Marcel Nicolaus, Alfred-Wegener-Institut Helmholtz-Zentrum für Polar- und Meeresforschung
Donald K. Perovich, Thayer School of Engineering at Dartmouth
Gunnar Spreen, Universität Bremen
Mats A. Granskog, Norsk Polarinstitutt
Luisa von Albedyll, Alfred-Wegener-Institut Helmholtz-Zentrum für Polar- und Meeresforschung
Michael Angelopoulos, Alfred-Wegener-Institut Helmholtz-Zentrum für Polar- und Meeresforschung
Philipp Anhaus, Alfred-Wegener-Institut Helmholtz-Zentrum für Polar- und Meeresforschung
Stefanie Arndt, Alfred-Wegener-Institut Helmholtz-Zentrum für Polar- und Meeresforschung
H. Jakob Belter, Alfred-Wegener-Institut Helmholtz-Zentrum für Polar- und Meeresforschung
Vladimir Bessonov, Arctic and Antarctic Research Institute
Gerit Birnbaum, Alfred-Wegener-Institut Helmholtz-Zentrum für Polar- und Meeresforschung
Jörg Brauchle, Deutsches Zentrum für Luft- und Raumfahrt (DLR)
Radiance Calmer, University of Colorado Boulder
Estel Cardellach, Instituto de Estudios Espaciales de Cataluña
Bin Cheng, Finnish Meteorological Institute
David Clemens-Sewall, Thayer School of Engineering at Dartmouth
Ruzica Dadic, Victoria University of Wellington
Ellen Damm, Alfred-Wegener-Institut Helmholtz-Zentrum für Polar- und Meeresforschung
Gijs de Boer, University of Colorado Boulder
Oguz Demir, The Ohio State University
Klaus Dethloff, Alfred-Wegener-Institut Helmholtz-Zentrum für Polar- und Meeresforschung
Dmitry V. Divine, Norsk Polarinstitutt
Tim Stanton, San Jose State UniversityFollow
For full author list, see comments below

Publication Date


Document Type


Publication Title

Elementa: Science of the Anthropocene








Year-round observations of the physical snow and ice properties and processes that govern the ice pack evolution and its interaction with the atmosphere and the ocean were conducted during the Multidisciplinary drifting Observatory for the Study of Arctic Climate (MOSAiC) expedition of the research vessel Polarstern in the Arctic Ocean from October 2019 to September 2020. This work was embedded into the interdisciplinary design of the 5 MOSAiC teams, studying the atmosphere, the sea ice, the ocean, the ecosystem, and biogeochemical processes. The overall aim of the snow and sea ice observations during MOSAiC was to characterize the physical properties of the snow and ice cover comprehensively in the central Arctic over an entire annual cycle. This objective was achieved by detailed observations of physical properties and of energy and mass balance of snow and ice. By studying snow and sea ice dynamics over nested spatial scales from centimeters to tens of kilometers, the variability across scales can be considered. On-ice observations of in situ and remote sensing properties of the different surface types over all seasons will help to improve numerical process and climate models and to establish and validate novel satellite remote sensing methods; the linkages to accompanying airborne measurements, satellite observations, and results of numerical models are discussed. We found large spatial variabilities of snow metamorphism and thermal regimes impacting sea ice growth. We conclude that the highly variable snow cover needs to be considered in more detail (in observations, remote sensing, and models) to better understand snow-related feedback processes. The ice pack revealed rapid transformations and motions along the drift in all seasons. The number of coupled ice–ocean interface processes observed in detail are expected to guide upcoming research with respect to the changing Arctic sea ice.

Funding Number


Funding Sponsor

National Science Foundation


Arctic drift study, Atmosphere–ice–ocean interaction, Coupled climate system, Interdisciplinary research, Snow and sea ice


Full author list: Marcel Nicolaus, Donald K. Perovich, Gunnar Spreen, Mats A. Granskog, Luisa von Albedyll, Michael Angelopoulos, Philipp Anhaus, Stefanie Arndt, H. Jakob Belter, Vladimir Bessonov, Gerit Birnbaum, Jörg Brauchle, Radiance Calmer, Estel Cardellach, Bin Cheng, David Clemens-Sewall, Ruzica Dadic, Ellen Damm, Gijs de Boer, Oguz Demir, Klaus Dethloff, Dmitry V. Divine, Allison A. Fong, Steven Fons, Markus M. Frey, Niels Fuchs, Carolina Gabarró, Sebastian Gerland, Helge F. Goessling, Rolf Gradinger, Jari Haapala, Christian Haas, Jonathan Hamilton, Henna-Reetta Hannula, Stefan Hendricks, Andreas Herber, Céline Heuzé, Mario Hoppmann, Knut Vilhelm Høyland, Marcus Huntemann, Jennifer K. Hutchings, Byongjun Hwang, Polona Itkin, Hans-Werner Jacobi, Matthias Jaggi, Arttu Jutila, Lars Kaleschke, Christian Katlein, Nikolai Kolabutin, Daniela Krampe, Steen Savstrup Kristensen, Thomas Krumpen, Nathan Kurtz, Astrid Lampert, Benjamin Allen Lange, Ruibo Lei, Bonnie Light, Felix Linhardt, Glen E. Liston, Brice Loose, Amy R. Macfarlane, Mallik Mahmud, Ilkka O. Matero, Sönke Maus, Anne Morgenstern, Reza Naderpour, Vishnu Nandan, Alexey Niubom, Marc Oggier, Natascha Oppelt, Falk Pätzold, Christophe Perron, Tomasz Petrovsky, Roberta Pirazzini, Chris Polashenski, Benjamin Rabe, Ian A. Raphael, Julia Regnery, Markus Rex, Robert Ricker, Kathrin Riemann-Campe, Annette Rinke, Jan Rohde, Evgenii Salganik, Randall K. Scharien, Martin Schiller, Martin Schneebeli, Maximilian Semmling, Egor Shimanchuk, Matthew D. Shupe, Madison M. Smith, Vasily Smolyanitsky, Vladimir Sokolov, Tim Stanton, Julienne Stroeve, Linda Thielke, Anna Timofeeva, Rasmus Tage Tonboe, Aikaterini Tavri, Michel Tsamados, David N. Wagner, Daniel Watkins, Melinda Webster, Manfred Wendisch

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.


Moss Landing Marine Laboratories