Bremerhaven (dpa) - The research vessel "Polarstern" has reached the northernmost point on earth on the last section of its Arctic expedition "Mosaic". "It was an incredibly fast ride," said expedition leader Markus Rex of the German press agency.
"We had a wide area with low ice concentration and thin ice." The "Polarstern" started on the north side of Greenland. Normally, the sea area there is so densely covered with sea ice, some of which have lasted several years, that a trip there is not recommended, emphasized Rex.
"It is terrifying to see how thin the sea ice is and how fast it is melting. Something must be done urgently. The Arctic cannot wait long." The Bremerhaven-based Alfred Wegener Institute (AWI) announced in July that the extent of the Arctic sea ice is as small as has never been observed since the satellite measurements began for the month of July.
The Arctic ice usually reaches its greatest extent in March and its smallest extent in September. In September 2012, at 3.4 million square kilometers, the smallest ice surface since 1979 was observed, and in September 2019 the second smallest area. Whether the negative records will be topped again this year will be seen in September, said Rex.
The "Polarstern" has been in the Arctic for eleven months. At first it drifted with a huge clod, which broke at the end of July. Since then, the icebreaker has been driving north again under motor. "We're going to go beyond the North Pole towards Siberia to find a new ice floe," said Rex. There the scientists want to observe the beginning of the freezing process. It is the final piece of the puzzle that researchers miss in observing the annual cycle of ice in the Arctic.
© dpa-infocom, dpa: 200819-99-229327 / 2