August 8, 2020
By Matthew Shupe
7/19/2020 Many Flags
We are about half way through our leg of MOSAiC. And in Polarstern tradition this means that there is a party. Some gluhwein on the ice and another barbeque in the wet lab and on the working deck. 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. Lianna and I arranged a number of props…. Sleds where people could sit, floats where people could be in the middle of the melt pond. And just before photo time the sun came out! Before everyone assembled, I had a few minutes to rest. Lying flat out on some floats in the middle of the pond. Bobbing gently, and sun warming my face. The time has been exhausting thus far so it was nice to rest in the sun, even if only for a few minutes. But then slowly the parade of people came out to the ice. All scientists, all crew (except for the couple needed to maintain the ship…. I guess you never leave the ship fully unattended!). Many different colors and outfits. Those in survival suites frolicking in the pond….. and later many others joined in the pond bathing. It was a really nice moment, feeling the international spirit of MOSAiC, standing there among the flags. The only thing missing for me were a couple more flags as there are so many other nations represented through the home nations of the participants: Czech Republic, Italy, Greece, Brazil, Bangladesh, Australia, and many more. This international piece is one of my favorite aspects of this expedition.
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. 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 of the expedition, led by the Alfred Wegener Institute. 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.