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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

 

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.

Go to Press Release: Milestone on the way to construction of new vessel

 

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.

Go to Press Release: Surprising climate balance

 

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.

Go To Press Release: The simpler, the more heat-resistant

 

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.

Go to Press Release: Opening of Exhibition on 26 June

 

 
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