Printversion of this page
PDF-Version of this page

 

27. October 2006: Alfred-Wegener-Institut verabschiedet langjährigen Verwaltungsdirektor

Printable Images

Dr. Rainer Paulenz

Dr. Rainer Paulenz in seinem Buero

webprint

 

Dr. Rainer Paulenz

de: Dr. Rainer Paulenz in seinem Buero

webprint

 

back to list

27. October 2006: Alfred-Wegener-Institut verabschiedet langjährigen Verwaltungsdirektor

Nach insgesamt 23 Dienstjahren verlässt am 31. Oktober 2006 Dr. Rainer Paulenz das Alfred-Wegener-Institut für Polar- und Meeresforschung in Bremerhaven. Er war seit 1983 Leiter der Verwaltung und seit 1991 Verwaltungsdirektor des Institutes. Ab November tritt er das Amt des Kulturdezernenten der Stadt Bremerhaven an.

 

Fast die gesamte Aufbauphase des Alfred-Wegener-Instituts hat Rainer Paulenz begleitet und durch sein Wirken geprägt. Wichtige Meilensteine in seiner Amtszeit sind der Neubau an der Columbusstraße von 1983 bis 1986, die Eingliederung des Instituts für Meeresforschung 1986 und die Anbindung der Biologischen Anstalt Helgoland1998. Weiterhin hat er federführend den Aufbau der Forschungsstationen in der Arktis und Antarktis sowie 1992 die Eingliederung der Forschungsstelle Potsdam in das Alfred-Wegener-Institut geleitet. „Wenn das Alfred-Wegener-Institut jetzt auf 25 Jahre seiner Geschichte zurückblicken kann, so sind das fast 25 Jahre gemeinsam mit Dr. Rainer Paulenz. Er hat Großartiges geleistet und das Institut ist ihm zu großem Dank verpflichtet“, so Prof. Dr. Jörn Thiede, Direktor des Alfred-Wegener-Instituts.

Die Vereinbarung von Familie und Beruf lag Paulenz immer besonders am Herzen. So entstand auf seine Initiative hin im Jahr 2001 eine ganztägige Betreuungseinrichtung für Mitarbeiterkinder bis drei Jahren am Alfred-Wegener-Institut. 2006 wurde das Alfred-Wegener-Institut mit dem Audit Beruf und Familie für seine familienfreundliche Politik ausgezeichnet. Eine weitere Idee von Paulenz war die Entwicklung und Umsetzung eines Konzeptes zur Förderung des naturwissenschaftlichen Unterrichts an Bremerhavener Schulen. Insbesondere das kürzlich mit dem NaT-Working-Preis der Robert Bosch Stiftung ausgezeichnete Schulprojekt HIGHSEA ist seiner Initiative zu verdanken.

Bremerhaven, den 27. Oktober 2006
Bitte senden Sie uns bei Veröffentlichung einen Beleg.

Hinweise für Redaktionen:
Ihr Ansprechpartner in der Presse- und Öffentlichkeitsarbeit ist Dr. Ude Cieluch (Tel: 0471 4831-2008; E-Mail: medien@awi-bremerhaven.de).

Printable Images

Dr. Rainer Paulenz

de: Dr. Rainer Paulenz in seinem Buero

webprint

 

Dr. Rainer Paulenz

Dr. Rainer Paulenz in seinem Buero

webprint

 

back to list

18. October 2006: Dem Klimawandel auf der Spur

Printable Images

ANDRILL1 w

Bohrturm auf dem Ross-Schelfeis in der Antarktis.

webprint

 

ANDRILL2 w

webprint

 

back to list

4. October 2006: Continued warming of the Arctic Ocean - Northernmost position of the new research vessel Maria S Merian

Northernmost position of the new research vessel Maria S Merian

 

Several days ago, the ‘Maria S Merian’ returned from her second Arctic expedition with data confirming trends of Arctic warming.

“Compared to last summer, the water that flows from the Norwegian Sea to the Arctic has been an average 0.8 degrees Celsius warmer this summer,” says expedition leader Dr Ursula Schauer of the Alfred Wegener Institute for Polar and Marine Research. “This is in addition to the last two years already having been warmer than the previous 20 from which we have regular measurements. Over the Yermak Plateau, an oceanic ridge, the oceanographers documented water of more than four degrees Celsius moving up to 81º 20’ northern latitude,” according to Schauer. During the expedition, biologists discovered zooplankton species from the Norwegian Sea which were previously unrecorded from the northern latitudes that they had reached via the warm waters.

 

For one month, scientists of the Alfred Wegener Institute, the University of Bremen and the Polish Institute of Oceanology were tracking warm waters along the sea ice margin between Greenland and Spitsbergen. As the sea ice margin was far north this year, the ‘Maria S Merian’ reached its northernmost position yet at 81º 20’N.
In Fram Strait, the scientists continued oceanographic and biological long-term studies that were initiated ten years ago. The climate change observed throughout the past ten years is particularly marked in the Arctic. Oceanographers are working towards a better understanding of the oceans’ role in this process. How much heat is transmitted to the Arctic by the northernmost subsidiary of the warm North Atlantic Current, and how much variation is found in this heat pump, are some of the open questions. For this purpose, the transport of warm, high salinity water from the Atlantic to the Arctic has been recorded in the strait between Greenland and Spitsbergen, using an elaborate fixture system.

 

Previous measurements have indicated the occurrence of several strong warm pulses during the past decade. Within the context of an international programme, a combination of this and similar data has, for the first time, enabled reconstruction of an Atlantic heat pulse through the Norwegian Sea and far into the inner Arctic over several years. In order to continue the time series, the scientists have collected the instruments deployed in Fram Strait and replaced them with new ones. The automated long-term recordings are verified and complemented with high resolution measurements of current water temperature.

DAMOCLES
The investigations are tied into a European research project directed at monitoring and modelling the Arctic for long-term studies (DAMOCLES – Developing Arctic Modelling and Observing Capabilities for Long-term Environmental Studies). Central to this project are the interactions of sea ice, atmosphere and ocean. One of the goals is consideration of the potential effects of the dramatically reduced sea ice cover on climate, and hence on environment and humans, both in a regional and global context. Additional information on DAMOCLES can be found on the internet:
www.damocles-eu.org/ie

Maria S. Merian
The ice margin research vessel ‘Maria S. Merian’ is owned by the state of Mecklenburg-Vorpommern, represented by the Baltic Sea Research Institute Warnemünde (http://www.io-warnemuende.de/miscell/merian/). The headquarters of the research vessel is located at the Institute of Oceanography (http://www.ifm.uni-hamburg.de/).
Bremerhaven, den 4. Oktober 2006

Please send us a copy of any published version of this document.

Suggestion for editors:
Your contact person is Dr Ursula Schauer (Tel: ++49-471-4831-1817, email: ursula.schauer@awi.de). Your contact person in the public relations department of the Alfred Wegener Institute is Dr Angelika Dummermuth (Tel: ++49-471-4831-1742, email: medien@awi.de). 

