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15 September 2020

Postcards from a formerly frozen icebreaker: Part 56

Already starting to miss this place and we are not gone yet! And standing here on the working deck, feeling a bit sentimental, looking out from the side of the ship: A mixture of open water and small chunks of ice floating around as we all sit here embedded in the diminishing ice pack. It is misty and foggy.

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17 August 2020

Postcards from a (formerly) frozen icebreaker: Part 55

Our days lately have been strange. Searching around the ice in dense fog. It’s so hard to see anything, and especially some of these small buoys we’ve been hunting. But today was a beautiful day. Bluebird conditions again. And it started out with a great bear.

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16 August 2020

Postcards from a (formerly) frozen icebreaker: Part 54

With the rapid decline of the MOSAiC floe in its last days, I became increasingly concerned about the stability of the L2 site and our flux sled there. A few weeks ago it was 7 nautical miles away, then over a couple days this ballooned up to 45 nautical miles.

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15 August 2020

Postcards from a (formerly) frozen icebreaker: Part 53

…things were quite different today. Basically no floe left. Instead just a collection of small pieces of ice. Fractured remnants of our home for the past 6.5 weeks. Little memories of Met City, the Transect, the Fortress, and all of the rest. Now all gone. What impeccable timing!

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14 August 2020

Postcards from a (formerly) frozen icebreaker: Part 52

The decision to pull things back on board was a good one, as the floe is becoming increasingly unstable. I felt the movement myself as I jumped from one chunk to the next. We can no longer operate or realistically move equipment on the ice any more.

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13 August 2020

Postcards from a (formerly) frozen icebreaker: Part 51

Wow? The end of an era. This highly successful relationship we’ve had with the MOSAiC ice floe is now starting to come to an end. It feels strange to me. I’ve actually been in a pretty bad mood because of it. Done too soon.

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12 August 2020

Postcards from a (formerly) frozen icebreaker: Part 50

Captain Wunderlich asked if he could join me on the ice today… perhaps to get some fresh air. So he joined Jackson Osborn and me on our daily walk-about around to our different stations. I decided to show him some of the other great areas on our floe as well. For me, the central part of the Fortress, now the desert scene, is the greatest place to go.

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11 August 2020

Postcards from a (formerly) frozen icebreaker: Part 49

On the far side of the floe is a chunk of old ice, riddled with stones everywhere. I have no idea how there could be so many embedded in the ice. Then the transect loops back around to the First Year Ice side, where the ice is generally thinner and the coastline has eroded significantly over time leading to an ever-evolving interface with the open water. On that side there are some fantastic drainage channels…. Basically rivers that drain a complex network of ponds further inland.

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10 August 2020

Postcards from a (formerly) frozen icebreaker: Part 48

Strange ice crystal formations everywhere, glistening in the sun. Standing there and looking out across the surface I felt like I was in the slickrock of the Utah desert. They have similarly eroded and curved surfaces, with layers and sculptured forms that only nature can create.

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9 August 2020

Postcards from a (formerly) frozen icebreaker: Part 47

It’s getting hard to keep track as there have been so many bears lately. Visits in the evening-to-early-morning going into last Thursday, Friday, and Saturday. Then here again last night (Monday). And this morning at 4:30 am.

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8 August 2020

Postcards from a (formerly) frozen icebreaker: Part 46

The real highlight of the evening for me was the group photo time prior to the festivities. We set up a line of flags, the 20 flags of MOSAiC nations, all strung next to each other. This was placed just beyond a scenic melt pond. In front of that pond we put the big MOSAiC flag, held tight on some boards.

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7 August 2020

Postcards from a (formerly) frozen icebreaker: Part 45

Today is not Sunday. Nor was yesterday. But we’ve spent both mornings onboard the ship like on a typical Sunday because we’ve had a polar bear around the area. First thing yesterday morning there was an announcement over the intercom about a bear on the port side. As is typically the case, people run for their cameras and head out to the decks.

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5 August 2020

Postcards from a (formerly) frozen icebreaker: Part 43

Last week there would be periods of the day when melt was rampant, but then periods when the surface would freeze. Thin layers of ice would form on the top of melt ponds. That phenomenon has shifted now and we are not really seeing major shifts during the day anymore; the system appears to be mostly in a permanent melt state.

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1 April 2020

Fill your field of view with views from the field

We all need a break, and it’s really hard to get one. So for the third week in a row I am diving back into the 12 years of AGU Blogosphere archives in search of field trips. Here are five more to enjoy.

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23 December 2019

Postcards from a frozen icebreaker — Part 21

We’ve handed the torch and now will be eager fans waiting to hear information from the field. I’m feeling this cavity starting to form inside my chest. Already feeling a sense of loss, a sense of melancholy.

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22 December 2019

Postcards from a frozen icebreaker — Part 20

It’s come to the end, of Leg 1 at least. Strange feeling. The Leg 1 personnel moved over to the Kapitan Dranitsin, while the Leg 2 personnel moved over to Polarstern. I was on Polarstern in the afternoon and felt like an intruder. It is their ship now.

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21 December 2019

Postcards from a frozen icebreaker – Part 19

Kapitan Dranitsyn arrived yesterday, to great fanfare from people on both ships….. but apparently our ice floe was not as happy to have another ship around. Cracks emanating from the area of the ships headed out in multiple directions.

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20 December 2019

Postcards from a frozen icebreaker – Part 18

Today was pretty windy, and that wind bites hard. Holding this boom up to the tower and then attaching it with a bunch of U-bolts. This requires nimble and dexterous hands, my thin silk glove liners. I could get one or two nuts screwed on and then had to stuff my hand back into my glove to get it a bit warmer.

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19 December 2019

Postcards from a frozen icebreaker – Part 17

Every day is packed full of hard work and many activities, but sometimes there are very busy days. Like today. Here is a day in the life out here…

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18 December 2019

Postcards from a frozen icebreaker – Part 16

Once again the ice dynamics have become active. High winds from the south have been pushing against our floe, and across the major shear zone that extended across the front of the ship. We’ve seen a little bit of activity there in the last days, but not much. But now things have really come together, jagged pieces of ice getting pushed 3-4 meters up into the air, likely extending 20m or more down below the surface.

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