After Year on Ice, the Biggest Arctic Research Mission Is Done

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The Polarstern amidst Arctic sea ice.

The Polarstern amidst Arctic sea ice.
Photo: NOAA, University of Colorado, Boulder, and MOSAiC

The largest Arctic research campaign in history just came to a close. For more than a year, a rotating group of roughly 500 scientists and staffers have been traveling the region on a research vessel called the Polarstern as part of the Multidisciplinary drifting Observatory for the Study of Arctic Climate expedition, or MOSAiC.

The expedition began last September, when a team packed the ship with 1 million pounds of equipment and set off from Norway toward the North Pole. They then attached the vessel to an ice floe north of Siberia and let it carry them westward for thousands of miles. This allowed the multidisciplinary group of researchers to closely observe the Arctic’s air, ice, and ecosystems to learn more about them and their bearing on our changing climate.

The team studied everything from zooplankton and polar bears to sea ice and wind patterns. Along the way, they encountered many difficulties. At several points, for instance, the ice broke up more than they expected it would and forced them to change their planned path. They also saw dangerous storms, which in more than one case damaged their equipment. At one point, an Arctic fox chewed through data cables—seriously. And of course, there was the covid-19 pandemic, which forced them to pause the expedition for three weeks after a crew member getting ready to deploy to the vessel tested positive, delaying some of their research.

Illustration for article titled After More Than a Year on the Ice, the Biggest Arctic Research Mission Is Complete

Photo: Lianna Nixon, CIRES/University of Colorado, Boulder

The unique nature of the science and circumstances of the pandemic wasn’t the only time the expedition made news; its controversial, sexist dress code prohibiting women from wearing tight clothes also garnered backlash. Despite these challenges, the scientists arrived back on


Biggest North Pole mission back from ‘dying Arctic’

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Researchers on the world’s biggest mission to the North Pole returned to Germany on Monday, bringing home devastating proof of a dying Arctic Ocean and warnings of ice-free summers in just decades.

The German Alfred Wegener Institute’s Polarstern ship returned to the port of Bremerhaven after 389 days spent drifting through the Arctic trapped in ice, allowing scientists to gather vital information on the effects of global warming in the region.

“I have waited for this moment for so long that my heart is palpitating. The ship is now back,” said institute director Antje Boetius from on board another ship accompanying the research vessel back to port.

Ahead of their return, mission leader Markus Rex told AFP that the team of several hundred scientists from 20 countries have seen for themselves the dramatic effects of global warming on ice in the region considered “the epicentre of climate change.

“We witnessed how the Arctic ocean is dying,” Rex said. “We saw this process right outside our windows, or when we walked on the brittle ice.”

Underlining how much of the sea ice has melted away, Rex said the mission was able to sail through large patches of open water, “sometimes stretching as far as the horizon”.

“At the North Pole itself, we found badly eroded, melted, thin and brittle ice.”

– ‘Ice-free Arctic’ –

If the warming trend in the North Pole continues, then in a few decades we will have “an ice-free Arctic in the summer”, Rex said.

The researchers’ observations have been backed up by US satellite images showing that in 2020, sea ice in the Arctic reached its second-lowest summer minimum on record, after 2012.

The Polarstern mission, dubbed MOSAIC, spent over a year collecting data on the atmosphere, ocean, sea ice and ecosystems to help assess the


College football’s biggest plays from Week 6

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Upsets, shootouts and unlikely heroes were all present in Week 6 of college football and all can be seen in this week’s top plays. 

You need guts when you want to win an SEC game as an underdog, so starting the game with a trick play or going for it on fourth down in the fourth quarter will always get you on lists like these. 

And, of course, a big man touchdown is always a welcome addition to highlight reels across the country.

The top five plays from Week 6 in college football:

Connor Bazelak, Missouri, QB: The Missouri offense showed no fear when it hosted No. 16 LSU and broke out the trickery on its first possession. Less than two minutes into the game, Mizzou ran the coveted flea flicker that ended with a 58-yard touchdown from Bazelak to Tauskie Dove. Missouri would go on to win 45-41. Bazelak  finished with 406 passing yards and four touchdowns. 