Printable Images

Arktis

Unterwegs im Arktischen Ozean
A buoy marking a mooring in the Arctic Ocean.

webprint

 

Maria S. Merian

The ice margin research vessel Maria S Merian reached its northernmost position.

webprint

 

Maria S. Merian

Scientific equipment on board of "Maria S Merian"

webprint

 

back to list

28. September 2006: HIGHSEA als bestes Netzwerk ausgezeichnet - NaT-Working: Naturwissenschaften und Technik – Schüler, Lehrer und Wissenschaftler vernetzen sich

Printable Images

Wiss Somm4 w

Der zweite Jahrgang des Schulprojekts HIGHSEA auf Expedition in der Arktis.

webprint

 

Nat-Working3 w

webprint

 

Nat-Working4 w

Dr Susanne Gatti (links) und Kerstin von Engeln (rechts), die Leiterinnen des Schulprojektes HIGHSEA am Alfred-Wegener-Institut.

webprint

 

Nat-Working5 w

webprint

 

Nat-Working3 w

webprint

 

back to list

21. September 2006: Mehr Platz für die Wissenschaft auf Helgoland

Printable Images

Aade vor Haus C auf Helgoland

de: Haus C der Helgoländer Meeresstation mit der "Aade"

webprint

 

Gebäude AB auf Helgoland

de: Die Gebäude A und B der BAH Helgoland

webprint

 

back to list

19. September 2006: Race against extinction

Are marine organisms able to adapt to ocean acidification?

 

An international group of researchers under leadership of the Alfred Wegener Institute for Polar and Marine Research demands a stronger consideration of evolutionary adaptations in predictive models. For shell-forming marine algae the scientists compared laboratory experiments with fossil collections. Coccolithophorids – unicellular planktonic algae of only a few thousandths of millimetres – developed malformations of their calcium carbonate skeleton when grown experimentally in seawater of varying acidity. In contrast, fossils of the same species dating back to periods of various carbon dioxide concentrations had intact skeletons. The researchers conclude that the organisms’ ability to adapt to changing environmental conditions is greater than previously acknowledged in prediction models.

 

Greenhouse gases in the oceans impede growth
Almost half of the carbon dioxide released through the burning of fossil fuels is re-absorbed in the oceans. This means that marine systems become increasingly acidic, impeding organisms in their formation of calcium carbonate skeletons. Over the past years, a reduced chance of survival through ocean acidification has already been detected for marine organisms such as corals and snails. Laboratory studies on minute marine algae, so-called Coccolithophories, now give similar results. “In our laboratory experiments, we demonstrated that one of the two species investigated produced less calcium carbonate with both reduced or increased carbon dioxide concentrations in seawater”, explains biologist Gerald Langer of the Alfred Wegener Institute. “In addition to reduced calcium carbonate production, the Coccolithophorids show malformations of their lime skeletons.”

Important pipsqueaks
Due to their high abundance, coccolithophorids are among the most significant primary producers in the world’s oceans and they are located at the basis of food chain. Occurring in enormous numbers, Coccolithophorids influence the global carbon cycle ,the global weather, and climate systems. The disappearance of these organisms following acidification of the oceans would have profound consequences.

Evolutionary race
However, extinction is not inevitable. This, researchers have concluded from rock deposits, such as the chalk cliffs of Rügen, consisting nearly 100 percent of fossil coccolithophores. “Some of the Coccolithophorids in the chalk cliffs were deposited under much elevated carbon dioxide concentrations in the ocean. Other than in our laboratory experiments, we did not find any construction abnormalities in the fossil calcium carbonate skeletons”, explains Markus Geisen of the Alfred Wegener Institute. “And also sediment cores from the past ice age – with lower carbon dioxide levels than today – show no skeletal deformations in the same species that we tested in the laboratory.”

 

From the scientists’ point of view, the discrepancy between laboratory tests and fossil records can be explained by the species’ evolutionary adaptability. Even without human influences, environmental conditions undergo continual changes. In order to escape extinctions, organisms must adapt to these changes. “In the past, Coccolithophorids have been able to adjust to changing carbon dioxide concentrations. Why should they not continue to do so in the future? However, they will need time”, comments Gerald Langer. In a next step, the researchers will address the question of how much time is needed for such adaptations in Coccolithophorids and other shelled marine organisms. The scientists already agree that evolutionary adaptations have not been sufficiently considered in predictions about the consequences of climate change.
Other than the Alfred Wegener Institute, scientists of the Leibniz Institute for Marine Sciences at the University of Kiel (IFM Geomar) and the Natural History Museum in London have contributed to the results of the studies that will be published shortly in the journal Geochemistry, Geophysics and Geosystems.

Bremerhaven, July 24, 2006

Please send us a copy of any published version of this document.

Suggestion for editors:
Your contact person is Gerald Langer (Tel.: ++49-471-4831-1829, email: glanger@awi-bremerhaven.de). Your contact person in the public relations department is Dr Angelika Dummermuth (Tel: ++49-471-4831-1742, email: medien@awi-bremerhaven.de).

Printable Images

Calcidiscus

Calcidiscus leptoporus

webprint

 

Calcidiscus

Calcidiscus leptoporus

webprint

 

Coccolithus

Coccolithus pelagicus

webprint

 

back to list

8. September 2006: Faszination Meeresforschung – ein ökologisches Lesebuch

Printable Images

Titel w

"Faszination Meeresforschung – ein ökologisches Meeresbuch", von Gotthilf Hempel, Irmtraud Hempel, Siegrid Schiel (Herausbegebr), 2006.

webprint

 

Fronti w

Papiernautilus (Argonatuta argo), Mitte: Steck- oder Seidenmuschel (Pinna rudis), unten: Europäische Auster (Ostrea edulis). Aus F.J. Bertuch: Bilderbuch für Kinder, Weimar 1801

webprint

 

S.28 w

Lebenszyklus mit saisonaler, ontogenetischer Vertikalwanderung des antarktischen Copepoden Calanoides acutus. Abb4. S 28 im Buch.

webprint

 

S.305 w

Rotfeuerfisch (Pterois mombasae).

webprint

 

back to list

7. September 2006: EISTAGE – Expeditionsmalerei an Bord von Polarstern

Printable Images

Riessbeck w

Der Maler Gerhard Rießbeck in seinem Atellier an Bord des eisbrechenden Forschungsschiffes Polarstern.

webprint

 

Riessbeck1 w

"Forscher mit Fahne", 2004/2005, Öl auf Leinwand, 200 x 200, von Gerhard Rießbeck

webprint

 

Riessbeck2 w

"Eis bei Nacht", 2006, Öl auf Leinwand, 90 x 250 cm, von Gerhard Rießbeck

webprint

 

back to list

22. August 2006: Tagung der deutschen Algenforscher auf Helgoland

Printable Images

Grünalgen auf Schlick

Das rasche Wachstum der Grünalgen auf dem Schlick des Sylter Königshafens wird durch Ermittlung des Bedeckungsgrades quantifiziert.

webprint

 

Algen

Algen bei Helgoland

webprint

 

Laminarien

Algen im Felswatt vor Helgoland.

webprint

 

back to list

18. August 2006: Bremerhavener Firmen mit dem Bau der neuen deutschen Antarktisstation beauftragt

Printable Images

Neumayer III

en: Visualization of the planned Neumayer-III antarctic research station

webprint

 

Handleine hochsetzen

Vor dem Sturm wird eine Handleine zur Schneeschmelze gespannt. Personen: NN, Hans-Peter Hennig, Harald Schartl

webprint

 

Fahrzeughalle auf der Neumayer-Station

de: Aussägen von Schnee im Verbindungsgang zur Fahrzeughalle, die Decke senkt sich langsam unter der Schneelast ab

webprint

 

Neumayer-Station

Von der jetzigen Neumayer-Station sind nur die Treppentürme und einige Installationen zu sehen – die Station selbst befindet sich unter dem Eis.

webprint

 

back to list

14. August 2006: Entschlüsselung von Genen für Kälteresistenz

Printable Images

Antarktische Kieselalge

Lichtmikroskopische Aufnahme der Kieselalge Fragilariopsis sp.

webprint

 

Antarktische Kieselalge

Elektronenmikroskopische Aufnahme der Kieselalge Fragilariopsis cyl.

webprint

 

Pfannkucheneis

Pfannkucheneis mit Eisalgen

webprint

 

back to list

28. July 2006: Cosmic Dust in Terrestrial Ice

 

For the last 30,000 years, our planet has been hit by a constant rain of cosmic dust particles. Two scientists from the Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory (LDEO) at Columbia University in New York and the Alfred-Wegener-Institut (AWI) for Polar and Marine Research in Bremerhaven, Germany, have reached this conclusion after investigating the amount of the helium isotope 3He in cosmic dust particles preserved in an Antarctic ice core over the last 30,000 years. They have shown that this rare helium isotope in cosmic dust exceeds that of terrestrial dust in ice by a factor of 5,000. Moreover, measurements of the amount of 4He – a helium isotope much more common on Earth – in the Antarctic ice strongly suggest a change of origins in terrestrial dust between the last Ice Age and the interglacial warm period we currently live in.

