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  • Last month, hundreds of researchers from all over the world started the largest-ever Arctic

  • expedition aboard a ship just over 500 kilometers from the North Pole. What makes this project

  • even more unique is that the entire ship will be frozen, embedded in sea ice for an entire

  • year. So it begs the question, why are they even doing this?

  • For starters, it’s the most ambitious climate change expedition ever attempted of the Arctic.

  • The Multidisciplinary Drifting Observatory for the Study of Arctic Climate, or MOSAiC,

  • will be studying the effects of a warming climate on the central Arctic’s atmosphere,

  • ice, ocean, and ecosystems. By drifting with the ice for a year, the team will be able

  • to collect the necessary information to create better climate models to help inform what

  • the Arctic will look like as it continues to warm.

  • For us, there are a number of knowns and unknowns. The knowns are that we are going

  • out to the Arctic with all kinds of instrumentation, more than there’s ever been on a ship before

  • out in the Arctic. We know were going to get a lot of first measurements of many types

  • of data. It’s our first look at things like winter time aerosol properties, first look at like

  • scanning cloud radar measurements. Then there's a lot of unknowns, and those are really related

  • to the conditions that we're going to encounter there. So the sea ice, were really at the

  • mercy of the sea ice.” When they arrived at their destination, the

  • German icebreaker, called Polarstern, chose the perfect ice floe to attach itself to,

  • a crucial part of this mission since the ice needs to withstand the weight of heavy instruments.

  • This ice floe will serve as the so-calledice campfor the expedition’s experiments

  • and a landing strip for research planes. Once frozen in place, the scientists will have

  • to set up camp quickly, as winter is coming for roughly 150 days, and come November, they'll

  • be operating in complete darkness. And that is when nature takes over. Drifting

  • at about 7 km per day, the frozen ship hopes to follow the path taken by ice floes along

  • a phenomenon called the transpolar drift. This path will allow the ship to drift from

  • the pole and move south towards the Fram Strait, located east of Greenland, where the expedition

  • will come to a close. The ship will have about 100 people aboard

  • at a time. It will be frozen in place, in complete darkness, while research continues.

  • And the Polarstern will be at the center of most of MOSAiC’s research, containing

  • laboratories and technical equipment onboard to take measurements and observe the environment.

  • At the base camp, experiments will be divided into different hubs like ROV City, which will

  • use remotely operated vehicles to observe marine organisms and collect water samples

  • from beneath the ice. Or MET city which will measure the composition of the atmosphere

  • using tethered balloons, which will continuously float 2 km above the camp. On top of all the

  • research, the Polarstern will have a distributed network of observational sites operating within

  • a 50 km radius of the ship, which will be equipped with remote and autonomous sensors

  • to collect additional oceanic, ice, and atmospheric data.

  • At the end of our year in the Arctic, were going to learn a lot about the new Arctic system. With thinner sea ice,

  • with the interactions that are adapting themselves to the change, were going

  • to learn a lot about how the Arctic is manifesting.” And in the spirit of collaboration, the researchers

  • will upload their information to a database, making it accessible to their hundreds of

  • MOSAiC colleagues worldwide. So well just have to wait and see the anticipated results

  • of this expedition that could help us better map the future of our planet.

  • Are there any other scientific expeditions that you’d like to see us cover, let us

  • know down in the comments. Make sure to subscribe to Seeker and thanks for watching.

Last month, hundreds of researchers from all over the world started the largest-ever Arctic

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