Marginal Ice Zone Experiment

Project Description
Marginal Ice Zone Experiment (MIZEX) was an multi-national project
that actually began in the summer of 1983. It was the most extensive
research project ever undertaken to study the ice, water and air
conditions in the arctic sea between Svalbard and Greenland. The
project which eventually had over 100 researchers, was headed by
Norwegian Oceanographer Ola M. Johannessen.

The drift ice that forms between Greenland and Svalbard, which forms
an almost continuous sheet, had been a mystery for many years and
always presented challenges to Arctic researchers. They sought to
seek the infulence of the huge air masses on the weather systems of
the Northern hemisphere.

MIZEX gained the scientists valuable information on the way ice is
affected by winds, current, waves and movement. Tests were done on
the thickness and toughness of the ice, as well as experiments to show
what happens when the drift ice comes up against the warmer waters of
the Atlantic Ocean.

On its first year of the expedition, it was predicted to spend nearly
Ŭ million (U.S.), an amount which was to be expanded to
Ű million by 1984. Ice measurements were to be taken up until
1990, where in the latter stages of the project, satellite photographs
were to be taken of the ice pack. While the project was ongoing, four
remote-analysis aircraft measured the movements of the ice in specific
areas; transmitting the data to the telemetry station at Troms?, which
transmitted the data back to the researchers on the ice.