Isaiah Spiller, Texas A&M, RB: On their way to a 41-38 upset win against No. 3 Florida, the Aggies went for it on fourth down in the fourth quarter, down 28-24. Miller not only got the first down, but he bounced off a UF defender on his way to a booming 19-yard touchdown run to give Texas A&M the lead in a turning point of the SEC matchup.

Alim McNeill, N.C. State, DT: McNeil found himself in every big man’s dream when N.C. State faced off against Virginia. The 320-pound lineman batted quarterback Lindell Stone’s pass into the air in the fourth quarter and tracked the ball down for a thunderous 18-yard pick six. The Wolfpack would


B/R Experts Answer Biggest College Football Questions for Week 6 | Bleacher Report

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    Oklahoma WR Charleston Rambo

    Oklahoma WR Charleston RamboCharlie Neibergall/Associated Press

    Week 5 of the 2020 college football season was tumultuous. Even though there were only two games pitting ranked teams, eight AP Top 25 squads tasted defeat. Perhaps most surprising was No. 16 Mississippi State scoring just 14 points at home in a loss to Arkansas seven days after hanging about a million passing yards on the defending national champions.

    What drastic twists and turns could Week 6 have up its sleeve?

    With No. 7 Miami paying a visit to Death Valley, could No. 1 Clemson suffer a regular-season loss for the first time in three calendar years?

    Will No. 14 Tennessee at least put up a fight against No. 3 Georgia after three consecutive years of blowouts?

    Is Oklahoma going to lose for a third straight week?

    And keeping with the theme of threes, will the third game of Jimbo Fisher’s third season at Texas A&M be a positive turning point for the program or a negative turning point for his support from the Aggies faithful?

    Bleacher Report’s college football expertsDavid Kenyon, Adam Kramer, Kerry Miller, Joel Reuter and Brad Shepardhave predictions for each of those questions and more in advance of what should be another stellar weekend of collegiate pigskin.

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    Clemson RB Travis Etienne

    Clemson RB Travis EtienneSean Rayford/Associated Press

    David Kenyon

    After several years of the Miami Hurricanes thriving defensively and falling short on offense, the script has sort of flipped in 2020. While I’m still a bit hesitant to buy Miami’s improvement on offense—tight end Brevin Jordan is a star, but the wide receivers lack a true standout—my larger concern is the defense.

    Can the Hurricanes cover well enough? I’m not confident in any corner beyond Al Blades Jr. to consistently handle


The Biggest Disappointments of the 2020 College Football Season so Far | Bleacher Report

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    Charlie Neibergall/Associated Press

    Preseason expectations don’t always pan out, but some predictions can rapidly turn sour in a matter of weeks.

    One month into the 2020 college football season, for example, several top-ranked teams have endured an upset. While that’s no different than usual, the losses are magnified when about 40 percent of the Football Bowl Subdivision isn’t even playing.

    Disappointment is not limited to national title contenders or teams hoping to reach that level, either. Programs simply looking to compete in their own conference can fall short, too.

    It’s still early, and a few of the teams highlighted might end the season on a positive note. But the first weeks haven’t been kind.

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    Barry Reeger/Associated Press

    To be perfectly honest, I’m not interested in the “whether it was a good decision” discussion. Four conferencesthe Big Ten, Pac-12, Mountain West and MACpostponed the fall season in August. About a month later, they all reversed course.

    Strictly on that knowledge, it’s disappointing not to have the quartet playing as close to a full schedule as possible.

    Instead, each conference is slated for six to eight gamesthough the Big Ten has built in a special weekend to include a ninth contest. For comparison’s sake, the ACC intends to play 11 with the Big 12 and SEC both aiming for a 10-game schedule.

    Again, if this is what the leagues deemed safe, great! It’s still OK to be frustrated there isn’t more.

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    Charlie Riedel/Associated Press

    This is mostly a nod to anyone who anticipatedhoped?Les Miles would turn around a disastrous Kansas program.

    Last season, the Jayhawks opened the year 2-1 and snapped an 11-year streak of failing to beat a power-conference team on the

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