October 12, 2020, 10.19 PM

Read also: Sink or Swim as Rising Sea Levels to Reach 40cm by 2100

As part of the North Pole expedition, known by its acronym MOSAiC, the Polarstern anchored to a large floe last fall and set up a camp on the ice, creating a small scientific village protected from wandering polar bears by alarms and scouts.

“We went above and beyond the data collection we set out to do," said Melinda Webster, a sea ice expert at the University of Alaska, Fairbanks, whose work is funded by NASA.

Webster, who led a team of 14 scientists on board the German research vessel during the fourth leg of the trip in the Arctic, said it will likely take years, or even decades, to sift through the data.

“This is an extremely exciting time to get into Arctic science because of the changes that are happening," she said.

Read also: Antarctic Peninsula Warmest in Decades Due to Accelerating Ocean Warming

"We need to get all the help we can because it’s important to understand what’s going on and the more people help out, the better.”

Rex, the German research vessel's expedition leader, noted that the ship encountered unusually thin and mushy conditions in the region above northern Greenland this summer that allowed them to make an unplanned detour to the North Pole.

“We are watching the Arctic sea ice die,” Rex said, adding that he thinks it's possible there may be no summer sea ice in the Arctic soon.

This would cause not just a significant disruption to indigenous societies in the region but also interfere with the planet's cooling system.

“We need to do everything to preserve it for future generations,” he said. 

(Writer: Frank Jordans) 

Source: https://apnews.com/article/virus-outbreak-climate-climate-change-bears-arctic-c992fcfc1468a570c93efebfafd2f4b7 

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