Yearlong Arctic mission to study climate change takes three-week pause due to pandemic

Yearlong Arctic mission to study climate change takes three-week pause due to pandemic
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A German research institute leading a yearlong expedition to the Arctic said it will need to take a three-week hiatus due to the coronavirus pandemic.

The Alfred Wegener Institute for Polar and Ocean Research announced Friday that the RV Polarstern, the mission's ship, will travel from its position in the high Arctic next month to meet up with two German vessels to obtain supplies. The detour is necessary due to travel restrictions imposed by Norway and Russia that prohibited previous resupply plans, The Associated Press reported.

The expedition's leader told the newswire he's just glad the project, which began in September, is able to continue despite the pandemic.

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“For a long time it was on a knife-edge and there was even a possibility that the expedition might have to be broken off,” said Markus Rex. "In view of the massive challenge caused by the global pandemic, we’re very glad that we can do this."

Scientists on the expedition will study the impact of climate change on the Arctic.

The expedition involves more than 100 scientists from around the world, including the U.S., and costs $158 million.

Aircraft arrived from Canada on Wednesday to pick up seven team members who needed to return to their home countries.