Nicolaus et al. (2022) Overview of the MOSAiC expedition: Snow and sea ice

Nicolaus, M, Perovich, DK, Spreen, G, Granskog, MA, Albedyll, LV, Angelopoulos, M, Anhaus, P, Arndt, S, Belter, HJ, Bessonov, V, Birnbaum, G, Brauchle, J, Calmer, R, Cardellach, E, Cheng, B, Clemens-Sewall, D, Dadic, R, Damm, E, de Boer, G, Demir, O, Dethloff, K, Divine, DV, Fong, AA, Fons, S, Frey, MM, Fuchs, N, Gabarró, C, Gerland, S, Goessling, HF, Gradinger, R, Haapala, J, Haas, C, Hamilton, J, Hannula, H-R, Hendricks, S, Herber, A, Heuzé, C, Hoppmann, M, Høyland, KV, Huntemann, M, Hutchings, JK, Hwang, B, Itkin, P, Jacobi, H-W, Jaggi, M, Jutila, A, Kaleschke, L, Katlein, C, Kolabutin, N, Krampe, D, Kristensen, SS, Krumpen, T, Kurtz, N, Lampert, A, Lange, BA, Lei, R, Light, B, Linhardt, F, Liston, GE, Loose, B, Macfarlane, AR, Mahmud, M, Matero, IO, Maus, S, Morgenstern, A, Naderpour, R, Nandan, V, Niubom, A, Oggier, M, Oppelt, N, Pätzold, F, Perron, C, Petrovsky, T, Pirazzini, R, Polashenski, C, Rabe, B, Raphael, IA, Regnery, J, Rex, M, Ricker, R, Riemann-Campe, K, Rinke, A, Rohde, J, Salganik, E, Scharien, RK, Schiller, M, Schneebeli, M, Semmling, M, Shimanchuk, E, Shupe, MD, Smith, MM, Smolyanitsky, V, Sokolov, V, Stanton, T, Stroeve, J, Thielke, L, Timofeeva, A, Tonboe, RT, Tavri, A, Tsamados, M, Wagner, DN, Watkins, D, Webster, M, Wendisch, M. (2022) Overview of the MOSAiC expedition: Snow and sea ice. Elementa: Science of the Anthropocene 10(1). DOI:

In October 2019, the RV Polarstern was purposely frozen in the high Arctic pack ice to be used as a research platform by hundreds of international scientists while the ship drifted along with the ice until September 2020. Or at least, that was the plan of MOSAiC. Covid19 and an extremely rapid transpolar drift made the expedition more… “interesting”. In this overview, we detail the snow and ice observational program:

  • The measurement systems from the ship, deployed on the ice and in the distributed network of autonomous sensors up to 50 km around the ship, and the airborne and satellite observations;
  • What we did where and when, including the covid19-related changes of schedules;
  • The “event” measurements: thin ice formation in leads, rain on snow, etc.

And we present our first results:

  • Larger spatial variabilities of the snow cover than expected, due to atmospheric processes and the structure of the underlying sea ice.
  • More dynamic and faster drifting ice pack than expected. For reference, we covered in 7 months the same distance as Nansen did in 3 years, 1893-1896.
  • Combined remote sensing measurements on the ice with detailed snow and ice observations pave the way for new sea ice observations from upcoming satellite missions and allow better uncertainty assessments of existing satellite time series.

This publication is mostly meant as the data paper for all other MOSAiC snow and ice publications to come, so stay tuned for more actual results.

Download the full-text here.

One thought on “Nicolaus et al. (2022) Overview of the MOSAiC expedition: Snow and sea ice

  1. Pingback: Research theme: Arctic deep waters | Dr Céline Heuzé

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