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World Ends, Global Warming Research Hardest Hit: Coronavirus impact – climate ‘research budgets could take a hit’

Coronavirus Already Hindering Climate Science, But the Worst Disruptions Are Likely Yet to Come


Along with temporarily reducing greenhouse gas emissions and forcing climate activists to rethink how to sustain a movement built on street protests, the global response to the coronavirus pandemic is also disrupting climate science.

Many research missions and conferences scheduled for the next few months have been canceled, while the work of scientists already in the field has been complicated by travel restrictions, quarantines and other efforts to protect field researchers and remote indigenous populations from the pandemic.

The field research season in Greenland and the Arctic, which normally starts ramping up this time of year, has been particularly hard hit. Last week, leaders of MOSAiC, the largest polar research expedition in history, were forced to cancel research flights scheduled for the coming month after Norway imposed travel restrictions that could have quarantined the flights’ crews and prevented them from using airfields in the Arctic islands of Svalbard. Border closures are also hindering scheduled rotations of scientists on and off the expedition’s centerpiece, a research icebreaker that has been frozen into the Arctic sea ice near the North Pole for six months and will be drifting with it for six more.