The Arctic is dying. This conclusion was reached by an international group of scientists, who explored the Arctic Ocean during the year on the ice-breaker Polarstern of the Institute for Polar and Marine Research. Alfred Wegener Institute for Polar and Marine Research.
In September 2019, the research mission set sail at the Norwegian port of Tromsø. For 13 months on board at different times were about 300 scientists from 20 countries.
This study was called MOSAiC Expedition – Multidisciplinary Drifting Observatory for the Study of Arctic Climate. The team went approximately along the route of Fridtjof Nansen’s voyage of 1893-1896.
Scientists were collecting data on how the Arctic is experiencing the climate crisis. The head of the mission, Markus Rex, told the French Presse agency that the Earth’s northern polar cap has become the “epicenter of climate change.
The Arctic can be completely free from ice.
“We have witnessed the death of the Arctic Ocean,” Rex emphasized. – We watched this process right behind our portholes or as we walked on fragile ice. “We went beyond the planned data collection,” said Melinda Webster, a sea ice expert at the University of Alaska Fairbanks.
The researchers brought more than a thousand ice samples and 150 terabytes of data on Arctic weather, biology, atmosphere and ocean physics. It will take years or even decades to analyze all this information. But the first impressions of the expedition were hard.
“At the North Pole itself we found the ice, which was very blurry, melted, thin and fragile,” continues Rex. The researchers found that in some areas previously covered with ice, free navigation is now possible. The head of MOSAiC Expedition predicted that if the warming trend on the planet continues, the Arctic will be free of ice in summer.