World Press Photo 2020

Environment Singles Winner

The Arctic harbours some of the fastest-retreating sea ice on the planet and has twice the average global heating rate. This will strongly affect the global climate in terms of increasing temperatures and sea-level rise, yet Arctic climate system processes are poorly represented in climate models. This is because until now, scientific missions have not been able to penetrate the region during the six-month-long night of the Arctic winter.

The Polarstern is the central ship of an expedition run by the Multidisciplinary drifting Observatory for the Study of Arctic Climate (MOSAiC), especially designed to withstand extremely low temperatures and break through thicker ice, enabling around 100 researchers and crew members to work all year round. MOSAiC data on the atmosphere, ocean, sea ice, ecosystem and biogeochemistry will be fed into global climate models.


A polar bear and her cub coming close to equipment placed by scientists from Polarstern, a ship that is part of a scientific expedition investigating the consequences of Arctic climate change, in the central Arctic Ocean, on Oct 10, 2019. PHOTO: © ESTHER HORVATH, HUNGARY, FOR THE NEW YORK TIMES