Here you can find the press releases of the Alfred Wegener Institute. Please note, that the images contained in the press releases are for use in connection with the press release, exclusively. For any other usage, please contact our communications department.
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.
24. October 2014: The floating university – graduate school uses Polarstern cruise to Antarctic for training
The expedition on the research vessel Polarstern starting on Saturday, 25 October 2014 focuses on training early-stage researchers. On board, 22 PhD and Master's students will learn how to use hydroacoustic measuring methods under real-life conditions. The participants come from international courses at the University of Bremen and the POLMAR graduate school at the Alfred Wegener Institute, Helmholtz Centre for Polar and Marine Research (AWI).
13. October 2014: The great makeover begins: AWI is building new long-term observatory for Arctic Ocean observations
Scientists and engineers of the Alfred Wegener Institute, Helmholtz Centre for Polar and Marine Research (AWI) are currently starting work on a long-term observatory with observation stations from the Norwegian Sea to the Arctic Ocean. In the coming years, the AWI researchers intend to upgrade their existing long-term observatories along this key climatological interface into a comprehensive research infrastructure and deploy a wide range of modern marine technologies. The overriding objective is to be able to observe the changes in the ocean and its ecosystems from the surface to the deep sea with the aid of the new FRAM observatory.
8. October 2014: Enormous Progress in Ocean Acidification Research: New Report Summarises Current State of Knowledge
Never before have so many scientists conducted research on what impacts the declining pH value of seawater has on animals and plants in the ocean. The experts have now compiled their results for the second report on ocean acidification of the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD), which will be launched today at the twelfth conference of the Parties to the Convention. Major focus is placed on the consequences that also have an effect on us human beings. By means of this summary, the CBD wants to put the problem of the acidifying oceans on the international political agenda.
7. October 2014: Window into the past: researchers on board Polarstern find ancient sediments on the seafloor of the Arctic
An international team of scientists headed by the Alfred Wegener Institute, Helmholtz Centre for Polar and Marine Research (AWI) opened a new window into the past of the Arctic Ocean during the now ending summer expedition of the research vessel Polarstern. Along steep slide scars on Lomonosov Ridge the scientists discovered considerably hardened sediments that are presumably ten or perhaps even 30 to 40 million years old and will provide the researchers new insights into the climate history of the Arctic Ocean.
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.
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.
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.
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.
19. August 2014: Has the puzzle of rapid climate change in the last ice age been solved? New report published in Nature shows that small variations in the climate system can result in dramatic temperature changes
Over the past one hundred thousand years cold temperatures largely prevailed over the planet in what is known as the last ice age. However, the cold period was repeatedly interrupted by much warmer climate conditions. Scientists have long attempted to find out why these drastic temperature jumps of up to ten degrees took place in the far northern latitudes within just a few decades. Now, for the first time, a group of researchers at the Alfred Wegener Institute, Helmholtz Centre for Polar and Marine Research (AWI), have been able to reconstruct these climate changes during the last ice age using a series of model simulations. The surprising finding is that minor variations in the ice sheet size can be sufficient to trigger abrupt climate changes. The new study was published online in the scientific journal Nature last week and will be appearing in the 21 August print issue.