either late on 10th or early 11th December]

Commentator: In the Arctic wintery temperatures are gradually being seen. The researchers of the MOSAIC expedition are currently measuring temperatures down as far as minus 30 Celsius. Markus Rex, leader of the expedition explains what further falls in temperature are expected  in the coming days and months.   

Markus Rex: It’s certainly becoming colder as MOSAIC transitions into winter and just in the last few days we reached the lowest temperature record of the season with minus 31 Celsius. Before that the temperatures were mostly above minus 30 or sometimes just touching it. That’s to be expected. The lowest temperatures will be recorded sometime in the period between January and March. The lowest temperatures usually occur in February.

Commentator: In comparison to the expedition of  Fridtjof Nansen, who carried out a similar drift experiment in 1893, these temperatures can be considered warm. The big differences to that time can be traced back to the ice cover and climate change

Markus Rex: Back then Fridtjof Nansen measured temperatures of minus 51 and 52 degrees Celsius at this time of year. Those are temperatures that we won’t observe on this expedition. From all the temperature measurements that we have obtained from automatic drift systems in the arctic we know that temperatures under minus forty-five degrees Celsius practically don’t occur anymore. That’s clearly an indication of change the Arctic is not the same one that Fridtjof Nansen saw then. Our ice is much thinner, it is only half as thick and is therefore very dynamic and full of cracks. The temperatures are higher as well. Climate warming isn’t the first thing that springs to mind, but the change is omnipresent  in the ice and in the temperatures, even if it is  taking place at very low temperatures. It’s not so easy to explain how temperatures below minus 50 could occur in Fridtjof Nansen’s time. After all, even in Fridtjof Nansen’s time the temperature of the ocean under us was only minus one point five to minus  one point seven Celsius, then the water freezes. In other words, we have an enormous underfloor heating system under us an enormous heat reservoir only a thin layer of ice separates from this heat reservoir. The low temperatures are also affected by the ice being thinner and because the ice was thicker in Fridtjof Nansen’s time. He had a thicker insulating layer between the warm ocean and the low temperature air. Our ice layer is thinner, so more heat comes out of the ocean and therefore such low temperatures can’t be reached anymore.

Commentator: The measurements in different scientific experiments are also making progress. Although there is no perceptible difference between “daytime” and “night-time” during the polar night most of the team keep regular working hours. Despite this there are also measurements that are made at night or round the clock.

Markus Rex:
For the most part, we keep usual working hours, simply because the participants also need to take breaks, so we decided to synchronise. But naturally we also want to carry on research round the clock and, in several instances, we are active 24 hours a day. There are scientific reasons for this because there are certain species of organisms in the ecosystem  that have daily rhythms in lower latitudes, migrating back and forth between deeper and shallower layers of water in the course of a day. This raises the question of what these organisms do during the polar night when there is no variation in conditions, when there is no daylight? To investigate that we naturally have to keep making measurements throughout the night.

Our remote-controlled underwater robot is looking at underwater life in the ocean throughout every twenty-four-hour period and I am very curious to know what the results will be. There are really quite a lot of activities that take place during the night. There are automatic instruments that measure continuously anyway and we also have our tethered balloon that takes samples from the 200 metre layer of  the atmosphere above the earth’s surface throughout the night and there are also ocean instruments that operate through the night.

Commentator: The thickness of the ice cover increases continuously during the arctic winter. As a result, larger and heavier equipment can now be brought onto the ice from the icebreaker. This is necessary, in order to prepare for future stages of the expedition, especially when supplies and the exchange of personnel and materials can only take place by air,  which requires a landing strip.

Markus Rex:  As the winter progresses the ice has become thicker. It is still dynamic but, as expected, it is becoming thicker. As a result we have now been able to put our largest and heaviest piece of equipment onto the ice. Our “Pistenbully” [Ed.: also known in English as a snow-groomer] that we use to move other large pieces equipment  and in particular that will be used to prepare the landing strip, that will be used to make changeover between the third and fourth legs of the expedition in March or April. In April, I myself will be here again in April. I have appointed two very experienced colleagues as expedition leaders who will hold the reins in the meantime. In April when I will be back again and  will need the landing strip to get here and the Pistenbully is essential for making it. The ice is now so thick that we were able to put this 16 ton machine onto the ice without the ice creaking and cracking noises and it’s now operating securely.

