First News from Lauriane on Polarstern

They’ve always said, and somehow we knew, MOSAiC was going to be a different expedition. This is particularly true for communication. We’re literally dying for updates from Lauriane on Polarstern. We are eager to know how she is doing, how the situation is and how the data look like that we record. It’s a big lesson in patience. Emails can only be 50 kB (!) at maximum. So no images or substantial data can be transmitted. But we can exchange text. And Lauriane has written a short report for us.

20 th of October,

It’s already a month that we departed from Tromso. Being on the ship feels normal now. We have already experienced a lot: from sailing in open waters, to breaking ice, and now to finally moore ourselves to a floe that will be our home for a year.

Life is very different in this microcosmic floating city. Our schedule is regulated by the kitchen hours, since now the lack of light already disturbs our internal clocks. It’s always dark and a new phase in the expedition has started: after the ‘all is exciting’ feeling during the journey to our floe, a big part of the scientific team has now left with the Akademik Federov, signing the end of the set-up phase – at least for those working on the ship. Setting up our little neighborhoods (ocean city, met city, ROV city and so on) is still ongoing. Work is slow in the dark and cold conditions.


On my side, the first weeks have been quite challenging. With the great honor to take care of the PSI-INAR instrumentation, targeting aerosol measurement from its gas-phase precursors to its impact on clouds and climate, I am taking my marks of daily routines, checking that measurements are running. This involves backing up our precious data, zeroing, calibrating… and of course trouble shooting. No campaign goes smoothly without interruption: two major instrument challenges are already solved, and I have to acknowledge the great support from which the ATMOS team members. This is fantastic.

Besides the work at the container (and food), the traditional 18:30 science meeting, and its ceremonial weather report, is the central point of the day, sometime followed by a scientific presentation, or simply by movies or gym time or a couple of drink at the ‘local bar’ the Zillertal to share the goods and bads of the day.

Two months are left until the end of leg 1, hoping that things will go a bit smoother with the end of the set-up on the ice. Well, there is still some work to be excepted on that end, since the moon tides have been restructuring the ice pack, detaching major parts of the freshly established floe that now is drifting away from us…

It feels like a real expedition.