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Polar ship found suitable ice flow for camp
Scientists have chosen an ice floe on which to begin setting up a research camp for a year-long international expedition to study the Arctic, Germany's Alfred Wegener Institute said on Oct 4, 2019. After several days of searching, researchers found a suitable floe measuring about 2.5 kilometers by 3.5 kilometers in the Arctic Sea north of Russia that will serve as a base for the mission, the institute said. "It may not be the perfect floe, but it's the best one in this part of the Arctic, and offers better working conditions than we could have expected after a warm Arctic summer," mission leader Markus Rex said. Choosing the right floe was crucial to the plan of allowing the "Polarstern" to drift with the current throughout winter, when an icebreaker would not normally be able to penetrate so deeply into the central Arctic. The scientists will have to wait and see if it's also stable enough to withstand the autumnal storms that are now brewing. The team was prepared for all scenarios. The 140 million Euro expedition involved hundreds of scientists from 19 countries, including Germany, the United States, Russia, Britain, France and China. Their aim is to collect data from the remote and inhospitable north to improve the scientific models that underpin their understanding of the Arctic and climate change.
Polarstern begins year-long voyage to Arctic
An international team of researchers will depart aboard the "Polarstern" from Tromsø on Sep 20, 2019, for a year-long Arctic study voyage. Their aim is to document in more detail than ever before the climate of the Earth’s most extreme environment – and its changes due to man-made factors. The mission, involving hundreds of researchers from 70 scientific institutes in 17 countries, will be focused on the research vessel. After final checks in the Norwegian port of Tromsø on Sep 19, the ship heads off to the Arctic. To get there in an environmentally friendly manner, the ship will follow the example of Norwegian Polar explorer Fridtjof Nansen. During his own polar expeditions from 1893 to 1895, he mapped the polar drift of Arctic ice-flows based on the east-to-west currents in the region. To save fuel, the "Polarstern" will head to a part of the Arctic that is most accessible now, wait for the ice to freeze around the ship, then drift with the currents to the North Pole. Five icebreakers will bring food, fuel and other supplies over the year to the ship, which can hold a crew up of up to 44, plus up to 55 researchers and technicians. There are nine labs on board, kitted out especially for each mission, as well as a surgery and surgeon and two helicopters.
New Ice Navigation System for North Pole Voyage
Germany’s only research icebreaker will embark on a voyage to drift, beset in ice, across the north pole in 2019. In attempting the epic journey, her crew will be using a newly-developed ice navigation system. In the fall of 2019, the 118-meter (400-foot) icebreaker POLARSTERN will sail to 84 degrees N 120 degrees E, in the East Siberian Sea to be carried by the Transpolar Drift past the North Pole as part of a 1,500 mile, one-year research voyage. The $70 million voyage is a joint effort by Russian, American, Chinese, British and German institutions and called the MOSAiC (Multidisciplinary drifting Observatory for the Study of Arctic Climate) mission. The research team's observations will help improve computer modeling of sea-ice environments, which will feed into larger-scale climate models developed by the World Weather Research Program and the World Climate Research Program. Very few ships can break ice to access the ice-covered Arctic Ocean. And even those that can, including POLARSTERN, need a lot of information about sea ice state, wind and drift to navigate the ship through open leads, thin ice or to reach particular sites in due time. The POLARSTERN’s navigation system is a Marine Inertial Navigation System, but she will also have an additional system called IceGIS and developed by Alfred Wegener Institute sea ice physicists, other scientists and the ship’s crew. POLARSTERN will drift with the ice, trying to hit sampling spots smaller than the size of a football field in depths of up to 3,000 meters (1.86 miles). IceGIS supports this challenge.News schreiben