People board the RV Polarstern Arctic research expedition ship at the port of Breivika in Tromso, Norway on September 20, 2019. REUTERS / Ints Kalnins
TROMSOE, Norway (Reuters) – Scientists from 19 countries are preparing to embark on a yearlong expedition to the Arctic, the longest project of its kind, to better understand global climate change.
The Polarstern icebreaker is preparing to set sail from Tromsoe in northern Norway, allowing hundreds of rotating researchers to spend next year near the North Pole.
"We want to go to the Arctic because it's the epicenter of climate change," Markus Rex, atmospheric scientist at the Alfred Wegener Institute in Germany, who leads the project, told Reuters.
The expedition, called Mosaic, is the first opportunity for climate researchers to study the Arctic during the winter, as the equipment needed to break the ice is lacking.
"We don't understand the Arctic climate system well because we have never been there in the winter," said Rex.
Scientists will be able to observe for the first time the main climate processes in the central Arctic throughout the year, hoping that they can generate more robust climate forecasts in the future.
"So far, all climate models need to guess a bit about how these processes work in the central Arctic," said Rex.
Written by Victoria Klesty in Oslo; Editing by Steve Orlofsky
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