26. January 2015: Prof Karen Wiltshire to become the new Chair of the international oceanographic research organisation POGO
On next Tuesday, 27 January 2015, Prof Karen Wiltshire will assume the office of Chair for the oceanographic research organisation POGO. During her upcoming one-year term of office the Vice-Director of the Alfred Wegener Institute, Helmholtz Centre for Polar and Marine Research (AWI), plans to promote the formation of partnerships between research ships in the Atlantic, and to improve the networking of researchers who use long-term data. Further, she hopes to encourage scientists to take on a more proactive role in the establishment of marine protected areas.
26. January 2015: Winters in Siberian permafrost regions have warmed since millennia
For the first time, researchers at the Alfred Wegener Institute, Helmholtz Centre for Polar and Marine Research (AWI) have successfully employed a geochemical method used in glacier research to decode climate data from millennia-old permafrost ground ice and reconstruct the development of winter temperatures in Russia’s Lena River Delta. Their conclusions: Over the past 7,000 years, winter temperatures in the Siberian permafrost regions have gradually risen. The researchers claim that this is due to the changing position of the Earth relative to the sun and is amplified by the rising greenhouse-gas emissions since the dawn of industrialisation. The study will be published as the cover story of the upcoming February issue of the scientific journal Nature Geoscience.
17. January 2015: The Antarctic: Ten Years of the “Library in the Ice” Celebrating the anniversary of an art project that offers one of the most extraordinary collections of books in the world
Germany’s southernmost library can be found at 70°40´S, 08°16´W and has endured in one of our planet’s most inhospitable regions for ten years now. In the 2004/2005 summer in the southern hemisphere, the Cologne-based artist Lutz Fritsch erected the “Library in the Ice” on the Antarctic Ekström Ice Shelf – to create a space for interaction between science and culture in the far reaches of the “white continent”. Ever since, the library container and its collection of books have been fixtures at the Neumayer Station, a research station operated by the Alfred Wegener Institute, Helmholtz Centre for Polar and Marine Research (AWI).
6. January 2015: Research icebreaker Polarstern returns from the Antarctic prematurely
The German research icebreaker Polarstern will end its current expedition to the Antarctic earlier than planned. Due to hydraulic problems in the port engine, the ship will return to Bremerhaven for repairs in mid-March.
19. December 2014: Cool deep-water protects coral reefs against heat stress
Cool currents from the deep ocean could save tropical corals from lethal heat stress. Researchers from Alfred Wegener Institute, Helmholtz Centre for Polar and Marine Research, GEOMAR Helmholtz Centre for Ocean Research Kiel and Phuket Marine Biological Center observed internal waves preserving corals in the Andaman Sea. Because satellites do not detect these small-scale phenomena, local measurements are crucial for the establishment and monitoring of protected areas, the scientists point out in the January issue of the "Proceedings of the Royal Society B".
18. December 2014: Microplastics in the ocean: biologists study effects on marine animals
Ingestion of microplastic particles does not mechanically affect marine isopods. This was the result of a study by biologists at the North Sea Office of the Alfred Wegener Institute, Helmholtz Centre for Polar and Marine Research (AWI) that was published recently in the journal “Environmental Science and Technology”. The study marks the launch of a series of investigations aimed at forming a risk matrix on the sensitivity of different marine species to microplastic pollution.
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.