MOSAiC Monday - June 22, 2020

Engaging with MOSAiC Monday over the (Northern Hemisphere) summer

Hello all! MOSAiC Monday team here with a quick update on how you can engage with MOSAiC Monday throughout the Northern Hemisphere summer. Whether you are an educator planning next year's curriculum, a parent whose child's summer camp plans were foiled due to COVID, or an Arctic enthusiast keeping tabs on the expedition, we've got something for you. Over the next several weeks, you'll notice a couple of new recurring sections in MOSAiC Monday:

  • Educators' Corner: Teachers, get a head start on your curriculum planning for next year or find out about professional development opportunities related to STEM teaching and learning. We'll share educational resources related to MOSAiC and the Arctic that you can integrate into your classroom and more!
  • MOSAiC Virtual Summer Camp: Just because your kids might not be able to go away to camp this summer doesn't mean they can't engage in fun activities at home! Each week, we'll share fun, easy, and educational at-home activities related to MOSAiC and the Arctic that you/your kids can do independently using simple and accessible materials.

In addition to these new sections, we'll continue to bring you updates from the Polarstern and share resources from and about Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC) in the Arctic and in STEM research and education. As always, feel free to contact us with suggested content to share or feedback:

Oh Hello, Floe!

Fogbow! Photo by Lianna Nixon


On Wednesday, June 17th, after 8 days of traveling through the ice, the Polarstern finally parked next to the sea ice floe that will be its home for the next several months. There is much to be done! Research cities must be set back up, which means running power lines and creating roads out on the ice. Summer in the Central Arctic will likely prove to be an exciting and challenging time for the scientists; as temperatures rise, the ice will melt and become more dynamic, forming melt ponds, ridges, and leads that researchers will have to contend with. Photo credit: Lianna Nixon

Follow the Polarstern

Listen the podcast: Pole Position - the Polarstern expedition reveals the Arctic's secrets


#askmosaic#askmosaic: MOSAiC - An Aptly Named Mission

Submitted question: Where did the idea for MOSAiC come from?

MOSAiC Leg 1 crew

"MOSAiC is a very international project, and many different people contributed ideas towards the overall design of the expedition. Many of these ideas were influenced by past expeditions into the Arctic over the last 125 years. The science concept for MOSAiC initially came from a combination of ideas from scientists at the University of Colorado (USA) and the Alfred Wegener Institute (Germany), who led an international effort to develop the MOSAiC Science Plan. The logistical plan for MOSAiC was led by the Alfred Wegener Institute, based around their ship the Polarstern, in partnership with key logistic contributions from Russia, Sweden, China, and many other international partners." Photo credit: Esther Horvath

-Matthew Shupe, University of Colorado, MOSAiC expedition co-coordinator and Team Atmosphere member


Learn more about the original goals and plans for the MOSAiC expedition


Send us your #askmosaic questions!

Indigenous Knowledge and the Environment

What is indigenous knowledge, why is it important, and how is it changing among communities in the Arctic as the climate and environment change? Here are some resources to learn more:

Indigenous Peoples' Knowledge from the Arctic Council Indigenous Peoples' Secretariat

Traditional Knowledge is a systematic way of thinking and knowing that is elaborated and applied to phenomena across biological, physical, cultural and linguistic systems. Traditional Knowledge is owned by the holders of that knowledge, often collectively, and is uniquely expressed and transmitted through Indigenous languages.


Video: An Unpredictable Environment

It was traditionally the task of the women and girls to forecast the weather for hunting trips. Recent changes in climate have increased the uncertainty of using the traditional knowledge of Alaska Native science to predict the weather and associated animal behaviors, and this is having an impact on the subsistence lifestyle.


Caleb Scholars Program

Scholarship Opportunity for Alaska Native Students


The Caleb Lumen Pungowiyi Scholars Program announces a call for applications for the 2020 Fall semester. The Caleb Scholars Program is available to students from Norton Sound, Northwest Arctic, and Arctic Slope regions and applicants must be pursuing an undergraduate or graduate degree in disciplines related to marine conservation.
Scholars are awarded $5,000 per semester and eligible for extracurricular activities like internships and travel opportunities. Scholars are expected to pursue experience above and beyond their degree program, such as internships, research projects, presentations or conferences, and more. Scholars are eligible for additional resources to support these requirements. Image credit: Caleb Scholars Program Website

Learn more and apply

VSC MOSAiC Virtual Summer Camp

Did you or your kids have summer camp plans that fell through because of COVID? Not to worry! Tune in to MOSAiC Monday each week for a fun, hands-on and engaging virtual summer camp activity related to MOSAiC or the Arctic. All MVSC activities should be done with parent supervision!