 

In the current issue of Science, the scientists from New York and Bremerhaven for the first time present chronologically resolved measurements of the 3He and 4He flux of interplanetary and terrestrial dust particles preserved in the snow of the Antarctic. According to current estimates, about 40,000 tons of extraterrestrial matter hit the Earth every year. “During its journey through interplanetary space, the cosmic dust is charged with helium atoms by the solar wind. At his point they are highly enriched with the rare helium isotope 3He,” explains Dr Hubertus Fischer, head of the research program “New keys to polar climate archives” at the Alfred Wegener Institute. “Cosmic dust particles in the size of a few micrometers enter the Earth’s atmosphere unharmed and carry their helium load unchanged to the Earth’s surface where they are, among other places, preserved in the snow and ice of the polar ice caps.” Due to the high temporal resolution uniquely to be found in ice cores, it has now been possible for the first time to determine the temporal variability of this helium flux between glacial and interglacial periods along with the 3He and 4He ratios of these exotic particles. The results are expected to have significant impact on interpretation of high-resolution climate archives, such as ice, marine and lake sediment cores.

 

This, however, is not all the helium isotope method has to offer. The ratio of 4He in terrestrial dust to the dust concentration itself reveals a marked difference between the last Ice Age and the current warm period. As . Gisela Winckler, head of the working group ‘Isotope Tracers and Constant Flux Proxies’ at L-DEO says, “the terrestrial dust coming down on Antarctica during the Ice Age obviously is not the same as that during warm periods. This may be due to the mineral dust originating from different regional sources or to changes in weathering, the process responsible for production of dust.” Both scientists now want to intensify their collaboration even further and investigate the details of this phenomenon.

 

EPICA
Data for this study have been collected within the European Project for Ice Coring in Antarctica (EPICA). As the German partner within EPICA, Alfred Wegener Institute is responsible for the Dronning Maud Land drilling operations. The EPICA project is carried out by a consortium of ten European countries (Belgium, Denmark, France, Germany, UK, Italy, the Netherlands, Norway, Sweden and Switzerland). Coordinated under the roof of the European Science Foundation (ESF), EPICA is funded by the participating countries and the European Union. The manuscript “30,000 Years of Cosmic Dust in Antarctic Ice” will be published in Science on July 28, 2006.

Bremerhaven, July 27, 2006

In case of publication, please provide a copy.

Your contact person at Alfred Wegener Institue is Dr Hubertus Fischer (0471-4831 1174; email hufischer@awi-bremerhaven.de) and in the public relations department. Dr Angelika Dummermuth (0471-4831 1742; email medien@awi-bremerhaven.de). For further information from LDEO, please contact Dr Gisela Winckler (++1-845-365 8756 or winckler@ldeo.columbia.edu) and for media contact: Mary Tobin (Tel. ++1-212-854 9485; email: mtobin@ei.columbia.edu) or Ken Kostel (Tel. ++1-212-854 9729; email: kkostel@ei.columbia.edu). Printable images can be found on our webpage at www.awi-bremerhaven.de/AWI/Presse/PM/index-d.html.

Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory (L-DEO), member of the Earth Institute at Columbia University, is one of the world’s leading research centres examining the planet from its core to its atmosphere, across every continent and every ocean. From global climate change to earthquakes, volcanoes, environmental hazards and beyond, Observatory scientists provide the basic knowledge of Earth systems needed to inform the future health and habitability of our planet.

Printable Images

Cosmic Dust

The antarctic ice cap is a perfect archive for precpitation and dust particles. Even with a blue sky you findprecipitation of ice particles at Kohnen Station, which can build a halo. Besides the terrestrical dust also extraterrestrical dust is deposed. On top left an extraterrestrical dust particle in size of a few micrometer is included.

webprint

 

Kohnen Station

Die Kohnen Station liegt bei 75°00’ S und 00°04’ O ist eine Sommerstation im Dronning Maud Land in der Antarktis.
Kohnen station is the summer station of EPICA in Dronning Maud Land, Antarctica and located at 75°00’ S und 00°04’ E.

webprint

 

Ice Core

An ice core drilled by the European Project of Ice Coring in Antarctica (EPICA) in Dronning Maud Land

webprint

 

Ice Core

Detail of an ice core from 2668 meters depth. Photo: Sepp Kipfstuhl

webprint

 

back to list

17. July 2006: Free access to the plankton data base

 

PLANKTON*NET is an online data base illustrating plankton organisms both visually and contextually. Originally, the data base was established at the Alfred Wegener Institute to provide a source of information for students participating in courses at the Biological Station Helgoland. Plankton is constituted by free-floating organisms in the water, from bacteria to jelly fish. The image material and related information on planktonic organisms, e.g. taxonomic descriptions, facilitate the identification of species. The data base was re-installed recently and, at present, holds more than 3000 images and over 500 species descriptions.

 

Free access to the data base enables all registered users to add their own images and data, and to supplement existing data records. All newly entered data are reviewed, and, if necessary, evaluated by experts. This not only facilitates the fast development and expansion of the data base, but also leads to a high diversity of data entries with varied geographic origin through contributions from across the globe. This large geographic scope is of great importance for plankton research and is currently a unique feature of PLANKTON*NET compared to other data base systems.

 

Networking
Currently, PLANKTON*NET consists of two separate data bases - one at the Alfred Wegener Institute (PLANKTON*NET@AWI) and another one at the Station Biologique de Roscoff in France (PLANKTON*NET@ROSCOFF). A third data base is planned at the University of Lisbon in Portugal. The long term goal of the project is the networking of all data bases and their integration into the existing World Data Centre for Marine Environmental Sciences (WDC-MARE). This data centre represents a virtual institute and is administered by the Alfred Wegener Institute and the Centre for Marine Environmental Sciences. Aside from WDC-MARE, there are more than 50 other global data bases worldwide that serve as long term archives and provide information for science. PLANKTON*NET is financed in part by the European Union and has a duration of two years. Project partners include the Station Biologique de Roscoff and the University of Caen in France, the University of Lisbon and the Instituto de Investigaçao das Pescas e do Mar (IPIMAR) in Portugal, as well as the Natural History Museum in London.

 

Background
Research on biodiversity has been intensified considerably over the past years. Reasons for this include an increasing concern over species extinctions and habitat destruction on the one hand, and the improvement of detailed recording methods for existing species on the other. Particularly genetic methods have been used ever more frequently for species identification. In many regions, genetic tools have revealed that species diversity is much higher than previously thought. Especially in marine systems, the term ‘diversity’ not only describes the distinction between biological species, but also refers to the divergence within established species. This leads to a completely new evaluation of the species concept. For the recording and description of new species, fast access to existing information is absolutely imperative.

Find more Information at http://www.plankton-net.org

Bremerhaven, July 17, 2006

Please send us a copy of any published version of this document.