Commentator: The first leg of the Expedition is now at an end. A new research team is moving into the Polarstern and will carry out the measurements during the next Phase of the expedition. The infrastructural prerequisites for this have been established.

Markus Rex: We have completely finished the construction of the ice camp for our research city on the ice. Every instrument is now in deployment on the ice ..-and working.  We experienced setbacks in the meantime, because instruments fell over or broke down as a result of ice drift causing repeated opening of leads and the formation of pack ice ridges. We have now overcome these setbacks. Everything is functioning and our 30 metre meteorological mast is standing again. Actually, it is only 23 metres high because the rest of it was destroyed, but that won’t affect the measurements, so we will be able to hand over a very well-functioning research city to the participants in the next leg of the expedition.

Commentator: In the course of changing over the teams there was a delay. The Russian supply icebreaker that was carry the new team into the arctic was unable to leave Tromsø harbour because of a storm.

Markus Rex: Just after it set off the Dranitsyn ran into a very, very severe storm. She had to wait in the Tromsø fjord because she couldn’t risk being exposed to the raging waters. There were wind gusts of Storm force twelve. No one would choose to expose themselves to that. So, the  Dranitsyn waited in the fjord for  five days.

Commentator: The Mosaic expedition didn’t miss out on Advent or Christmas either. Despite a shortage of supplies the team enjoyed a sweet surprise.

Markus Rex: On the first and second Sunday in Advent we got chocolate. On St. Nicolaus day [Ed.: 6 December] we all got a little bag with a surprise gift. All of this was extremely pleasing, because the ship had run out of chocolate earlier and we were all extremely happy to get a bag with Christmas cookies, chocolate and all the other nice things. Pretty Christmas decorations were also put up in the messrooms and a Christmassy atmosphere developed.

Commentator: The expedition leader Markus Rex is now returning home will only come on board again in one of the later legs. He is handing over on site responsibility to his colleague Christian Haas.

Markus Rex: Now that the first phase of the expedition has been very successfully concluded, I can return home for a couple of weeks with a good conscience. I will fly back here to take over the leadership again at the beginning of April, possibly even the end of March. I will be with the ship till the end of June. Then I will have another four weeks at home and from the end of July until the end of October I will take over the reins here on board again. In the various periods in between I have appointed very experienced colleagues as expedition leaders and I have great confidence that they will direct the operations here extremely well and competently, so that the expedition will be able to carry on making measurements continuously throughout the year in a uniform manner without any interruptions.

In the next instalment of “Arctic Drift” the new on-site expedition leader Christian Haas will tell us about his impressions and current events in the arctic.

Arctic Drift - the Audio logbook.

Arctic sea ice / Re: MOSAiC news
« on: December 08, 2019, 10:38:13 PM »
* blumenkraft is handing over the baton to Psymmo
baton received - waiting for audio log book entry Nr. 9

Arctic sea ice / Re: MOSAiC news
« on: December 07, 2019, 04:35:10 PM »
Hi Blumencraft
Leave Episode9 to me.
Glad to be of assistance.

Arctic sea ice / Re: "Smart" and "Stupid" Questions - Feel Free To Ask
« on: December 06, 2019, 05:54:46 PM »
A recent news item on the BBC entitled "Iceland puts well-being ahead of GDP in budget"


is  very relevant to the points being made by Gerontocrat and inspires hope, inasmuchas the Icelandic politicians are looking better indicators of well being than GDP.

Arctic sea ice / Re: 2019 sea ice area and extent data
« on: August 01, 2019, 10:09:32 AM »
Hi Killian,
sorry you had a typo

"Daily Changes Needed to Exceed 2012 low on Oct. 10. (Related to effect of GAC and it's import vs. 2019's melt cycle.)"

Oct. 10 should almost certainly be Aug. 10.

You might want to edit your post.

