Developing a Process-Level Understanding

The Arctic sea-ice is changing dramatically, with rapid declines in summer sea-ice extent and a shift toward relatively more first year ice and less multi-year ice. Ultimately sea-ice decline is linked to broader global climate change, but at a regional scale many interdependent processes and feedbacks within the atmosphere, ocean, and sea-ice contribute to the broader observed changes.

The primary objective of MOSAiC is to develop a better understanding of these important coupled-system processes so they can be more accurately represented in regional- and global-scale models. Such enhancements will contribute to improved modeling of global climate and weather, and Arctic sea-ice predictive capabilities.

Guiding Science Questions

What are the causes and consequences of an evolving and diminished Arctic sea ice cover?

  1. What are the seasonally-varying energy sources, mixing processes, and interfacial fluxes that affect the heat and momentum budgets of sea ice?

  2. How does sea ice move and deform over its first year of existence?

  3. Which processes contribute to the formation, properties, precipitation, and maintenance of Arctic clouds and their interactions with aerosols and boundary-layer structure?

  4. How do interfacial exchange rates, biology, and chemistry  couple to regulate ecosystems and the major elemental cycles in the high Arctic sea ice?

  5. How do ongoing changes in the Arctic ice-ocean-atmosphere system impact larger-scale heat and mass transfers of importance to climate and ecosystems?