Notes for editors:
Your contact person is Prof Dr Karen Wiltshire (Tel.: +49-4725-819-238, email: kwiltshire@awi-bremerhaven.de) or Dr. Alexandra Kraberg (Tel.: +49-4725-819-246, email: akraberg@awi-bremerhaven.de). Your contact person in the public relations department is Dr Angelika Dummermuth (Tel: ++49-471-4831-1742, email: medien@awi-bremerhaven.de). Printable images can be found on our webpage at www.awi-bremerhaven.de/AWI/Presse/PM/index-d.html.

Bremerhaven, July 17, 2006

Printable Images

Tomopteris helgolandicus

The swimming worm Tomopteris helgolandicus lives nearby the island Helgoland.

webprint

 

Noctiluca scintillans

Noctiluca scintillans is responsible for the marine phosphorescence in the North Sea.

webprint

 

Coscinodiscus wailesii

Coscinodiscus wailesii is a diatom. It produces a certain slime when occuring in masses which blocks flues.

webprint

 

Acatia clausii

Acatia clausii is a copepod and a typical zooplankton secies in the North Sea.

webprint

 

back to list

9. November 2006: Ocean current links northern and southern hemisphere in ice age

 

Even if climate records from Greenland and Antarctic ice cores show different patterns climate of Arctic and Antartica are connected directly. Recent investigations on an Antarctic ice core now published in nature indicate a general connection between both hemispheres by a ‘bipolar seesaw’. Even short and weak temperature changes in the south are connected to fast changes in temperature in the north by change of currents in the Atlantic ocean. Antarctica warmed several times in the period 20,000 to 55,000 years before present whilst the North was cold and export of warm water from the southern ocean was reduced. In contrast, the Antarctic started to cool every time more warm water started to flow into the North Atlantic during warm events in the north. This result suggests a general link between long-term climate changes in both hemispheres via this ‘bipolar seesaw’ as a result of Atlantic meridional overturning circulation changes.

 

In the current issue of ‘nature’, a joint effort of scientists from 10 European nations working together in the European Project for Ice Coring in Antarctica (EPICA) established a precise link between climate records from Greenland and Antarctica using data on global changes in methane concentrations derived from trapped air bubbles in the ice. The ice core analyses were performed on the new EDML ice core, which due to its higher snow accumulation rate allows for reconstruction of higher resolution atmospheric and climate records than previous ice cores from the East Antarctic plateau; a prerequisite for precise synchronisation with the Greenland counterpart. Based on the new synchronized time scale the scientists were able to compare high-resolution temperature proxy records from the EPICA ice core in Dronning Maud Land and the North Greenland Ice core Project (NGRIP). Based on the new synchronized time scale the scientists were able to directly compare high-resolution temperature proxy records from Antarctica and Greenland.This showed that the Bipolar Seesaw occurred throughout and most probably beyond the last glacial period. “It is really astounding” says paleoclimatologist and corresponding author of the study Dr. Hubertus Fischer from the Alfred-Wegener Institute for Polar and Marine Research (AWI) in Bremerhaven, “how systematic this process worked also for smaller temperature changes in the Antarctic. Our data shows that the degree of warming in the South is linearly related to the duration of cold periods in the North Atlantic”.

 

The study now published in Nature synchronises the work of EPICA scientists from 10 European countries: Belgium, Denmark, France, Germany, UK, Italy, the Netherlands, Norway, Sweden and Switzerland. This study is a good example for scientists from different disciplines of ice core research and glaciology collaborating internationally. Modellers, isotope specialists and glaciologists are bringing together their expertise“, says Prof. Dr Heinz Miller, head of the EPICA steering committee. As the German partner within EPICA, AWI was responsible for the Dronning Maud Land drilling operations as well as for large parts of the analyses on the EDML ice core and glaciological flow modelling. Coordinated by the European Science Foundation (ESF), EPICA is funded by the participating countries and the European Union. EPICA is one of the core projects of the AWI Research Program “Maritime, Coastal and Polar Systems” in the “Earth and Environment” research section of the Helmholtz-Gemeinschaft.

The manuscript “One-to-one coupling of glacial climate variability in Greenland and Antarctica” will be published in Nature on November 9, 2006.

Bremerhaven, October 31, 2006

In case of publication, please provide a copy.

Notes for editors: For further information from Alfred Wegener Institute please contact Dr Hubertus Fischer (phone +49(0)471 4831 1174; mobile +49(0)175 8930172; email hufischer@awi-bremerhaven.de) or Dr Hans Oerter (phone: +49(0)471 4831 1347; email hoerter@awi-bremerhaven.de). Your media contact at Alfred Wegener Institute is Dr Ude Cieluch (+49(0)471 4831 2008; email medien@awi-bremerhaven.de).

The Alfred Wegener Institute carries out research in the Arctic and Antarctic as well as in the high and mid latitude oceans. The institute coordinates German polar research and makes available to international science important infrastructure, e.g. the research ice breaker “Polarstern” and research stations in the Arctic and Antarctic. AWI is one of 15 research centres within the Helmholtz-Gesellschaft, Germany’s largest scientific organization.

Printable Images

Ice cores

Ice cores are the memory of climate history. Photo: Hubertus Fischer

webprint

 

Eiskern

de: Ablaengen des Bohrkerns auf 1-Meter-Stuecke; Person: Hubertus Fischer
en: Dr. Hubertus Fischer sawing an ice core.

webprint

 

Bohrtrench

de: Bohrtrench auf Kohnen mit EPICA-Bohrer/Bohrtrum
en: Drilling trench

webprint

 

Kohnen Station

The camp of the European Project of Ice Coring in Antarctica (EPICA) in Dronning Maud Land.

webprint

 

back to list

31. October 2006: New aircraft for polar research

 

The Alfred Wegener Institute for Polar and Marine Research (AWI) is acquiring a new research plane of type Basler BT-67. ‘Polar 5’ features improved aeronautical parameters and scientific instrumentation designed for long-lasting utilisation. Consequently, it is ideally suited for continuing support of AWI research projects, despite ever increasing demands. The new aircraft will replace ‘Polar 4’, a Dornier DO 228-101 that has been operating since 1984. The German Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) is financing the acquisition of the polar research plane with 8.1 million euros. ‘Polar 5’, with registration C-GAWI, will see its first deployment during the 2007/2008 Antarctic season, exactly 25 years after the Alfred Wegener Institute’s initial polar aircraft operation.

 

The Basler BT-67 (Basler Turbo Conversion LLC), designed specifically for requirements of polar research, will be integrated as ‘Polar 5’ into the AWI flight schedule. Compared to ‘Polar 4’, the new plane is characterised by advanced performance parameters: The operational range (approximately 2900 km) has more than doubled, and the required take-off capacity from skis at elevations exceeding 3800 meters on the Antarctic Plateau has been demonstrated. Powerful generators have enabled expansion of the existing measuring equipment aboard. Loading capacity and volume are more than twice as large as in the preceding model, significantly improving the transport capacity for logistical operations. The new aircraft is more robust and therefore requires less maintenance than previous polar aircraft. Maintenance can be carried out at the deployment location. With operational costs comparable to current polar aircraft, the plane will be able to operate for up to 800 hours per year.

Next year’s commissioning of the new aircraft will also mark a new partnership of the research plane with the Canadian company ‘Enterprise Air Inc.’ in Oshawa. As for ‘Polar 2’ and ‘Polar 4’, the home location of ‘Polar 5’ will be Bremerhaven’s regional airport. This will also be the site of regular maintenance work on ‘Polar 5’ between research deployments.

The new acquisition became necessary after the research aircraft ‘Polar 4’ was severely damaged in January 2005 during a rough landing at the British over-wintering station Rothera on the Antarctic Peninsula. As it was impossible to repair the plane, the aircraft had to be decommissioned. Since then, the scientific and logistical tasks of polar flights have been performed solely by ‘Polar 2’. A second polar aircraft is needed so that the Alfred Wegener Institute can continue to meet fully its scientific and logistical responsibilities as a centre for polar and marine research.

