Building process-based understanding of the Central Arctic system through MOSAiC

Matthew Shupe

CIRES and NOAA Physical Sciences Laboratory

Tuesday, Aug 03, 2021, 2:00 pm


The Arctic system is changing rapidly, with substantial declines in sea ice associated with variability in surface energy fluxes, changes in ice dynamics, and many other processes. Transformation in the Arctic may also be linked with shifts in regional and hemispheric circulation patterns. With the emergence of the New Arctic there are increasing societal needs to understand and model this system, spanning from improved weather and sea-ice forecasts that support regional operations, to advanced climate predictions that incorporate reliable representations of cryosphere-coupled processes. Change also extends well beyond the physical system, and it is essential to understand how physical processes are affecting the Arctic ecosystem and resources. The Multidisciplinary drifting Observatory for the Study of Arctic Climate (MOSAiC) was a yearlong, international research expedition (October 2019 – October 2020) into the evolving central Arctic sea ice pack, to study the coupled processes that are in a state of rapid change and underpin the role of the Arctic in the global system. This presentation will follow the course of the expedition as it drifted across the central Arctic, highlighting the many challenges and opportunities of a year in the Arctic ice. Along this journey we will explore some of the many scientific topics that are the focus of ongoing MOSAiC research, and particularly the research that is being driven by the Physical Sciences Laboratory and Cooperative Institute for Research in Environmental Sciences. Scientific themes will touch on lower-atmosphere structure, cloud-surface interactions, variability in the surface energy budget over sea ice, atmospheric storms and transitions, process-based model assessment, and others.


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