December 22, 2019
By Matthew Shupe
12/16/19 The Handoff
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. MOSAiC is in their hands. The last couple of days have been packed with overlap activities, a huge dump of information and experience. I’ve been a bit nervous about it, knowing that the knowledge we have gained in Leg 1 has taken nearly 3 months to accumulate and all of these people are coming with none of that experience. We try to hand off as much as we can, but know that really this new team has to experience this place, to experience the challenges for themselves. They have to visit the sites, and learn how the parts all fit together to make the whole MOSAiC concept. They have to feel the burn of the wind on their cheeks, and learn how to protect themselves from the cold. Learn how to manage all of these cracks that impact our installations. So much to learn, but I guess they are ready. It has been the “drinking from the firehose” approach lately, but there is a limit to how much information we can give them. I’m really trying to spool back now. They will figure it out and can ask if they need more information. I have an underlying confidence that they will do just fine, but it is hard to walk away from this place. MOSAIC has been like a child to me, over these past 11 years. And now to get it this far, I don’t feel ready to let it go, but I know it is a necessity. And this is one of the great things about MOSAiC, that it is international and that so many different people have and will have a hand in making it what it is.
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: https://follow.mosaic-expedition.org/ and @MOSAiCArctic.