The Greatest Polar Expedition of All Time: The Arctic Mission to the Epicenter of Climate Change

Greystone. May 2022. 296p. ISBN 9781771649483. $28.95. SCI
Rex (atmospheric research, Univ. of Potsdam) writes a fascinating account of MOSAiC, the world’s largest Arctic expedition—the culmination of a decades-long international collaboration to put scientists in the Arctic for a full year and collect data during polar winter for the first time ever. The idea was to deliberately trap a ship within an ice floe to float with the Arctic ice and gather year-round measurements about the impact of climate change at the poles. Led by Rex, MOSAiC’s Polarstern icebreaker set sail in mid-2019 with high hopes, but potential disaster loomed on the horizon. Rex’s expedition diary catalogues the day-by-day events of the entire undertaking. Between diary entries there are diversionary essays on all aspects of the Arctic (polar bears; types of ice; how an icebreaker works) to help readers understand this environment. The format mirrors memorable 19th-century expedition diaries (e.g., Fridtjof Nansen’s account of an attempt to reach the North Pole; or the survey of the Pacific Ocean by the United States Exploring Expedition)—first-person accounts combining science with sentiment.
VERDICT For those who like reading about the North Pole or oceanic expeditions in general, this is a title that should not be missed.
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