Arctic Circle Prize Recognizes MOSAiC Expedition

Published: 24 January 2023

ARM data are freely available from the largest polar expedition in history

MOSAiC personnel, suited up in snowsuits and headlamps, work during polar night to set up a 30-meter tower on ice and snow.
In December 2019, MOSAiC personnel set up a 30-meter tower on ice with the research icebreaker R/V Polarstern in the distance. Photo is by Esther Horvath, Alfred Wegener Institute (CC-BY 4.0).

The 2022 Arctic Circle Prize went to the Alfred Wegener Institute (AWI) and the Multidisciplinary Drifting Observatory for the Study of Arctic Climate (MOSAiC) expedition. The award was given at the 2022 Arctic Circle Assembly in Reykjavik, Iceland, on October 15.

The Arctic Circle Prize is awarded for extraordinary contributions to the continuous work of securing a sustainable and prosperous future in the Arctic. AWI Director Antje Boetius and expedition leader Markus Rex accepted the prize in recognition of the efforts to increase knowledge and understanding of the Arctic by AWI and MOSAiC.

MOSAiC is the largest polar expedition in history. The German research icebreaker R/V Polarstern embarked from Tromsø, Norway, in September 2019. International teams of scientists, engineers, and technicians studied climate systems of the Arctic from the vessel as it drifted, ice-locked, through the Arctic Ocean for a year.

The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) and its Atmospheric Radiation Measurement (ARM) user facility were among the earliest supporters of the expedition. ARM provided more than 50 atmospheric instruments, which helped researchers identify and quantify cloud, aerosol, weather, and other conditions on display during the voyage. ARM MOSAiC data are freely available to download from the ARM Data Center.

This was the third time the Arctic Circle Prize was awarded and the first time it was given to science and an institution. Ban Ki-moon, then secretary-general of the United Nations, received the first Arctic Circle Prize in 2016, followed by John Kerry, former U.S. secretary of state and U.S. chair of the Arctic Council, in 2019.

The award is an etched, semi-transparent trophy shaped like an iceberg.

ARM is proud of its contribution to the epic MOSAiC expedition and its effort to expand scientific understanding of the Arctic.

Watch the complete presentation of the 2022 Arctic Circle Prize, including a short video introduction of the expedition and interview footage featuring ARM MOSAiC Principal Investigator Matthew Shupe.

Coming Up for MOSAiC

Already, 2023 is looking like another big year for MOSAiC science. All data from the expedition were expected to be made freely and publicly available as of January 1.

In February, researchers will meet in Boulder, Colorado, for the Second International MOSAiC Science Conference. The conference, led by Shupe and supported by DOE’s Atmospheric System Research (ASR), will focus on cross-cutting science to advance modeling capabilities. Learn more about the conference.

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ARM is a DOE Office of Science user facility operated by nine DOE national laboratories.