Bremerhaven, October 31, 2006

Please send us a copy of any published version of this document.

Suggestion for editors:
Your contact person at the Alfred Wegener Institute is Dr Andreas Herber (Tel: +49-471-4831-1489, email: aherber@awi-bremerhaven.de). Your contact person in the public relations department is Dr Jens Kube (Tel: +49-471-4831-2007, email: jkube@awi-bremerhaven.de).

 

Printable Images

polar5 1 w

The new aircraft Polar 5.
Skizze der Seitenansicht der künftigen Polar 5.

webprint

 

Polar 2

In Future still in use for the Alfred Wegener Institute: Polar 2, a Dornier DO-228.

webprint

 

back to list

12. July 2006: Ferienpass-Aktion am AWI

Printable Images

Informatik1 w

Schüler im Rechenzentrum des Alfred-Wegener-Instituts

webprint

 

Startvorbereitungen für einen Fesselballonaufstieg

de: Joann Smidt (Stationsingenieur 2004/2005) und Diplomandin Anne Theuerkauf bereiten den Start des Fesselballons "Miss Piggy" an der AWIPEV-Forschungsbasis vor. Der Ballon kann bis in 3km Höhe aufsteigen und wieder eingeholt werden.

webprint

 

Informatik3 w

webprint

 

back to list

10. July 2006: »Wieso, weshalb, warum? Probier’s mal aus! «

Printable Images

Wiss Somm1 w

"Kann man Wasser stapeln?" Dieser und anderen Fragen gehen Kinder im Schülerlabor nach.

webprint

 

Wiss Somm2 w

Schon die Kleinsten werden spielerisch an wissenschaftliches Arbeiten herangeführt.

webprint

 

Wiss Somm3 w

Mit Begeisterung lernen schon Grundschüler etwas über die Physik des Wassers.

webprint

 

Wiss Somm4 w

Der zweite Jahrgang des Schulprojekts HIGHSEA auf Expedition in der Arktis.

webprint

 

back to list

29. June 2006: Zweiter Jahrgang durchs Abitur navigiert

Printable Images

Abi1 w

Tunheim (Bären-Insel) auf halber Strecke zwischen Spitzbergen und Tromsö.

webprint

 

Abi2 w

Gruppenfoto vor dem Gletscher im Hornsund.

webprint

 

Abi3 w

Letztes Segelbergen vor dem Anlaufen von Torsvag - nach mehreren Tagen auf See; Land in Sicht.

webprint

 

Abi4 w

Die erste gemeinsame Mahlzeit "an Land" in Torsvag - Nordspitze Nordnorwegens.

webprint

 

back to list

27. June 2006: Ozontanz – mit allen Sinnen lernen

Printable Images

Ozontanz

Menschen werden durch das Ozonloch krank. Die Einstiegsszene des Ozonanz.

webprint

 

Ozontanz

Der atmosphärische Polarwirbel bildet sich.

webprint

 

Ozontanz

Tanzpädagogin Claudia Hanfgarn inmitten der Schülerinnen, die sich gleich in ein Ozonloch verwandeln.

webprint

 

back to list

23. June 2006: French-German cooperation extended

The Alfred Wegener Institute for Polar and Marine Research (AWI) and the Institut Français de Recherche pour l’Exploitation de la MER (Ifremer) will be extending their contractual collaboration for another five years. On this occasion, the official ceremony in Paris on June 28 will be attended by the French Minister of Research.
For almost a decade, both institutes have had extensive collaborations, concentrating, over the past years, on deep sea research, remotely operated underwater vehicles, and on marine technology. A new virtual institute will be consolidating the existing expertise in this field and will advance it further.

 

French-German collaboration
The cooperation between the Alfred Wegener Institute and the Institut Français de Recherche pour l’Exploitation de la MER (Ifremer) was sealed in 2001 through the ‘Memorandum of Understanding’ (MoU). This document identifies key areas of the collaboration and stipulates annual meetings at the directorial level. On June 28, 2006, the memorandum will be renewed in Paris in the presence of the French Minister of Research.
The need for a more efficient joint usage of large scale equipment in marine fundamental research represented an important driving force for the mutual efforts towards the agreement. Operation of Ifremer’s remotely operated underwater vehicle ‘Victor 6000’ from the flagship of the Alfred Wegener Institute, the research icebreaker Polarstern, opened new research opportunities also for scientists from other European countries. Hence, AWI and Ifremer provided access to their infrastructure for European cooperative projects during several large expeditions. The institutional partnership has been consolidated further through financial contributions of the Alfred Wegener Institute, contractually committed towards a new working group for the innovation of instruments and sensors for ‘Victor 6000’. Meanwhile, the underwater vehicles and tools of the collaboration partners have also been deployed on the respective other research vessels. In 2005, for instance, an autonomous diving robot of the Ifremer was operated from FS ‘Heincke’, and an equivalent vehicle of the Alfred Wegener Institute was used on the French ‘Atalante’ in the Barents Sea.


 

Cross-border virtual institute
Both institutes complement one another exceptionally well in the field of underwater technology. Close collaborations, as well as linking the concerned departments from both institutes, enable more efficient usage and further development of the costly infrastructure. The resulting expertise is unparalleled within Europe. The research programmes of both institutes have been complementing one another, and the joint appearance of AWI and Ifremer in European multipart projects represent further motives for the establishment of a virtual institute (‘Virtual Institute of Underwater Systems and Technologies’). Primary tasks of this new institute will include optimisation and development of underwater equipment, educational training of engineering and natural science students and partnerships with maritime industries.

 

Sibling system to ‘Victor 6000’
The next step is the construction of a sibling system to ‘Victor 6000’. The instrument will have its home in Bremerhaven, however, in keeping with the cooperative spirit it will also be available on French vessels for research projects of the Ifremer and of other French institutes. The sibling system ‘Victoria 4000’ will be fundamentally compatible to ‘Victor 6000’. All existing as well as future instruments will be exchangeable between both systems. The same applies to the software, already developed, which facilitates processing and analysis of vast quantities of data produced during underwater operations. ‘Victoria 4000’ will not only bear much less total weight than Victor 6000, but it will also incorporate the latest technology, representing a system of the next generation that is competitive in a global context. Financial requirements for the completion of ‘Victoria 4000’ are estimated to be at least five million euros. With an estimated eight months of operation – shared equally by AWI and Ifremer – and an operational crew of seven engineers, the annual personnel costs will amount to approximately 300,000 euros.


Bremerhaven, June28, 2006
Please send us a copy of any published version of this document.

Notes for editors:
Your contact person is Dr Michael Klages (Tel.: +1-(4)71-4831-1302, email: mklages@awi-bremerhaven.de) and, in the public relations department, Dr Angelika Dummermuth (Tel: +49-471-4831-1742, email: adummerm@awi-bremerhaven.de). Printable images can be found on our webpage at www.awi-bremerhaven.de/AWI/Presse/PM/index-d.html.

