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

I like clouds. I’m here, in part, to study clouds. And there is certainly no shortage of clouds in this area or in the Arctic summer in general. Fogs, overcast, grey…. These things abound.  But occasionally out here you get one of these spectacular clear sky days. Bluebird. That was today. Make sure you have a brimmed hat and sunglasses, and slap on a double layer of sunscreen. It’s a day to enjoy outside with great visibility and many smiles on faces. In the afternoon I had a little time window to join Verena and Melinda in scouting a new trail through the middle of the floe and right through the central core of the Fortress. The most rugged terrain around. Igor wanted to set up one of his seismic stations out in that sector and we need a new access route to one of the ice coring sites. So we walked off into the Fortress in the blazing sun. And how spectacular! Up and down, up and down, the surface undulates in every direction. Brownish with sediment and almost layered in nature. Ponds of water in the depressions, making all kinds of crazy meandering shapes. Strange ice crystal formations everywhere, glistening in the sun. Standing there and looking out across the surface I felt like I was in the slickrock of the Utah desert.  They have similarly eroded and curved surfaces, with layers and sculptured forms that only nature can create. The blazing sun helped to solidify this link to the desert. I love the desert and such landscapes, and now to see this site and feel this energy here in the Arctic ice pack….. It is another of those defining moments. When the Arctic reveals a new side and takes me into a new state of wonder.

The floe in mid July. Markus Rex/Alfred Wegener Institute, CC-BY 4.0

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