December 21, 2019

Postcards from a frozen icebreaker – Part 19

Posted by larryohanlon

By Matthew Shupe

12/14/19 Cracked Up, Again

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. Right through Met City, right through Remote Sensing city. One went between the Met Hut and its power hub, we are talking 20 cm from the building itself. That crack is only about 10cm across but who knows where it will go. If that opens it will be a major issue for most of the work at Met City. There was another crack under ARM’s radiation swingset; we had to move it to the side and later to figure out what to do with it as far as re-deployment. Another crack over by the met tower. Fortunately outside of the guy lines, but inside of one of the former guy line anchor points; glad we didn’t move our guys back to that point. All of these cracks will be a challenge for the next crew; they will get a taste of the adventures we have had to endure for the last months out here at MOSAiC. These dynamics must be a characteristic of the new Arctic, and apparently the Arctic really wants us to get a good feel for them. And it is literally a feel. Today, again, the ice was moving underfoot. As we walked on a bridge over a crack, the crack was widening. At another area, we hoped from ice chunk to ice chunk to get across. Pretty crazy really, although the hops were short and the small pieces were pretty stable. It is actually a bit fun to introduce our colleagues to this environment, and to see their excitement over the whole experience. I’m sure it will be fun for them, and I look forward to heading out so they can have their space!

The two ships meet, Kapitan Dranitsyn on left, Polarstern on right. Notice the cracks. Photo: Michael Gallagher, CIRES and NOAA


Read more of Shupe’s posts here

Scientist Matthew Shupe (CIRES/University of Colorado Boulder) is blogging from an icebreaker frozen into Arctic Ocean sea ice, so far north that the Northern Lights are no longer visible. Shupe is co-coordinator of the international Arctic climate mission MOSAiC, or Multidisciplinary Drifting Observatory for the Study of Arctic Climate. Today, he’s among about 100 people aboard the German icebreaker Polarstern, which is frozen into an ice floe where it will drift until September 2020. Shupe, who also works for the NOAA Physical Sciences Division in Boulder, Colorado, began planning the mission more than a decade ago, with an expanding network of scientific leaders from around the world. In a series of short posts from the ship, he shares his experience during the first several weeks of the expedition, led by the Alfred Wegener Institute. Shupe is aboard AWI’s Polarstern until late December; he’ll return to the ship for at least one more two-month stint next year. U.S. funding for MOSAiC sciences comes primarily from the National Science Foundation and the Department of Energy. Follow the expedition: and @MOSAiCArctic.