Arctic Field Projects

Project Title: Enhancing the Value of MOSAiC through Coordination and Outreach (Award# 1839104)

PI: Shupe, Matthew D (
Phone: (303) 497.6471 
Institute/Department: U of Colorado, Boulder, Cooperative Institute for Research in Environmental Sciences 
IPY Project?
Funding Agency: US\Federal\NSF\GEO\OPP\ARC\ARCSS
Program Manager: Dr. Gregory Anderson ( )
Discipline(s): | Oceanography |

Project Web Site(s):

Science Summary:
The Multidisciplinary drifting Observatory for the Study of Arctic Climate (MOSAiC) is a large, international collaborative research expedition motivated by changes in the Arctic system that have significant implications for the global climate system. MOSAiC will use intensive scientific observations from a year-long drifting station in the central Arctic to improve understanding of atmosphere-ice-ocean processes and enable significantly better models of the Arctic system and its sea ice. MOSAiC participants from the US and more than 15 nations will work collaboratively to achieve a collection of related science objectives. Such a large-scale scientific endeavor requires a MOSAiC Coordination Office (MCO) that coordinates the significant US contribution to MOSAiC from the National Science Foundation and other US agencies (collectively the second largest national contribution) and works jointly with German partners to provide international leadership for the overall effort. This office builds on, and formalizes, a co-leadership team between the Alfred Wegener Institute and University of Colorado that over the past nine years has jointly worked to conceive MOSAiC, develop international support and participation, secure substantial resources, and oversee the writing of MOSAiC Science and Implementation plans. Due to the overall size, scope, and complexity of MOSAiC, this dedicated coordination is essential to achieve two specific goals: to maximize the 1) scientific and 2) societal impacts of MOSAiC. The MCO provides a framework for effective scientific coordination, leadership, and communication across all MOSAiC activities using web-based tools, scientific workshops, modern multimedia content, and dedicated outreach and education activities. MOSAiC is a high profile international expedition developed in collaboration with the modeling community to directly target many Arctic system processes that are still uncertain, and in most need of improvement, in coupled models. This once-in-a-generation project provides coupled-system observations, over a continuous annual cycle and over a model grid-box scale, that are uniquely positioned to build a foundation of process-level understanding for developing models that represent and predict the changing Arctic system. The MCO plays a vital role in coordinating and leveraging distinctly funded and narrowly focused science contributions towards achieving the complex, interdisciplinary, coupled system science objectives of MOSAiC. Coordination ensures the most effective use of resources and helps maximize the amount of research that is possible given limited resources. Towards advancing science, the MCO oversees the joint documentation of MOSAiC data and facilitates the development of coupled and synthesis data products that will have a lasting impact on the research community and other national and international stakeholders. The MCO also provides a framework and products to ensure significant societal impact through outreach and education efforts, and regular, effective media communication, beyond what is possible from individually funded science projects. Modern multimedia content is produced to support the development and dissemination of engaging educational products such as curriculum materials, immersive multimedia experiences, a planetarium show, and an engaging web interface. Graduate students are involved in obtaining and producing outreach content and communications products. The MCO also facilitates outreach activities across the broader MOSAiC community by engaging the participation of many MOSAiC scientists and hosting and disseminating outreach products and content. Products, such as the planetarium show along with its supporting educational curriculum materials, are intended to be distributed for use in local communities by numerous partners across the US and internationally. All activities of the MCO are subject to a rigorous evaluation to assess and maximize their overall impact. Lastly, the MCO's role in overall project co-leadership for MOSAiC science, outreach, and communications maintains a prominent role for the US in this international endeavor and ensures that US objectives are prioritized.

Logistics Summary:
The RV Polarstern will depart from Tromso, Norway and, once it reaches its destination, will spend the next year drifting through the Arctic Ocean, trapped in the ice. During the set-up phase, the RV Polarstern will enter the Siberian sector of the Arctic in thin sea ice conditions in late summer. A distributed regional network of observational sites will be set up on the sea ice in an area of up to ~50km from the RV Polarstern. The ship and the surrounding network will drift with the natural ice across the polar cap towards the Atlantic, while the sea ice thickens during winter. The research teams will join the expedition for several months at a time (aka legs) as the expedition will change crews and be supplied by other icebreakers and aircraft throughout the year. There will be six legs of the expedition and a total of 23 NSF awards in support of the MOSAiC effort. During Leg 1, there will be two ships involved and some of the participants will travel to/from the R/V Polarstern via the escort vessel Akademik Federov (Leg 1a). For more information on the MOSAiC expedition, go to This project will create the US MOSAiC Coordination Office (MCO) that will provide the infrastructure and coordination needed to successfully implement the transformative science of the Multidisciplinary drifting Observatory for the Study of Arctic Climate (MOSAiC) field campaign. The US MOSAiC Coordination Office (MCO) will work jointly with AWI partners to provide the project leadership needed during the build-up towards field operations, throughout the expedition, and during the initial synthesis stage. Importantly, the MCO will provide the leadership necessary to guide coupled-system scientific design, support implementation planning, coordinate international and inter-agency contributions, assist real-time field operations, enable synthesis research, and interface with the public through outreach and education. As preparation for this project’s participation in the larger MOSAiC project, the researchers will participate in MOSAiC-specific field training required for the expedition. Starting in September of 2019, the researchers will join the expedition participating in Leg 1a, Leg 1, Leg 4, Leg 5, and Leg 6.

CPS will provide safety training. All other logistics support will be provided by Alfred Wegener Institute (AWI) via the user day fee and/or covered by the PI direct to grant. (Note: the berthing fee was waived by AWI for this project.)
SeasonField SiteDate InDate Out#People
2019Arctic Ocean and Seas - MOSAiC Leg 1, 1a09 / 20 / 2019 12 / 15 / 20194
2020Arctic Ocean and Seas - MOSAiC Leg 404 / 09 / 2020 06 / 15 / 20204
2020Arctic Ocean and Seas - MOSAiC Leg 506 / 16 / 2020 08 / 15 / 20204
2020Arctic Ocean and Seas - MOSAiC Leg 608 / 16 / 2020 10 / 14 / 20204

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