The Ross Sea is known for showing the greatest sea-ice increase, as observed globally, particularly from 1979 to 2015. However, corresponding changes in sea-ice thickness and production in the Ross Sea are not known, nor how these changes have impacted water masses, carbon fluxes, biogeochemical processes and availability of micronutrients. The PIPERS project sought to address these questions during an autumn ship campaign in 2017 and two spring airborne campaigns in 2016 and 2017. PIPERS used a multidisciplinary approach of manned and autonomous platforms to study the coupled air/ice/ocean/biogeochemical interactions during autumn and related those to spring conditions. Unexpectedly, the Ross Sea experienced record low sea ice in spring 2016 and autumn 2017. The delayed ice advance in 2017 contributed to (1) increased ice production and export in coastal polynyas, (2) thinner snow and ice cover in the central pack, (3) lower sea-ice Chl-a burdens and differences in sympagic communities, (4) sustained ocean heat flux delaying ice thickening and (5) a melting, anomalously southward ice edge persisting into winter. Despite these impacts, airborne observations in spring 2017 suggest that winter ice production over the continental shelf was likely not anomalous.