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The Expedition ANT-XXIX/2

Weekly Reports


10 December 2012: Stormy times travelling south

17 December 2012: About birds and whales

4 January 2013: The Forces of Nature and Christmas Holidays

7 January 2013: Welcoming 2013

14 January 2013: Time for composure



30. November 2012 – 18 January 2013, Cape Town – Punta Arenas


Three days after departure, the scientific work of RV Polarstern’s Antarctic expedition ANT XXIX/2 will commence by deploying ocean bottom seismometers at an amagmatic spreading segment of the Southwest-Indian Ridge. The instruments will remain at the sea floor for approximately one year to gather information about the active tectonic and magmatic processes of ultra-slow spreading areas of the oceanic crust.


Farther south, between 55°S and the Antarctic continental shelf, as well as across the Weddell Sea from Cape Norvegia to Elephant Island, oceanographic measurements aim at elucidating the role of the Southern Ocean in the global climate system. To this end, temperature, salinity and ocean currents will be measured en route, profiling Argo floats will be launched, and moorings capable of collecting multi-year long datasets will be deployed at key locations. Our research continues three decades of dedicated measurements by the Alfred-Wegener-Institute, which now allows studying climatic changes even in this remote part of the world ocean.


The dependence of the distribution and density of birds and marine mammals on hydrologic factors will be studied by collecting transect counts of top predators. In addition to classical observers, an automatic whale blow detection system developed at the AWI will be employed for this task. Additional data on marine mammal presence will be collected by passive hydroacoustic recorders, which are integrated into the oceanographic moorings mentioned above.


On 21 December, research activities will be interrupted for a few days to resupply the German Neumayer III station for the next winter season. The expedition will end in Punta Arenas on 18 January 2013.


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Chief Scientist

Dr. Olaf Boebel