10. February 2022 | Press releases:

In the Arctic with a Helicopter Towed Probe Results of the MOSAiC expedition published

Hundreds of international researchers are currently evaluating the observations of the MOSAiC expedition. During the expedition in the central Arctic Ocean, they were able to record hundreds of environmental parameters with unprecedented accuracy and frequency over a full annual cycle. Now they have published the physical properties of the atmosphere, snow and sea ice as well as the ocean in three scientific review articles in the journal “Elementa”. These results provide a complete picture of climate processes in the central Arctic for the first time. Technische Universität Braunschweig was also involved in the measurements with a helicopter towed probe.

TU Braunschweig was involved in the Arctic expedition with HELiPOD, a helicopter towed probe. HELiPOD measures meteorological variables (temperature, humidity, wind), solar radiation, aerosol, trace gases, surface roughness and surface temperature, and documents the ice surface with various cameras. During a total of five flights, it was possible to simultaneously measure properties of the atmosphere and the surface over flight distances of 20 to 60 kilometres in the vicinity of the “Polarstern”.

The data provide information about the small-scale differences, as well as how well the measurements on the “Polarstern” also reflect the conditions in the immediate vicinity. “The post-processing of the more than 60 sensors is very time-consuming, but has now almost been completed,” reports Dr Falk Pätzold from the Institute of Flight Guidance, who was on board the “Polarstern” himself and carried out the HELiPOD measurements. “The varying ice cover has a big influence on how much heat, moisture and other substances get from the surface into the atmosphere.” The TU Braunschweig team is a co-author on the “Atmosphere” and “Ice and Snow” studies.

The research results at a glance: AWI announcement

Background information on MOSAiC

During the MOSAiC expedition, scientists from 20 nations explored the Arctic throughout the year. As part of this, from autumn 2019 to autumn 2020, the German icebreaker “Polarstern” drifted through the Arctic Ocean, frozen in the ice. MOSAiC was realised under the leadership of the Alfred Wegener Institute, Helmholtz Centre for Polar and Marine Research (AWI). More than 80 institutes worked together in a research consortium so that this unique project could succeed and the most valuable data possible could be obtained. The total cost of the expedition was around 150 million euros, most of which was financed by the Federal Ministry of Education and Research.

Original publications:

Nicolaus, M, Perovich, DK, Spreen, G, Granskog, MA et al, 2022: Overview of the MOSAiC expedition: Snow and sea ice. Elementa: Science of the Anthropocene 10(1). DOI: https://doi.org/10.1525/elementa.2021.000046

Rabe, B, Heuzé, C, Regnery et al., 2022: Overview of the MOSAiC expedition: Physical oceanography. Elementa: Science of the Anthropocene 10(1). DOI: https://doi.org/10.1525/elementa.2021.00062

Shupe, M.D., M. Rex, B. Blomquist, P.O.G. Persson, J. Schmale, T. Uttal et al., 2022: Overview of the MOSAiC expedition – Atmosphere. Elementa, Science of the Anthropocene, 10 (1), DOI: https://doi.org/10.1525/elementa.2021.00060