This Week's Activity: Build Your Own Sea Ice Drifter

Celebrate the Polarstern's return to the Arctic ice by building your own sea ice drifter! A drifter is another name for a buoy, or something that drifts along with the ocean and/or sea ice and takes measurements.  Drifters can measure a wide variety of things - air temperature and pressure, sea ice and ocean temperature and salinity, wind speed, and more. How do you think a drifter must be designed to withstand the cold, harsh conditions in the Arctic?

Materials (all are optional):

  • Paper and pencil
  • Aluminum foil
  • Popsicle sticks
  • Paper cups
  • String
  • Glue/tape
  • Cardboard
  • Paper clips
  • Other craft materials of your choosing!
  • Battery powered handheld fan (optional)
  • Piece of styrofoam
  • Wide tub of water (wading pool or bathtub, or something smaller will work too)


What to do:

1. Draw out a design of your sea ice drifter using pencil and paper. What shape do you think it should be so that it can drift along with sea ice and float after the ice has melted? What kinds of measurements do you want your drifter to be able to take? How are you going to protect your drifter from very cold Arctic temperatures and other environmental factors?

2. Gather your building materials and build your drifter.

3. Test your drifter: Attach it to a piece of styrofoam and place it in a tub of water. Turn the battery-powered fan on and direct it at the drifter (or you can simply blow on the drifter). What happens? Separate your drifter from the styrofoam and place it directly in the water. Does it float, or sink? How else might you test out your drifter?

4. Did your drifter work the way you wanted it to? If not, improve your design with your building materials and retest it.

This activity was adapted from one created by our friends at the SMILE program at Oregon State University. Check out the full activity here.

Photo: MOSAiC scientists prepare to deploy a sea ice drifter in the Arctic; Photo credit: Anne Gold


Share your drifters with us! Take a photo of your drifter and send it to us to be featured in future MOSAiC Mondays:

Check out our full list of virtual and at-home polar learning resources here!


Educators' Corner Educators' Corner

The school year has ended for most K-12 students and teachers in many places, which means that it's time for professional development workshops, fall curriculum planning, and hopefully a bit of relaxation time! Each week throughout the summer, we'll use Educators' Corner to highlight MOSAiC and Arctic-related lessons, multimedia resources, and other educational materials that you can use in your NGSS (or similar) classroom, in person or remotely. Are you looking for a particular kind of educational resource? Let us know! Email us at

Collaboration on the Polarstern

For Your Classroom: Ice Floe Identification Lesson

Finding a suitable ice floe to park the Polarstern next to was one of the most important steps in the MOSAiC expedition. This involved several different people looking at different datasets and sharing their expertise with one another. You can simulate this process in your classroom with your students by challenging them to find a suitable ice floe for a fictional expedition similar to MOSAiC. In this two-day lesson, students each take on a different role—optical satellite imagery analyst, drift analyst, and ice thickness analyst—and work in research groups analyzing various real Arctic datasets to find a sea ice floe to park an icebreaker next to for their own Arctic research expedition. Photo credit: Esther Horvath

Teacher's Guide: Ice Floe Identification Lesson

Link to Google Drive folder with all lesson materials

Teacher tip: The files linked to above are view-only, but you can create copies for yourself that are editable. 


Educators: Sign up now for MOSAiC Expedition Virtual Teacher Workshops in July and August!

Workshop 1: New & Old Arctic

When: July 28-29 10 am - 2 pm MT

Where: Your living room

Cost: Free!

What you get: Certificate for 10 hours of professional development with the option to pay for 1 graduate credit from CU Boulder

Learn more and sign up


Workshop 2: Arctic Feedbacks: Not All Warming is Equal 

When: August 4-5 10 am - 2 pm MT

Where: Your living room

Cost: Free!

What you get: Certificate for 10 hours of professional development and 1 graduate credit from CU Boulder (paid for by CIRES)

Learn more and sign up

10-minute clock icon MOSAiC Weekly Tracking

Plot the Polarstern

Each week we will provide you with the latitude and longitude coordinates of the Polarstern so that you can track its journey across the Arctic.

Download the map to plot coordinates

Download a larger map of the Arctic for a bigger picture view of the expedition area

