What are the consequences of the dramatic loss of summer sea-ice for Arctic climate? Will the ice continue to disappear at an ever-increasing rate as the exposed ocean surface absorbs increasing amounts of solar radiation? Or might conditions become progressively more favourable for biological activity and associated cloud-formation, decreasing the amount of solar-radiation received at the surface? How might the Arctic climate change on interannual and inter-decadal time scales and quite how sensitive is it to anthropogenic climate change? These are key questions that the Microbiology-Ocean-Cloud-Coupling in the High Arctic (MOCCHA) project will strive to answer.
To do so, we will conduct unique measurements during a planned research cruise to the high Arctic in summer 2018 aboard the Swedish icebreaker (I/B) Oden. During the cruise, which will take place throughout the most active period biologically and into the autumn freeze-up (mid July to September), I/B Oden will drift passively whilst moored to an ice floe. This approach will allow us to utilise a number of innovative techniques and novel measurement approaches and the project will involve contributions from across many fields in the natural sciences.