22. July 2014: Milestone on the way to construction of new vessel as successor to research icebreaker Polarstern: Reederei F. Laeisz as partner
This spring Reederei F. Laeisz G.m.b.H. received the contract award for consulting services concerning design and construction of a future German research icebreaker. Today, Tuesday, 22 July 2014, representatives of the shipping company and the Alfred Wegener Institute additionally signed a contract for ship management in Bremerhaven.
16. July 2014: Surprising climate balance: In the long term lakes in permafrost areas have sequestered more greenhouse gas from the atmosphere than they released during their formation
Since the last glacial period so-called thermokarst lakes in Arctic permafrost areas have sequestered more greenhouse gases from the atmosphere than they ever previously emitted during their formation. An international team of scientists presents this surprising research result today in an online publication by the journal Nature. The researchers had examined up to 10,000-year-old soil deposits from northern Siberian lakes and calculated for the first time the total carbon balance for several hundred thousand bodies of water.
26. June 2014: The simpler, the more heat-resistant – scientists uncover the key to adaptation limits of ocean dwellers
The simpler a marine organism is structured, the better it is suited for survival during climate change. Scientists of the Alfred Wegener Institute, Helmholtz Centre for Polar and Marine Research, discovered this in a new meta-study, which appears today in the research journal Global Change Biology. For the first time biologists studied the relationship between the complexity of life forms and the ultimate limits of their adaptation to a warmer climate. While unicellular bacteria and archaea are able to live even in hot, oxygen-deficient water, marine creatures with a more complex structure, such as animals and plants, reach their growth limits at a water temperature of 41 degrees Celsius. This temperature threshold seems to be insurmountable for their highly developed metabolic systems.
23. June 2014: Opening of Exhibition on 26 June: Oceans - Expedition to Uncharted Depths
Gentoo penguins glide over the water almost like dancers. Just beneath them filigree jellyfish float through rays of light and manta rays glide past majestically. The viperfish appears eerily and with enormous fangs in the depths. Nature photographer Solvin Zankl from Kiel (Germany) has photographed them all. For years he has been travelling around the world, taking a closer look at islands, coasts and the open sea to document the dwellers of the oceans in all their splendour.
19. June 2014: New discoveries on seafloor – AWI scientists name previously unknown underwater mountains after Nelson Mandela and a figure out of the novel “The 13½ Lives of Captain Bluebear”
As of today, the names of two previously unknown underwater mountains will appear on the nautical charts of the South Atlantic and the Weddell Sea: “Madiba Seamount” and “Nachtigaller Shoal”. In selecting the names at its conference in Monaco this year, the Sub-Committee on Undersea Feature Names (SCUFN) followed the proposals of two scientists at the Alfred Wegener Institute, Helmholtz Centre for Polar and Marine Research. They had discovered the mountains on Polarstern expeditions to Antarctica last year. The designation signifies official exploration of a further section of the seafloor.
5. June 2014: Research Vessel Polarstern setting out for the Arctic - Focusing on changes in the ice cover, ocean currents and effects on the marine biota
On Friday evening, June 6, 2014, RV Polarstern will set sail for the Arctic Ocean. 52 scientific expedition participants, dispatched by institutions in five countries, and a crew of 43 are going to start for the four-weeks expedition. The destination is the Fram Strait, in the waters between Greenland and Spitsbergen. This strait forms the only deep gateway between the Arctic Ocean and the North Atlantic. The researchers will be examining longer-term physical, oceanographic, chemical and biological changes, reaching from the atmosphere to the depths of the ocean.
28. May 2014: New study shows that unstable Antarctic Ice Sheet led to rapid sea-level rise in the past
At the end of the last glacial period, the Antarctic Ice Sheet lost a large amount of ice within a very short timespan. This led to a rapid global sea level rise of several metres. An international research team came to this conclusion in a study published in the latest edition of the scientific journal Nature. The joint project of geologists and climate scientists has shown that an unstable Antarctic ice sheet could precipitously change the climate of the Southern Hemisphere. At the same time it provides important evidence of how current climate change may affect the ice masses over the South Pole.
1. May 2014: Are there no European waters free of litter? A new study shows that all of Europe’s deep seas investigated are polluted with litter
An international team of researchers has, for the first time ever, conducted a wide-ranging survey of litter in European waters and has found traces of waste in every region – from coastal areas all the way down to deep canyons. The results of this survey appeared on May 1 in PLOS ONE, a peer-reviewed, online journal. How this litter affects marine life and, ultimately, human beings, is largely unknown to date.
9. April 2014: Research vessel Polarstern returns home after one and a half years in the Antarctic
After one and a half years in the Antarctic the research vessel Polarstern is expected back in its home port on 13 April. Apart from the crew and scientists on board, there are lots of data, samples and animals from the Southern Ocean that will soon be examined more closely in the laboratories of the Alfred Wegener Institute, Helmholtz Centre for Polar and Marine Research (AWI). They stem from the area of the Filchner-Ronne Ice Shelf in the very south of the Weddell Sea, where scientists conducted research on sea ice, oceanic currents and the biocoenoses on the last Antarctic cruise leg of the expedition.
8. April 2014: AWI researchers decipher climate paradox from the Miocene: growth of Antarctic ice sheet triggered warming in the Southern Ocean
Scientists of the Alfred Wegener Institute, Helmholtz Centre for Polar and Marine Research (AWI), have deciphered a supposed climate paradox from the Miocene era by means of complex model simulations. When the Antarctic ice sheet grew to its present-day size around 14 million years ago, it did not get colder everywhere on the Earth, but there were regions that became warmer. A physical contradiction?