MOSAiC Aerial Survey Campaigns for the Atmosphere and Sea Ice Temporarily Suspended

MOSAiC Aerial Survey Campaigns for the Atmosphere and Sea Ice Temporarily Suspended

On Thursday 12 March, the Norwegian government announced comprehensive measures to combat the spread of the corona virus, effective immediately. As a result, all travellers to Norway from non-Nordic countries who do not have a residence permit will most likely have to immediately leave the country again or be placed in quarantine for 14 days. In response, and due to the highly dynamic development of the corona pandemic, on Friday 13 March the MOSAiC project management decided to temporarily suspend the aerial survey campaigns planned for this spring. The scientific missions with the research aircraft Polar 5 and Polar 6 were supposed to take place under the direction of Professor Manfred Wendisch, meteorologist at Leipzig University.

Professor Manfred Wendisch is spokesman of the Artic Amplification Collaborative Research Centre. Photo: Swen Reichhold, Leipzig University

The survey flights, focusing on the atmosphere and sea ice, were to be carried out in four sub-campaigns from March to September. The two research planes Polar 5 and Polar 6 were originally scheduled to reach Svalbard on 11 March. After a participating researcher tested positive for corona last week, the start of the campaign had to be pushed back. In light of the current situation, the sub-campaigns planned for spring will no longer be possible.

“The highly unusual situation at the moment leaves us no choice. We’d like to thank everyone who was involved in the months of preparation, and who did everything within their power, up to the last minute, to make the flight campaigns a reality,” says Dr Andreas Herber from the Alfred Wegener Institute, Helmholtz Centre for Polar and Marine Research (AWI), and coordinator of the MOSAiC airborne campaigns. According to Herber, the AWI will closely monitor the situation over the next several weeks and explore alternative solutions, e.g. extending the two sub-campaigns scheduled for the summer.

“We are of course very disappointed about the cancellation, but it would be irresponsible to conduct the campaign under these dramatic circumstances,” said meteorologist Professor Manfred Wendisch of Leipzig University. “We take our responsibility for the health of everyone involved seriously. Besides, postponing is not the same as cancelling. And we remain optimistic that our summer survey campaign can take place as planned.”

Meanwhile the MOSAiC expedition with the icebreaker Polarstern continues.
Read the full press release from the Alfred Wegener Institute here.

Press Release Leipzig University

Further Information:
Prof. Dr. Manfred Wendisch
Leipzig Institute for Meteorology
Tel.: + 49 (0) 341 97-32 851
Email | Website

last modified: 19.05.2020