Printable Images

Victor 6000

Victor6000, an unmanned underwater vehicle while field work.

webprint

 

Polarstern

Polarstern, the flag ship of Alfred Wegener Institute on expedition.

webprint

 

Unterwasserfahrzeug Victor 6000

Victor6000 is prepared for use on Polarstern.

webprint

 

back to list

15. June 2006: Letzte weiße Flecken auf den Meereskarten

Printable Images

GEBCO1 w

3-dimensionales Bild der Framstraße zwischen Spitzbergen und Grönland.

webprint

 

GEBCO2 w

Die neuste Weltkarte der Land- und Ozeantopographie.

webprint

 

back to list

7. June 2006: Frühlingserwachen im Aquarium

Printable Images

Seewolf

Seewolfeltern: Rechts im Bild ist das Männchen zu sehen, das sich um den Eiballen gelegt hat; links im Bild das neugierige Weibchen

webprint

 

Seewolf

Frisch geschlüpfte Seewolflarven

webprint

 

Seewolf

2 Monate alter Seewolf; Länge circa 5 Zentimeter

webprint

 

back to list

1. June 2006: Klimapuzzle Arktischer Ozean

Printable Images

Meereis

Meereis im arktischen Ozean

webprint

 

Polarstern

Von Polarstern ermittelte seismische Daten halfen bei der Vorbereitung der Tiefbohrung.

webprint

 

back to list

22. May 2006: Green Light for new research vessel Aurora Borealis

Today, the German Science Council has recommended going ahead with construction of the new research vessel Aurora Borealis. The research icebreaker, designed as a European cooperative project, will not only be equipped with state-of-the-art technology, but will also have a drilling platform. The ship is designed primarily for operation in the Arctic and will be the first of its kind capable of working in the Central Arctic Ocean during winter.

 

Aurora Borealis is so important for research because, in contrast to previous research icebreakers, it will carry a new deep sea drilling system and will be able to work in the central Arctic Ocean throughout unfavourable seasons under the most extreme weather conditions”, explains Prof Jörn Thiede, Director of the Alfred Wegener Institute for Polar and Marine Research in Bremerhaven, who has been promoting the project tirelessly for years. “With Aurora Borealis it will be possible to retrieve sediments from depths down to 4000 metres and even from below a continuous ice cover.” Sediment deposits from deep below the Arctic Ocean seafloor, currently unexplored, provide a key to the understanding of the region’s climate history and its effects on the global environment over millions of years. Global climate change is especially noticeable in the Arctic. Over the past decades, the annual average temperature has been rising significantly. Glaciers have been moving much faster than observed previously and permafrost soils have been thawing. Aurora Borealis will contribute to the understanding of such processes, especially within a global context.

Whereas in 2002, the Science Council was not ready to make a recommendation for Aurora Borealis, the 350 million Euro project now received green light during the second round of consultations. Scientists hope for the contributing nations to quickly reach an agreement on financing and realisation of the project.

 

Aurora Borealis will enable more efficient operation of the German research fleet in polar oceans. The ice margin vessel Maria S Merian, which was consigned to science only this year, will also be working predominantly in the Arctic. However, she not only lacks the special drilling equipment of Aurora Borealis, but is also less suitable for work in the ice. The currently most modern research ice breaker Polarstern operates alternately in the Arctic and Antarctic. After commissioning of Aurora Borealis, however, Polarstern could be used primarily in the Antarctic in order to avoid costly commuting.

Most up-to-date and innovative research vessel
The most conspicuous characteristic of Aurora Borealis is its drill tower. For the purpose of drilling, the drill gear is lowered through the so-called ‘moon pool’, an opening in the hull of the vessel located amidships. A heave compensation system provides stability during retrieval of the drill cores. Through ‘slow motion ice-breaking’, operating sideways, the vessel is able to maintain its exact position in ice-covered waters. While moving forward with a speed of 2 to 3 knots, Aurora Borealis can break a continuous sea ice cover of up to 2.5 metres thickness straight on. Other than the extraction of sediment cores, principal tasks of the new ship will include biological and oceanographic investigations, especially under winter conditions. A second moon pool enables the deployment of autonomous and remotely operated underwater vehicles.

Technical data
- Overall Length: 178 m
- Width (main deck): 40 m
- Draught: 10.2 m
- Heigth to main deck: 20.5 m
- Maximum speed: 15 kn
- Travelling speed: 12 kn
- Max. Expedition time: 60 days
- Staff(crew + scientists): 120 total
- Diesel electric power: 50 MW
- Loading capacitiy: 100 container

Bremerhaven, May 22, 2006

Printable Images

Aurora Borealis

Sideview of Aurora Borealis.

webprint

 

Aurora Borealis

Survey about construction and research plannings after assuring the financing of Aurora Borealis.

webprint

 

Aurora Borealis

Section through Aurora Borealis at level of the drilling derrick.

webprint

 

Aurora Borealis

Look on the engine deck of Aurora Borealis.

webprint

 

back to list

16. May 2006: Greenlandic special stamp featuring Alfred Wegener

On May 22, the Alfred Wegener Institute for Polar and Marine Research will present a special stamp issued by Post Greenland. The special stamp with Alfred Wegener motif commemorates the Greenland expedition of the famous German polar researcher Alfred Wegener.

Post Greenland

 

The history of Greenland’s postal service has been tightly linked to its former mother country Denmark. Approximately 50 years after European settlement on Greenland, the government-controlled ‘Kongelige Grønlanske Handel’ (KGH) obtained the monopoly for the postal service. However, the first stamps valid across all of Greenland, three parcel postage stamps, were not issued until 1905. The stamps, produced in Denmark, show Greenland’s emblem, a standing polar bear, as the central motif. In 1938, Greenland’s complete postal service was taken over by the Royal Danish Postal Service. The first stamps depicted the Danish King Christian X. instead of using designs suggested by the Greenlanders, i.e. Northern Lights, seal and polar bear motifs. Those were not published until 2001. On average, Post Greenland issues 15 new stamps per year. Over the years, several series on flowers, butterflies, whales, on cultural heritage and on famous expeditions have been produced.

German Greenland expedition Alfred Wegener 1930

 

On April 1, 1930, the ‘German Greenland Expedition Alfred Wegener’ left from Copenhagen with fourteen participants under Alfred Wegener’s leadership. Three land based stations, intended to serve as locations for geophysical and meteorological measurements, were established along the 72nd parallel under severe time pressure. Especially in the case of the centrally located ‘Station Centre Ice’, construction and supply proved to be difficult as the modern propeller sledges were almost unusable in the existing snow conditions. In a rescue attempt headed by Wegener, equipment and material was transported across 400 kilometres with dog sleds while deep snow and temperatures down to minus 54 degrees Celsius complicated the rescue mission. On their return journey, Alfred Wegener and his Greenlandic companion Rasmus Villumsen died on the ice. Wegener’s brother Kurt completed the expedition which, as one of its major scientific successes, determined the thickness of the 2700 meter Greenland ice shield. Alfred Wegener has gone down in history as of the most significant German polar researchers and geoscientists. His glory is primarily based on the theory of continental drift which he co-founded and publicised.

Wegener’s legacy

 

Wegener’s scientific heirs continue to pursue his ideas and research interests at the Alfred Wegener Institute. The research ice breaker Polarstern conducts regular physical, chemical, geological and biological measurements in the waters off Greenland. Ice coring takes place in the Arctic and Antarctic, and the retrieved ice cores enable the reconstruction of historic changes in climate. Although technology since Alfred Wegener’s expedition has advanced significantly, extreme environmental conditions continue to provide a challenge to humans and equipment in the quest for exploration of the polar regions.

