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

We are just spinning in circles around here. Around and around. Our floe just keeps on turning. Over the many days that we’ve been here the orientation of our floe didn’t change much, the ship having a robust SW heading. But in the last two days we have spun in two full circles, including about 410 degrees in just the last day! This is really remarkable, and I have no idea how it happens. Is it somehow drag on the floe due to the ship, or just dynamics in the ocean? There have not really been many winds to speak of. No one else understands this either. But it has a fascinating effect on our perspective. Standing out on the short of the floe, you look out and so many other floes go drifting by, seemingly moving quickly. While some of these floes are likely moving in reality, our spinning floe gives the impression that everything else is moving very fast. We are not used to that, as typically our floe just drifts along with everything else. Another one of those Arctic mysteries.

After drifting away, the Polarstern returns to its original parking spot. Photo: Lianna Nixon/CIRES and CU Boulder.

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