Falling in Love with the Polar Regions - Start of MOSAiC School

During the first leg of the MOSAiC expedition, the MOSAiC School 2019 will take place on board the icebreaking research vessel RV Akademik Fedorov, which will support Polarstern for six weeks on her way into the central Arctic. During the transit into the ice, twenty early career scientists will attend lectures, workshops, and hands-on exercises on e.g., Arctic atmosphere, sea-ice and ocean conditions aboard the floating university, organized in collaboration with the Association of Polar Early Career Scientists (APECS). YOPP supports Thea Schneider, one of the twenty early-career scientists, and mathematician and climate scientist Thomas Rackow who will join the school as a lecturer for climate and sea-ice modelling.

Once arrived in the Arctic, MOSAiC School participants will support the MOSAiC teams to set up the distributed regional network of observational sites within an area of up to ~50 km distance from RV Polarstern. On their way back to Tromsø, students will be given another set of workshops and practical exercises, this time on media and outreach. Each participant will work on an individual communication project to prepare becoming a MOSAiC ambassador after returning from the cruise.

We’ve asked master student Thea Schneider from the University of Potsdam and postdoctoral scientist Thomas Rackow from the Alfred Wegener Institute to complete the following sentences to tell us about their expectations for the school:

I look forward to participate in the MOSAiC school because...

Thea: "...being part of this huge international project is a once-in-a-lifetime chance and it offers so many unique experiences." 
Thomas: "I look forward to teaching during the MOSAiC School because it is an incredible opportunity to experience the polar regions and at the same time to meet a group of young and motivated people that are interested in this beautiful region."

My role at the MOSAiC school is...

Thea: "...to be a student and learn as much as possible from all the amazing scientists and other students on board. We will also help set up the Distributed Network around RV Polarstern."
Thomas: "...obviously to give dancing courses and to play guitar during our social events. Besides that, I will give a YOPP lecture about modelling, help the students with hands-on exercises to produce their own drift forecasts for sea-ice buoys – and maybe even for Polarstern’s drift – and support the daily organisation of the MOSAiC School wherever I can. I am the person responsible on board for making satellite and model data available and will provide visualization and – to some extent interpretation. Coordinating the availability of information with Russian experts on board will be important for the daily planning of the expedition."

My experience with the Arctic so far is...
Thea: "...a very short stay on Svalbard, which made me fall in love with the polar regions and made me come back to Svalbard to take some courses at the University Centre in Svalbard last year."
Thomas: "... mostly theoretical and from numerical models and forecasts of future Arctic climate and sea ice. Having generated computational grids for the Arctic at high spatial resolution, I feel quite familiar with the shape of the coastlines and bathymetry, but seeing it with my own eyes will bring my relation to this beautiful region to a whole new level!"

When I am back from the school in November, I would like to have...
Thea: "... experienced how daily life and research is like on an icebreaker, with all its ups and downs, and – to be honest – most of all I am crazy excited for the sea ice and to witness some of the processes I always read about and maybe even see a polar bear."
Thomas: "... seen polar lights and icebergs – yes, icebergs! – and to have experienced the rewarding but at the same time tough life during an expedition of this size."

I am going to share my school’s experience with...
Thea: "... hopefully with all of you by creating a photographic documentation (exhibition, booklet, blog posts, Instagram), and I am planning on giving talks about MOSAiC at my hometown university and have a MOSAiC day at my old school."
Thomas: "... the public through The IcePod podcast (ed. note: Yes, stay tuned – YOPP will go audio!) and by sharing photos and personal drawings on my social media channels. On the longer term, I plan to also support the early career scientists participating in the MOSAiC School as MOSAiC ambassadors with their communication products."

More about the MOSAiC school can be found on the APECS website.
Follow @polarprediction on Instagram and Twitter, to find out about Thea’s and Thomas’ adventurous time with the MOSAiC School.