Arctic Team Looking for Global Warming Not Only Ice-Locked, But Now Have Coronavirus

A team of researchers in the arctic that have been looking for signs of global warming are now ice-locked and can’t get out of port. Not only that, but now they have coronavirus!

The expedition called MOSAiC stationed in the Arctic has been stuck in place by “unexpected” amounts of ice. But now the airborn arm of the research team is grounded for another reason.

One of its members just tested positive for COVID-19. And now the whole team has been quarantined over concerns about the virus, Nature reported.

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About 20 members of the aircraft team who had been in contact with the person are now quarantined in their homes under the direction of the German health agencies, says MOSAiC chief scientist Markus Rex, an atmospheric scientist at the Alfred Wegener Institute Helmholtz Centre for Polar and Marine Research in Potsdam, Germany. The mission is delayed until the quarantine is lifted.

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MOSAiC, or Multidisciplinary Drifting Observatory for the Study of Arctic Climate, is a cooperative project with researchers from 20 countries. Its goal is to study the effects of global warming on the Arctic, a region the MOSAiC researchers call the “climate kitchen” owing to the Arctic’s sensitivity to global warming.

But MOSAiC’s German icebreaker, named Polarstern, has been locked in ice since October of last year.

In any case the aerial team is now quarantined in their quarters as doctors monitor their conditions.

As Nature adds:

To minimize the risk of exposure to the coronavirus, all team members who are scheduled to join MOSAiC…are tested for coronavirus before departing their homes for Svalbard, Norway, from where they leave for the ship. There, they are tested a second time before they are allowed to depart. The infected individual had been at a workshop in Bremerhaven on 5 March with other aircraft members; the first round of testing was done as part of this meeting.

Still, it is amusing that an Arctic expedition hoping to find global warming has been locked in ice and unable to go anywhere since October.

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