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Press releases

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.
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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.

Go to Press Release: Enormous Progress in Ocean Acidification Research

 

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.

Go to Press Release: Window into the past

 

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

 

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.

Go to press release: Has the puzzle of rapid climate change in the last ice age been solved?

 

15. August 2014: New study on climate history: Arctic sea ice influenced force of the Gulf Stream

The force of the Gulf Stream was significantly influenced by the sea ice situation in the Fram Strait in the past 30,000 years. Scientists at the Alfred Wegener Institute, Helmholtz Centre for Polar and Marine Research (AWI) come to this conclusion in a new study that appears today in the journal Earth and Planetary Science Letters. On the basis of biomarkers in deposits on the seafloor, the geologists involved managed for the first time to reconstruct when and how the marine region between Greenland and Svalbard was covered with ice in the past and in what way the Gulf Stream reacted when the sea ice cover suddenly broke up. They concluded that when large amounts of Arctic ice drifted through the Fram Strait to the North Atlantic, the heat transport of the Gulf Stream declined noticeably.

Go to press release: Arctic sea ice influenced force of the Gulf Stream

 

6. August 2014: “80 questions about the southern tip of the world” – The international Antarctic community formulates tomorrow’s challenges to research

Appearing online today in the scientific journal Nature is a forward-looking article by 75 leading Antarctic researchers and science managers from 22 countries. The so-called “SCAR Horizon Scan” catalogues the 80 most pressing questions to be pursued during the next 20 years of research in the Antarctic and the Southern Ocean. In this interdisciplinary exchange of ideas, three scientists from the Alfred Wegener Institute, Helmholtz Centre for Polar and Marine Research contributed to working out the topics that now establish the thrust of Antarctic research.

Go to Press Release: 80 questions about the southern tip of the world

 

5. August 2014: Megascale icebergs run aground: Finding the deepest iceberg scours to date provides new insights into the Arctic’s glacial past

Scientists from the Alfred Wegener Institute, Helmholtz Centre for Polar and Marine Research (AWI), have found between Greenland and Spitsbergen the scours left behind on the sea bed by gigantic icebergs. The five lineaments, at a depth of 1,200 metres, are the lowest-lying iceberg scours yet to be found on the Arctic sea floor. This finding provides new understanding of the dynamics of the Ice Age and the extent of the Arctic ice sheet thousands of years ago. In addition, the researchers could draw conclusions about the export of fresh water from the Arctic into the North Atlantic. The AWI scientists have published their findings in the online portal of the scientific journal Geophysical Research Letters.

Go to press release: Megascale icebergs run aground

 

 
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AWI Fact sheets

Fact Sheets on three IPCC themes AWI is working on: Sea Ice, Climate change and Ice Sheet - available in german language only: 

Fact Sheets