MOSAiC Monday: October 21, 2019

This Season's Hottest Trends: Climate Modeling


Have you ever wondered how climate models work and why expeditions like MOSAiC are so important for refining them?
Atmospheric scientist Dr. Katharine Hayhoe demystifies climate models in this video.

15-minute clock icon Quick Bite: What is Climate?

To answer this question, it is helpful to contrast climate with weather. Have your students observe this map showing climate zones around the globe. Then, let them play around with this interactive map of today's weather all around the world. Ask them to share what they notice about these two maps. How do they compare or contrast? Based on what you noticed, how would you define climate and differentiate it from weather? 

Global climate zones map

Global weather map for today

Video: The Climate is Changing, but How's the Weather?

NGSS icon - ESS NGSS SEP - Analyzing Data NGSS CCC - Patterns

15-minute clock icon​ Quick Bite: Climate in the Arctic

Why is the Arctic so much colder than the equator? What is the role of sunlight in the Arctic climate system?

Have your students look at two different figures that both illustrate important components of the Arctic climate system. As a class, discuss what each of the figures is showing and how these figures relate to the two questions above.

Arctic climate system figures

Learn more about Arctic weather and climate

NGSS - ESS NGSS - PS NGSS - Analyzing Data NGSS SEP - Constructing Explanations NGSS CCC - Cause & Effect NGSS CCC - Systems

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 your students can track its journey across the Arctic in your classroom.

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

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

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. 

Download a MOSAiC Data Logbook to keep track of Arctic conditions over the course of the expedition

Arctic Data*
 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

*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.

Question icon#askmosaic: Polar Bears at the Polarstern

Polar bears near the Polarstern

Student question: Do you think you will come across wildlife?

Great question! Here is one experience with Arctic wildlife that folks on the Polarstern had last week:

Yesterday evening again two polar bears came close to our ship...Nobody was on the ice when the bears appeared and there was no danger for the expedition's participants. For our own safety and for the safety of the polar bears, we don't want them to get used to being our neighbors. The expedition's lead and professional polar bear guards therefore chased them with the flashbang of a flare gun. The bears were not injured and left the area immediately. Photo: Esther Horvath, AWI

Watch an interview with Trude Hohle, a polar bear guard on the Polarstern

Submit your question!

Ship icon Follow the Journey

PolarTREC educator Katie Gavenus will be keeping a journal during her time aboard the Russian icebreaker Federov on the first leg of the MOSAiC expedition. Check out her Education Extensions at the end of each journal entry for more Arctic-related classroom activities. 

Read Katie's journals
Peruse other expedition blogs
Browse all Arctic and polar-related educational resources
Check out the MOSAiC Monday Archives

NGSS icon*Update* MOSAiC Monday and the NGSS

Good news for educators in the U.S. teaching with the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) or similar! We will now be tagging MOSAiC Monday engagements with the NGSS Disciplinary Core Idea subject(s), Science and Engineering Practice(s), and Crosscutting Concept(s) that they most closely connect to. Look for these symbols listed below each engagement: 

Disciplinary Core Idea Subjects
Science and Engineering Practices (adopted from the San Diego County Office of Education Science Resource Center)
Crosscutting Concepts (adopted from the San Diego County Office of Education Science Resource Center)

Is there something you'd like to see in MOSAiC Monday?  Let us know!
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Next Week
  • How is the climate changing?
  • Arctic amplification
  • Check in with the Polarstern