Overview of the MOSAiC expedition: Snow and sea ice

MOSAiC snow and ice team, Byongjun Hwang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

26 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Year-round observations of the physical snow and ice properties and processes that govern the ice pack evolution and its interaction with the atmosphere and the ocean were conducted during the Multidisciplinary drifting Observatory for the Study of Arctic Climate (MOSAiC) expedition of the research vessel Polarstern in the Arctic Ocean from October 2019 to September 2020. This work was embedded into the interdisciplinary design of the 5 MOSAiC teams, studying the atmosphere, the sea ice, the ocean, the ecosystem, and biogeochemical processes. The overall aim of the snow and sea ice observations during MOSAiC was to characterize the physical properties of the snow and ice cover comprehensively in the central Arctic over an entire annual cycle. This objective was achieved by detailed observations of physical properties and of energy and mass balance of snow and ice. By studying snow and sea ice dynamics over nested spatial scales from centimeters to tens of kilometers, the variability across scales can be considered. On-ice observations of in situ and remote sensing properties of the different surface types over all seasons will help to improve numerical process and climate models and to establish and validate novel satellite remote sensing methods; the linkages to accompanying airborne measurements, satellite observations, and results of numerical models are discussed. We found large spatial variabilities of snow metamorphism and thermal regimes impacting sea ice growth. We conclude that the highly variable snow cover needs to be considered in more detail (in observations, remote sensing, and models) to better understand snow-related feedback processes. The ice pack revealed rapid transformations and motions along the drift in all seasons. The number of coupled ice–ocean interface processes observed in detail are expected to guide upcoming research with respect to the changing Arctic sea ice
Original languageEnglish
Article number000046
Number of pages42
JournalElementa
Volume10
Issue number1
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 7 Feb 2022

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