by Matthew Shupe, CIRES/NOAA scientist and co-coordinator of MOSAiC
We’ve had a minor success. Chris [Cox, a NOAA scientist] onboard is such a skillful problem solver. He left one of our atmospheric flux stations on the ice to make measurements through this crucial seasonal transition as the ship is gone. The problem is that our back-up communication system, using satellite transmission, has not been working lately. So the station would be left there on the ice and the ship would eventually leave radio communications range, and then we would have no access to our data until returning to the station. If the system were to be crushed or sink in the ocean, the data would all be lost. But Chris was able to make the satellite system work again, just in time before leaving the range of the radio link. And now we have a crucial data set being transmitted from our flux station to the ship every ½ hour. With this we can track the measurements and the status of that station. We will know its position so we can return to the same location and hopefully find it again! And importantly, we will have a copy of the data. The instruments themselves are easily replaceable, but the data is one-of-a-kind. This likely one-month dataset, while Polarstern is gone from the ice camp, will fill such an essential role in characterizing the onset of the melt season. It is the heroes like Chris that really carry this MOSAiC expedition forward. Helping to realize small victories along the way.