Presentation at the Alfred Wegener Institute
On May 22, representatives of Post Greenland will present the special stamp Alfred Wegner in the foyer of the institute (am Handelshafen 12). Its historical significance will be illustrated through a talk about Alfred Wegener, given by the director of the Alfred Wegener Institute, Prof Jörn Thiede as well as through film clips from Wegener’s 1930 Greenland expedition. Other highlights of the event will include postmarks, envelopes, post sets and special stamp collections, issued by both the German and the Greenlandic postal services, featuring Alfred Wegener’s Greenland expedition. Until 5 pm it will be possible to purchase the special stamp.
Bremerhaven, May 16, 2006

Printable Images

Stamp

The special stamp of the Post Greenland honors the famous german polar researcher.

webprint

 

Gustav Holm

Ascending the inland ice, with its edge rising 1000 metres above sea level, proved difficult.

webprint

 

Propeller Sledge

Under the extreme weather conditions, propeller sledges specifically brought along from Germany did not meet expectations.

webprint

 

Alfred Wegener

The Alfred Wegener Institute for Polar and Marine Research was named after the polar researcher, meteorologist and founder of the theory of continental drift.

webprint

 

Rubber Stamp

A special rubber stamp of the Post Germany fits the stamp of Post Greenland.

webprint

 

back to list

15. May 2006: Alfred-Wegener-Institut kooperiert mit Universität in Bergen

Printable Images

Direktoren

Der Rektor der Universität in Bergen, Prof. Dr. Sigmund Grønmo, und der Direktor des Alfred-Wegener-Instituts, Prof. Dr. Jörn Thiede, unterzeichnen die Kooperationsvereinbarung.

webprint

 

Bergen

Die Universitätsstadt Bergen: Durch eine Kooperationsvereinbarung mit dem Alfred-Wegener-Institut Bremerhaven eng verbunden.

webprint

 

back to list

11. May 2006: Record air pollution above the Arctic

Last week Scientists of the Alfred Wegener Institute for Polar and Marine Research observed the highest air pollution on record since measurements began in Ny-Ålesund on Svalbard. Monitoring instruments displayed significantly increased aerosol concentrations compared to those generally found. Aerosols from eastern Europe have been transported into the Arctic atmosphere due to a particular large-scale weather situation.

 



High concentrations of aerosols and ozone
Usually the air is pure and clear above the French-German AWIPEV-Research base in Ny-Ålesund at the western coast of Svalbard. However, at the beginning of May it turned to a deep orange-brown. Confirming the observations of the German team, Swedish scientists of the Department of Applied Environmental Science at Stockholm University (ITM) measured up to fifty micrograms aerosol per cubic metre air in Ny-Ålesund. Such values are usually measured during rush hour in cities. In addition, the Norwegian Institute for Air Research (NILU) found extremely high concentrations of ozone above ground. With more than 160 micrograms ozone per cubic metre, these values are the highest measured since the foundation of the research base in 1989.

Orange brown haze in the Arctic
A specific weather condition has caused the record high air pollution. Large amounts of aerosols from eastern Europe were driven into the arctic atmosphere. Increased aerosol concentrations had already been measured at springtime of recent years. However, this „Arctic Haze“ has never been as pronounced before.
Aerosols constitute small particles in the atmosphere. They can be liquid or solid and serve as condensation nuclei during cloud formation. It is these properties that lead to aerosols influencing the climate system. „The present air pollution is more than 2.5 fold higher than values measured in spring 2000. As a consequence, we expect significantly increase warming “, explains Dr. Andreas Herber of the Alfred Wegener Institute in Bremerhaven.

Scientists of the Alfred Wegener Institute have been measuring the aerosol content of the atmosphere above Svalbard since 1991. Measurements made via the institute’s aeroplanes serve the ongoing investigation of the impact of aerosols on the climate. “It is still difficult to estimate, whether this year’s data constitute the beginning of a common trend”, says Andreas Herber. “We need continued measurements in the course of subsequent years”. Moreover, the scientists expect the detailed examination of the origin and chemical composition of the aerosols to yield further understanding for the current observations.

The AWIPEV research base in Ny-Ålesund is a joint station of the German Alfred Wegener Institute and the French Institut Polaire Paul Emile Victor (IPEV). It comprises the German Koldewey and the French Rabot research stations.

Bremerhaven, May 11, 2006


Contact person: Dr. Andreas Herber (E-Mail: aherber@awi-bremerhaven.de)

Printable Images

Svalbard

Arctic haze above Svalbard. On the left (May 2nd, 2006), orange brown dust is clearly visible. On the right (May, 8.), the dust has disappeared.

webprint

 

Atmospheric extinction

Preliminary profile of the atmospheric extinction due to the aerosol cloud (red). For comparison, clear atmospheric conditions (blue) and an arctic haze event from the year 2000 (orange) are shown.

webprint

 

Optical Thickness

Comparison of the optical thickness of the aerosol layer. On May 2nd (red), the optical thickness was seven times higher than under clear conditions (blue). The actic haze event from the year 2000 is shown in orange.

webprint

 

back to list

19. April 2006: Beschleunigter Rückzug des westantarktischen Eisschildes

Printable Images

Vulkane

Mündungsgebiet des Pine-Island-Gletschers

webprint

 

Vulkane

Mount Manthe. Diese aus dem Eis ragenden Bergspitzen heißen Nunataks

webprint

 

Vulkane

Mount Manthe gehört zu den Hudson Mountains in der Westantarktis.

webprint

 

Vulkane

Mount Murphy ist ein erloschener Vulkan im Marie-Byrd-Land der Westantarktis.

webprint

 

Vulkane

Geräteaufbau für GPS-Messungen am Mount Murphy.

webprint

 

back to list

30. March 2006: International meeting of researchers in the Antarctic

Cooperation between Germany and Argentina at the Dallmann Laboratory in the Antarctic extended
On April 5, 2006, the continuation contract for scientific cooperation at the Dallmann Laboratory will be signed on King George Island in the Antarctic. Thus, the two directors of the research institutes, Prof Dr Jörn Thiede of the Alfred Wegener Institute for Polar and Marine Research, and Dr Mariano Memolli of the Direccion Nacional del Antartico Buenos Aires, will commit to continuation of a twelve year cooperation.

Dallmann Laboratory on King George Island

 

The Dallmann Laboratory, established in 1994, represents the first research institution of several nations in the Antarctic. Collaboration of scientists from Germany, Argentina and the Netherlands was contractually agreed upon. Together with the Argentine Jubany Station offering logistical support, the laboratory provides working facilities for biologists and geoscientists. From October to March, the Dallmann Laboratory offers fourteen work spaces with accommodation, including seven laboratories, one workshop, and a storage facility. Internet connections and state of the art equipment, e.g. a nitrogen liquefier used for freezing of biological samples, are all part of the facilities. A decompression chamber represents another distinct feature of the research station; it enables research diving activities which are subject to strict German safety regulations. Several igloo huts supplement the facilities. All waste waters of Jubany Station and Dallmann Laboratory are clarified through a full biological sewage treatment plant.

Potter Cove

 

Primary focus of the biological investigations is the ecosystem of Potter Cove, the small bay where the research station is located. Assisted by the research dive team, scientists investigate the structure and dynamics of macroalgal and animal communities, and examine the physiology of key species. Studying energy flow through the food web enables further analysis of the structure and functioning of this ecosystem. In conjunction with physiological data, future variability as a result of global environmental changes can be predicted. In this context, the research on macroalgae focuses on the effects of ozone depletion and the associated increase in ultraviolet radiation, on primary production and the marine biosphere.

The International Polar Year

 

The Dallmann Laboratory will become a central location for international research projects during the International Polar Year 2007/08. One of the projects will investigate the effects of global climate change. In the region of the Antarctic Peninsula, air temperatures have risen significantly over the past 50 years. Among the consequences are larger amounts of melt water reaching coastal biological communities of the Antarctic Peninsula. The associated turbidity of the water drastically reduces light availability for marine algae. Inferior growing conditions for these primary producers lead to less food of poorer quality for zooplankton and bottom dwelling organisms which, in turn, depend on the plankton and its metabolic products. Overall, major changes of food web structure and function are expected.

The Dallmann Laboratory is located at the northern end of the investigated transect along the Antarctic Peninsula. The current state of the ecosystem appears to be representative for other areas and, in the future, is predicted to be found in more southerly regions as well.

