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.


Press Releases

24. September 2014: Premiere in mudflats: first scholarship holders celebrate their graduation from the Centre of Excellence in Observational Oceanography at the Alfred Wegener Institute

For the first time ten young marine scientists will celebrate their graduation from the Centre of Excellence in Observational Oceanography, a scholarship programme of the Japanese Nippon Foundation and the Partnership for Observation of the Global Oceans (POGO). The scholarship holders from Africa, Asia, South America and the Caribbean were guests at AWI’s island locations on Helgoland and Sylt for ten months to continue their education in various fields of the marine sciences. Three of them will subsequently do their doctorate in Europe. The other seven will go back home to apply and pass on their newly acquired knowledge.

To Press Release: Premiere in mudflats


16. September 2014: Current Sea Ice Situation: Ongoing Retreat in the Arctic, new maximum in the Antarctic

The area of sea ice in the Arctic fell to a summer minimum of around 5.0 million square kilometers this year, which is about 1.6 million square kilometers more than the record low in 2012. However, according to sea ice physicist Marcel Nicolaus from the Alfred Wegener Institute (AWI) and Lars Kaleschke from the Hamburg Cluster of Excellence for Climate Research (CliSAP) this confirms the long-term downward trend in the Arctic. On the other hand, the winter ice sheet in the South Polar Ocean has expanded to an area of 20.0 million square kilometers, as the researchers report, which exceeds the 30-year-maximum from the previous year.

Go to press release: Current Sea Ice Situation: Ongoing Retreat in the Arctic, new maximum in the Antarctic


26. August 2014: Greenhouse Gases in the Southern Ocean: First Evidence of Active Methane Emission at the Antarctic Seafloor

During an expedition with the German research vessel Polarstern off the sub-Antarctic island of South Georgia, an international team of scientists discovered more than 130 active methane seeps at the seafloor. According to chief scientist and MARUM researcher Gerhard Bohrmann, this is the first report of greenhouse gases seeping out of the seabed in the Southern Ocean. The finding was recently published in the Earth and Planetary Science Letters.

Go to press release: Greenhouse Gases in the Southern Ocean


20. August 2014: Record decline of ice sheets: For the first time scientists map elevation changes of Greenlandic and Antarctic glaciers

Researchers from the Alfred Wegener Institute, Helmholtz Centre for Polar and Marine Research (AWI) have for the first time extensively mapped Greenland’s and Antarctica’s ice sheets with the help of the ESA satellite CryoSat-2 and have thus been able to prove that the ice crusts of both regions momentarily decline at an unprecedented rate. In total the ice sheets are losing around 500 cubic kilometres of ice per year. This ice mass corresponds to a layer that is about 600 metres thick and would stretch out over the entire metropolitan area of Hamburg.

Go to press release: Record decline of ice sheets


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