Arctic sea ice / Re: The 2019 melting season
« on: April 24, 2019, 10:31:44 PM »
Slightly off topic but yet another sign of arctic warming - the break up of ice on the Yukon yesterday was the second earliest ever recorded and only 8 hours behind  the earliest breakup on the same date in 2016

Arctic sea ice / Re: 2019 sea ice area and extent data
« on: April 12, 2019, 10:24:22 PM »
The open water caused by ice fragmentation to the West of Barrow (Utqiaġvik)

is now clearly visible

Arctic sea ice / Re: Latest PIOMAS update (October mid-monthly update)
« on: October 25, 2018, 03:12:07 PM »
It doesn't really belong in this thread, but a lot of the argument between bbr and others hinges on the speed at which arctic warming is likely to speed up Greenland ice cap melting and  bbr is right that the Greenland ice caps's loss rate hasn't really been dented yet - which certainly doesn't mean that there isn't any climate change, as all the sea ice data presented on this thread shows.

Sam writes of the ice cap being "big and deep" and taking something like "100 - 200" years to go.

I am not sure whether some of the participants of this thread realise just how massive the ice cap is.

With a mass of over 2.6 x 106 Gt at the present annual rate of loss (ca. 3  x 102 Gt /yr), the cap would take ca. 8000 yrs to melt, 40 - 80x longer than the figure mentioned by Sam.

To my way of thinking the rate of the ice cap's loss is going to have to speed up by a factor of 10 to 100 before ice cap loss in itself is going to be a big determining factor in climate change and until that happens - and this is bbr's point - there are a number of negative feedback loops that, at least in the last few years, tend to have slowed down rather than speeded up the rate of Greenland ice cap ice loss.

So the question of what happens next to climate and weather after the likely occurrence of an ice free arctic in summer during the next decade or so remains open to speculation - the effects will probably be as dramatic as bbr thinks, but one scenario that is unlikely is that there will be any really significant change to the mass of the Greenland ice cap, which still has ca. 99.9% of its mass intact compared to 2002.

Arctic sea ice / Re: 2018 sea ice area and extent data
« on: October 17, 2018, 10:25:05 AM »
Thanks Phil42 your effort is appreciated - keep it up!

Arctic sea ice / Re: 2018 sea ice area and extent data
« on: October 08, 2018, 09:33:03 AM »
This morning, after a long illness, my computer died.
The autopsy tomorrow may determine whether resurrection is possible or what can be rescued from the corpse.

At least the files are in the cloud, but no machine means no updates and no more posts until........?

Sorry all.

This is really sad.

It's ridiculous that in this day and age that a hardware deficiency should upset the continuity of this thread.

I would argue that GC (Gerontocrat - I hope its That's OK with you as an abbreviation) is performing a public service with his analyses and thoughtful comments so why don't we as a community crowdfund a replacement for him.

I would be prepared to organise a GoFundMe crowdfunding for say 3000 USD to allow GC to get some decent hardware.

If crowdfunders can raise 5000 USD for a new sofa for Elon Musk then I think this is the least the Arctic Sea Forum participants can do to show their appreciation of GC.

What do you think GC?

What do the other participants think?

Neven - Sorry to be off-topic  but I think the continuity of this "Area and Extent" thread is important - Please start a new thread if you think its appropriate.

Arctic sea ice / Re: The 2018 melting season
« on: June 29, 2018, 11:21:00 AM »
Yes - poor Pagophilus.

It's a shame that the meaning of words has become so debased by "deniers" of various kinds that humor must take a back seat.

The Flanders and Swann song Pagophilus refers to is  actually called "A song of the weather", but Britons will recognisae it as referring to "their" weather.

It can be heard here:

Arctic sea ice / Re: The 2018 melting season
« on: June 16, 2018, 09:34:25 AM »
A-team's Post from yesterday 15. June

Meanwhile we're already in big trouble now from Arctic amplification, with more of it baked in. Whatever the full effects of an altogether missing 'planetary refrigerator' might be, the partial effects of a diminished planetary refrigerator are already upon us. And that's just the albedo part ... there are many other adverse considerations in the literature.

Thank you A-team for summarising the situation so succinctly. As Neven said somewhere it is rather like "watching a train crash in slow motion" and its excruciatingly painful to know its my teenage grandchildren who are going to have to deal with the mess afterwards

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