The Alfred Wegener Institute carries out research in the Arctic and Antarctic as well as in the high and mid latitude oceans. The institute coordinates German polar research and makes available to national and international science important infrastructure, e.g. the research icebreaker “Polarstern” and research stations in the Arctic and Antarctic.


 

Focus on

Ocean acidification – the evil twin of climate warming

Around half of the carbon dioxide volume discharged into the atmosphere through exhaust pipes and chimney stacks over the past two hundred years has been absorbed by the oceans - but not without consequence. The carbon dioxide dissolves in the water, creating carbonic acid. This reduces the pH value of the seawater and makes the oceans more acidic. You will learn here about the consequences this has on the inhabitants of the oceans and on humans and how scientists of the Alfred Wegener Institute are researching this subject area.


 
 

Press Releases

9. April 2014: Research vessel Polarstern returns home after one and a half years in the Antarctic

After one and a half years in the Antarctic the research vessel Polarstern is expected back in its home port on 13 April. Apart from the crew and scientists on board, there are lots of data, samples and animals from the Southern Ocean that will soon be examined more closely in the laboratories of the Alfred Wegener Institute, Helmholtz Centre for Polar and Marine Research (AWI). They stem from the area of the Filchner-Ronne Ice Shelf in the very south of the Weddell Sea, where scientists conducted research on sea ice, oceanic currents and the biocoenoses on the last Antarctic cruise leg of the expedition.

Go to Press Release: RV Polarstern returns home

 

8. April 2014: AWI researchers decipher climate paradox from the Miocene: growth of Antarctic ice sheet triggered warming in the Southern Ocean

Scientists of the Alfred Wegener Institute, Helmholtz Centre for Polar and Marine Research (AWI), have deciphered a supposed climate paradox from the Miocene era by means of complex model simulations. When the Antarctic ice sheet grew to its present-day size around 14 million years ago, it did not get colder everywhere on the Earth, but there were regions that became warmer. A physical contradiction?

Go to Press Release: AWI researchers decipher climate paradox from the Miocene

 

3. April 2014: “Like a giant elevator to the stratosphere”

An international team of researchers headed by Potsdam scientist Dr. Markus Rex from the Alfred Wegener Institute has discovered a previously unknown atmospheric phenomenon over the South Seas. Over the tropical West Pacific there is a natural, invisible hole extending over several thousand kilometres in a layer that prevents transport of most of the natural and manmade substances into the stratosphere by virtue of its chemical composition. Like in a giant elevator, many chemical compounds emitted at the ground pass thus unfiltered through this so-called “detergent layer” of the atmosphere. The newly discovered phenomenon over the South Seas boosts ozone depletion in the polar regions and could have a significant influence on the future climate of the Earth.

Go to Press Release: Like a giant elevator to the stratosphere

 

24. March 2014: Climate change: Earth warming already leads to significant changes in oceans

The current and projected climate change is altering living conditions in the oceans faster than during comparable events in the past 65 million years. This is the conclusion drawn by AWI biologist Prof. Dr. Hans-Otto Pörtner, who will take part in the coordination phase for the second part of the Fifth Assessment Report on climate change in Yokohama, Japan starting tomorrow. The expert from the Alfred Wegener Institute, Helmholtz Centre for Polar and Marine Research (AWI), jointly headed the work on the chapter “Ocean Systems” together with his American colleague David Karl. It summarises the knowledge regarding the already observed and future consequences of climate change for life in the oceans.

Go to Press Release: Climate change: Earth warming already leads to significant changes in oceans

 

 
Printversion of this page
PDF-Version of this page