Climate scientists have reached the North Pole in a icebreaker

In this handout photo provided by Markus Rex, head of the MOSAiC expedition, a view of the North Pole from RV Polarstern, Wednesday, Aug. 19, 2020. A German icebreaker carrying scientists on a year-long international expedition in the high Arctic has reached the North Pole, after making an unplanned detour because of lighter-than-usual sea ice conditions. Expedition leader Markus Rex said Wednesday the RV Polarstern was able to reach the geographic North Pole because of large openings in sea ice that would normally make shipping in the region above Greenland too difficult. (Markus Rex/Alfred Wegener Institute via AP)

Eleven months after the research ship Polarstern left Tromsø, climate scientists have reached the North Pole. Ice melting made the trip faster than expected.

-”It takes your breath away. Occasionally we had the open sea as far as the eye could see.”, says expedition leader Markus Rex from the German Research Institute, Alfred Wegener Institute, about the last stretch north of Greenland.

The route is usually covered by thick sea ice, which is often built up over several years. Even icebreakers with reinforced hulls may have to give in when facing the masses of ice.

The ice sheet that Polarstern maneuvered through is another sign of the rising temperatures in the Arctic. The goal of the polar expedition, which has been named Mosaic, is to gain a better understanding of climate change and global warming, which is particularly evident in the Arctic. 

Researchers form 17 countries, including Norway, France, China, Russia, and the United States are participating in the expedition. During the icy winter months, the ship and the 100 people on board have been frozen in the sea ice, only this summer was it possible to sail in open waters. 

After passing the North Pole, Polarstern will anchor to newly formed ice floes and observe the ice formation when the autumn cold sets in again. 

On October k12, the ship with crew and researchers are scheduled to return to Bremerhaven in Germany. 

© NTB Scanpix / #Norway Today


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