Location of the Polarstern
 Date  Latitude  Longitude
 September 16, 2019  69.68 N  18.99 E
 September 23, 2019  72.31 N  26.93 E
 September 30, 2019  85.12 N  138.05 E
 October 4, 2019**  85.08 N  134.43 E
 October 7, 2019  85.10 N  133.82 E
 October 14, 2019  84.85 N  135.03 E
 October 21, 2019  84.97 N  132.73 E
 October 28, 2019  85.47 N  127.07 E
 November 4, 2019  85.88 N  121.70 E
 November 11, 2019  85.82 N  116.00 E
 November 18, 2019  86.05 N  122.43 E
 November 25, 2019  85.85 N  121.35 E
 December 2, 2019  85.97 N  112.95 E
 December 9, 2019  86.25 N  121.40 E
 December 16, 2019  86.62 N  118.12 E
 December 23, 2019  86.63 N  113.20 E
 December 30, 2019  86.58 N  117.13 E
 January 6, 2020  87.10 N  115.10 E
 January 13, 2020  87.35 N  106.63 E
 January 20, 2020  87.42 N  97.77 E
 January 27, 2020  87.43 N  95.82 E
 February 3, 2020  87.42 N  93.65 E
 February 10, 2020  87.78 N  91.52 E
 February 17, 2020  88.07 N  78.52 E
 February 24, 2020  88.58 N  52.87 E
 March 2, 2020  88.17 N  31.02 E
 March 9, 2020  87.93 N  24.20 E
 March 16, 2020  86.87 N  12.70 E
 March 23, 2020  86.20 N  15.78 E
 March 30, 2020  85.37 N  13.27 E
 April 6, 2020  84.52 N  14.38 E
 April 13, 2020  84.28 N  14.97 E
 April 20, 2020  84.52 N  14.57 E
 April 27, 2020  83.93 N  15.65 E
 May 4, 2020  83.92 N  18.03 E
 May 11, 2020  83.47 N  13.08 E
 May 18+, 2020  83.32 N  8.68 E
 May 25+, 2020  82.43 N  8.28 E
 June 1+, 2020  81.33 N  9.93 E
 June 8+, 2020  78.10 N  12.73 E
 June 15+, 2020  82.20 N  8.18 E
 June 22+, 2020  81.95 N  9.27 E

 **Day when MOSAiC reached the ice floe that the Polarstern will become frozen in and drift with for the next year.
+ Indicates when the Polarstern traveled under its own engine power (no drifting)

Log MOSAiC Data 

What happens in the Arctic as the seasons change? Find out firsthand with real-time Arctic data, provided for you here each week. 

Keep track of Arctic conditions over the course of the expedition:

Download Data Logbook for Sept. 2019 - Dec. 2019

Download Data Logbook for Dec. 2019 - Mar. 2020

Download Data Logbook for Mar. 2020 - June 2020

 Date  Length of day (hrs)  Air temperature (deg C) at location of Polarstern  Arctic Sea Ice Extent (million km2)
 September 16, 2019  13.25  High: 10   Low: 4.4  3.9
 September 23, 2019  12.35  High: 6     Low: -1  4.1
 September 30, 2019  9.1  -4.7  4.4
 October 4, 2019**  6.27  -13.0  4.5
 October 7, 2019  3.05  -8.2  4.6
 October 14, 2019  0  -14.7  4.8
 October 21, 2019  0  -12.8  5.4
 October 28, 2019  0  -18.3  6.8
 November 4, 2019  0  -18.9  8.0
 November 11, 2019  0  -25.5  8.7
 November 18, 2019  0  -10.7  9.3
 November 25, 2019  0  -18.4  10.0
 December 2, 2019  0  -26.6  10.4
 December 9, 2019  0  -23.1  11.2
 December 16, 2019  0  -19.2  11.8
 December 23, 2019  0  -26.9   12.2
 December 30, 2019  0  -26.4   12.6
 January 6, 2020  0  -28.0  13.0
 January 13, 2020  0  -30.7  13.1
 January 20, 2020  0  -27.1  13.6
 January 27, 2020  0  -22.5  13.8
 February 3, 2020  0  -28.8  14.1
 February 10, 2020  0  -26.2  14.5
 February 17, 2020  0  -31.9  14.4
 February 24, 2020  0  -24.0  14.6
 March 2, 2020  0  -35.5  14.8
 March 9, 2020  0  -37.9  14.7
 March 16, 2020  10.5  -27.5  14.7
 March 23, 2020  16.5  -28.7  14.4
 March 30, 2020  24  -28.6  14.0
 April 6, 2020  24  -18.2  13.7
 April 13, 2020  24  -25.8  13.6
 April 20, 2020  24  -10.2  13.3
 April 27, 2020  24  -11.7  12.8
 May 4, 2020  24  -16.2  12.8
 May 11, 2020  24  -10.4  12.4
 May 18, 2020  24  -5.1  11.7
 May 25, 2020  24  0.4  11.5
 June 1, 2020  24  0.0  11.1
 June 8+, 2020  24  -0.1  10.6
 June 15+, 2020  24  -0.4  10.1
 June 22+, 2020  24  -0.4  9.6

*Note: We expect data to fall within the following ranges: Length of day, 0-24 hours; Temperature, -40 to 14 degrees C; Sea ice extent, 3-15 million km2

**Day when MOSAiC reached the ice floe that the Polarstern will become frozen in and drift with for the next year.

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Next Week
  • Expedition update
  • MOSAiC Virtual Summer Camp weekly activity
  • Educators' Corner featured resource
  • Check in with the Polarstern