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What Are They Doing?

Photo Courtesy of Mosaic
Photo Courtesy of Mosaic
The Multidisciplinary drifting Observatory for the Study of Arctic Climate (MOSAiC) will be the first year-round expedition into the central Arctic exploring the Arctic climate system. The project has been designed by an international consortium of leading polar research institutions, under the umbrella of the International Arctic Science Committee (IASC), led by the Alfred Wegener Institute, Helmholtz Centre for Polar and Marine Research (AWI), Arctic and Antarctic Research Institute (AARI) and the University of Colorado, Cooperative Institute for Research in Environmental Sciences (CIRES).

MOSAiC will contribute to a quantum leap in our understanding of the coupled Arctic climate system and its representation in global climate models. The focus of MOSAiC lies on direct in-situ observations of the climate processes that couple the atmosphere, ocean, sea ice, bio-geochemistry and ecosystem. MOSAiC observations will be specifically designed to characterize the important processes within the atmosphere-ice-ocean system that impact the sea-ice mass and energy budgets. These include heat, moisture, and momentum fluxes in the atmosphere and ocean, water vapor, clouds and aerosols, biogeochemical cycles in the ocean and ice, and many others. The MOSAiC project has it's own website here.

Where Are They?

Photo Courtesy of Mosaic
Photo Courtesy of Mosaic
In September 2019 the German research icebreaker Polarstern will depart from Tromsø, Norway and, once it has reached its destination, will spend the next year drifting through the Arctic Ocean, trapped in the ice.

Graphic showing the location of the ship.
Graphic of ship location.

Expedition by the numbers (from MOSAiC website).
An infographic about the MOSAiC expedition.

Latest Journals

Migratory birds fly over Homer, Alaska. Photo courtesy Nina Faust, Kachemak Crane Watch (2020) Here in Homer, Alaska signs of fall are all around us. Leaves are changing color, fireweed and cottonwood seeds are in the air, the temperature is dropping, and we hear the calls of sandhill cranes,…
After leaving the 'ice fortress' on July 29 the Polarstern motored slowly through the surrounding ice. Over the next few days, researchers and expedition crew from the Polarstern recovered equipment from the Distributed Network surrounding the floe that had been home to the expedition for 300 days…
An Update from MOSAiC The icebreaker Polarstern, nearby ice camp, and an atmospheric research balloon viewed from a helicopter. In early July, the ice floe was already riddled with many melt ponds which foreshadowed the break up that took place at the end of the month. Photo courtesy Lianna Nixon…
The sun was still high in the sky when this photo was taken, at 5 pm on the June Solstice. As I write this, it is the June Solstice. The exact moment of solstice occurred a few hours ago, at 21:44 Universal Daylight Time. This was at 1:44 pm today here in Homer, Alaska. This moment marked…
Ship-based, Arctic Ocean
Project Funded Title
MOSAiC International Arctic Drift Expedition
Katie Gavenus - Environmental Educator
Environmental Educator
Center for Alaskan Coastal Studies

Katie Aspen Gavenus grew up in the not-quite-Arctic town of Homer, Alaska. She is an environmental educator and program director for the Center for Alaskan Coastal Studies. She recently completed a master's program in science education through IslandWood and the University of Washington and is committed to making science education - and education more broadly - locally relevant, culturally sustaining, inspiring, and empowering. She believes science education should be a collaborative effort between learners, educators, researchers, knowledge-bearers, and community members.

She enjoys learning, kayaking, picking berries, hiking, catching salmon, playing soccer, growing food and tide pooling. She makes good soup and is perfecting a yeasty-biscuity bread recipe. Her favorite type of plankton is ctenophores/comb jellies and she has a tiny scar from being bitten by an intertidal worm.

Anne Gold - Director, Education and Outreach Program
Director, Education and Outreach Program

Anne is the Director of CIRES Education & Outreach at the University of Colorado in Boulder, where she focuses on science education for educators, students and the general public around climate and general geoscience education. She is interested in understanding and studying effective ways of teaching and learning and is dedicated to grounding her education work in solid research and evaluation. She is a climate scientist by training with a doctoral degree in Paleoclimatology from the University of Regensburg in Germany.

MOSAiC Resources


Learn more about the longest day of the year in the northern hemisphere through these multidisciplinary hands-on activities focusing on art, observation, outdoor engineering, movement, and adventure. Resources can be used in formal and informal learning environments.


* Learners will understand the astronomical phenomenon of solstice.
* Learners identify the differences in how solstice impacts their local, sub-arctic

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The PolarTREC Field Experience

PolarTREC (Teachers and Researchers Exploring and Collaborating) is a program that pairs US educators with researchers for field science experiences in the Arctic and Antarctic. For people like me, it is exciting to note that the program is now open to informal science educators as well as formal K-12 teachers. PolarTREC is managed by the Arctic

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Live event on 14 October 2019 with PolarTREC educator Katie Gavenus aboard the Russian R/V Federov as part of the MOSAiC Expedition. Katie spoke with and answered questions from students at Brevig Mission school in Alaska.

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Article from local Homer, Alaska station KBBI about Katie Gavenus' upcoming expedition aboard the RV Polarstern for the MOSAiC Expedition.

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