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.
20. November 2014: Permafrost soil is possible source of abrupt rise in greenhouse gases at end of last ice age
Scientists from the Alfred Wegener Institute, Helmholtz Centre for Polar and Marine Research (AWI) have identified a possible source of carbon dioxide (CO2) and other greenhouse gases that were abruptly released to the atmosphere in large quantities around 14,600 years ago. According to this new interpretation, the CO2 – released during the onset of the Bølling/Allerød warm period – presumably had their origin in thawing Arctic permafrost soil and amplified the initial warming through positive feedback. The study now appears online in the journal Nature Communications.
10. November 2014: How variable are ocean temperatures?
The earth’s climate appears to have been more variable over the past 7,000 years than often thought. A new study forthcoming online this week in the U.S. scientific journal “Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences” (PNAS) shows significant differences between climate archives and climate models.
10. November 2014: New study reveals: Iron fertilization of the Southern Ocean might be less efficient for deep-ocean carbon dioxide storage than previously thought
A new study performed by a team of international scientists reveals that a complex ecosystem response to iron fertilization in the Southern Ocean might reduce the efficiency of biological carbon pump in transporting carbon dioxide into the deep ocean. Lead author Dr. Ian Salter from the Alfred Wegener Institute, Helmholtz Centre for Polar and Marine Research (AWI), and a team of international collaborators, discovered that iron fertilization significantly promotes the growth of shelled organisms that feed on phytoplankton. These organisms produce carbon dioxide when building their calcareous shells. In a naturally iron-fertilized system in the Southern Ocean the growth and sinking of these shelled grazers reduces deep-ocean storage of carbon dioxide by up to 30 per cent.
30. October 2014: Pilot study reveals new findings about microplastics in wastewater
Treatment plants cannot completely keep microplastics out of wastewater by conventional means. This is one of the results of a pilot study commissioned by the regional water association of Oldenburg and Ostfriesland, Germany (OOWV – Oldenburg-Ostfriesischer Wasserverband) and the Lower Saxony Water Management, Coastal Defence and Nature Conservation Agency (NLWKN - Niedersächsischer Landesbetrieb für Wasserwirtschaft, Küsten- und Naturschutz). The findings will be used to better protect flora and fauna in rivers and seas.