by Matthew Shupe, CIRES/NOAA scientist and co-coordinator of MOSAiC

I’m not much of a sailor. This feeling is setting in a little more strongly now as the waves are getting bigger and the ship bounces around more. The waves are not much by most standards, and this ship is actually quite stable with limited roll. But all of this movement has been increasing over the past day and my stomach is less settled. My head hurts. Energy is just off. This is one of my least favorite feelings of the whole experience. Luckily we will find safe haven in the fjords of Svalbard within the day. We will then sit and wait, possibly for a week or more. Polarstern is making slow progress as it tries to leave the ice. Funny how the ice has drifted so fast this year, and broken up so much. Yet it still has a firm grip on Polarstern. Not wanting to let her pass easily to the edge. It’s looking like we will be late with the rotation…. And every bit late on the front end, will likely also mean a longer trip on the return. Thus, it is likely that the MOSAiC floe will be unattended for well more than a month. And with all of the time that went into demobilizing the camp, and that will have to go into rebuilding it, we could be looking at 7-8 week gaps in some of the key measurements. Fortunately most of the DOE suite of instruments continues to measure the evolving atmosphere system as Polarstern makes her way south. And thank goodness for our flux station…. Lonely out there on what remains of the MOSAiC floe. Hopefully there to greet us when we return.

scientists in red walking on ice
Final cleanup of the ice floe before leg 3 MOSAiC participants departed the ice in the Polarstern to swap out with leg 4 participants. Photo: Julia Schmale/Alfred-Wegener-Institut (CC-BY 4.0)

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