Bremerhaven, March 30, 2006

Your contact person is Prof Dr Christian Wiencke (Tel.: 471 4831-1338, E-Mail: cwiencke@awi-bremerhaven.de)

Printable Images

Dallmann laboratory

The Dallmann laboratory at the Argentine Jubany station is located at Potter Cove on the antarctic peninsula.

webprint

 

Dallmann laboratory

The almost ice free cove provides excellent opportunities to investigate the antarctic ecosystem during summer.

webprint

 

Dallmann Laboratory

A team of scientific divers on the way towards their study sites.

webprint

 

Dallmann Laboratory

Divers, equipment and safety precautions have to meet specific requirements in Antarctica.

webprint

 

Dallmann Laboratory

Movable huts called „Tomatoes“ protect scientists and their equipment against harsh environmental conditions.

webprint

 

back to list

27. March 2006: Carl Weyprecht (1838-1881) and the International Polar Year

Search for the Northeast Passage culminated in the International Polar Year
March 29, 2006 marks the 125th anniversary of Carl Weyprecht’s death. Carl Weyprecht, a naval officer with science education, directed the 1872 North Pole expedition, with the purpose of discovering the Northeast Passage. Following the loss of his ship and the expedition’s failure, Weyprecht appealed vehemently for permanent research stations in the polar regions. “Arctic research is extremely significant for the understanding of the laws of nature”, he wrote in his essay about “Fundamental Principles of Arctic Research”. His ideas led to the first International Polar Year, hosted in 1882/1883, which was followed by two further substantial scientific events at the poles in 1932-1933 and 1957-1958. Currently, preparations for the Fourth International Polar Year, starting in March 2007, are under way.

Highly topical: Ice mass budgets

 

Carl Weyprecht, born on September 8, 1838 in Darmstadt, was naval officer, Arctic researcher and geophysicist for the Austro-Hungarian monarchy. In December 1871, Weyprecht presented a budget of ice cover in the Arctic Basin to the Imperial Academy of Sciences in Vienna. Deliberations on the sources and sinks as reasons for seasonal fluctuations comprise the main subject matter of his concepts. Since he assumed a negligible rate of sea ice formation during the six months of the summer, and considered the drain of ice masses to be continual, he came to the conclusion that a navigable central arctic basin would have to exist during the autumn, unless the ice was supported by underlying land masses in that same region. As a consequence of his hypothesis, Weyprecht proposed ocean expeditions to visit the central Arctic, and to follow the Siberian coast.

Searching for the Northeast Passage
A first expedition to the Barents Sea in 1871, Weyprecht carried out jointly with Julius Payer. The Austro-Hungarian North Pole expedition with the purpose of exploring the Northeast Passage left Bremerhaven in 1872 under the leadership of Carl Weyprecht and Julius Payer on the ice-going ‘Admiral Tegetthoff’. Although the archipelago of Franz Josef Land was discovered during this expedition, not one of the targeted geographic destinations was reached. After two winters in the ice, the ship had to be abandoned. Under Weyprecht’s leadership, the return across the ice by means of sleds and boats was successful. Because of north-drifting ice, it took 90 days for the crew members to reach the ice edge. Subsequently, the journey continued in the four boats that had been brought along.

Fundamental principles of Arctic research

 

Since December 1974, the Bremen ‘Polarverein’ (Polar Society), had sought the empire’s support for a new East Greenland expedition, intended to coincide with a British expedition to the west coast of Greenland. A major component of the application consisted of the simultaneous data collection across a large spatial scale for meteorology, geomagnetics and Northern Lights research, consistent with Weyprecht’s conclusions from his unsuccessful expedition. From 1875 onwards, Weyprecht became an avid advocate for circumpolar research stations, which would replace the classic polar expeditions. In his essay ‘Fundamental Principles of Arctic Research’ he promotes the systematic exploration of polar regions through international collaboration. His views focus on the major significance of the polar regions for scientific research, and his article draws attention to the need for coordinated serial observations.

The path to the International Polar Year

 

In 1879, during the second international Meteorological Conference in Rome, Weyprecht’s efforts were met with major approval for the first time, and on October 5 of the same year, the International Polar Commission was founded at the German Hydrographical Office in Hamburg. Georg von Neymayer, Director of the German Hydrographical Office at the time, became chair of the commission. Within only three years, he paved the way for the First International Polar Year. Neumayer successfully promoted integration of the Antarctic into the programme. One year after Weyprecht’s death on March 29, 1881 in Michelstadt, the First International Polar Year took place with participation of twelve nations. The largest scientific project of its time included 15 coordinated expeditions to the Arctic and Antarctic.

During the second polar year 50 years later, the number of participating nations rose from 12 to 67. The International Geophysical Year in 1957-1958, the third large-scale scientific event in the polar regions, brought together approximately 80,000 scientists from many nations across the globe. One of its results was the Antarctic Treaty from 1959, joined by the Federal Republic of Germany in 1979.

Since 1967, the German Society of Polar Research has been awarding the Carl-Weyprecht Medal to deserving researchers.

Bremerhaven, March 27, 2006


Contact: Dr. Reinhard A. Krause (Tel.: 471 4831-1924, E-Mail: rkrause@awi-bremerhaven.de)

Printable Images

Carl Weyprecht

The ideas of Carl Weyprecht initiated the first International Polaryear 1882/83.

webprint

 

Sea Ice

Sea ice and floes in the Arctic Ocean.

webprint

 

Georg von Neumayer

Georg von Neumayer (1826-1909), first Director of the German Hydrographic Office in Hamburg, played a major role in instituting the first International Polar Year.

webprint

 

Carl Weyprecht

Carl Weyprecht (1838-1881)

webprint

 

back to list

23. March 2006: Arctic Sun Show

Photometer Calibration on Spitsbergen
For two weeks, starting on March 23, twelve sun photometers will be facing the allegedly clear Arctic sky. The concerted data-recording operation represents essential groundwork towards the assessment of air pollution planned for the International Polar Year 2007/2008. At that time, the programme, operating with previously unknown accuracy, will measure aerosols to determine pollution levels at more than twenty locations throughout the polar regions. Twenty scientists from nine nations are gathering at the French German AWIPEV Research Base on Spitsbergen to calibrate their spectral radiometers. The research base is operated jointly by the Alfred Wegener Institute and the French polar research institute Paul Emile Victor.

 

Under the cooperative leadership of the Alfred Wegener Institute for Polar and Marine Research and the Italian Institute for Atmospheric Research Bologna, 9 of the 19 nations united in the POLAR-AOD network (Aerosol Optical Depth in Polar Regions), are meeting in Ny-Ålesund on Spitsbergen. Sun photometers represent special modification of radiometers, designed to measure sun intensity in various colour ranges. By comparing light intensities at ground level and outside the atmosphere, the amount of light retained in the air through scatter and absorption can be determined. Changes in intensity coincide with colour changes of sunlight. In addition, the colour changes provide information about the qualities of aerosols, i.e. fine dust particles reducing light penetration in the atmosphere.

 

Sea salt, Sahara dust and exhaust fumes
Atmospheric aerosols have a significant effect on radiation balance, and consequently on the Earth’s climate. Naturally occurring aerosols include droplets of sulphuric acid, sea salt, Sahara dust as well as other mineral components. However, the human influence has been increasing. “Nowadays, twenty to thirty percent of atmospheric aerosols are produced by humans through incinerations, air traffic and industrial exhaust fumes”, says Dr Andreas Herber of the Alfred Wegener Institute, organiser of the calibration of instruments on Spitsbergen.

The Earth’s polar regions are key areas for our climate. A detailed understanding and a comprehensive description of the aerosol pollution are important prerequisites for precise climate predictions. One objective of the POLAR-AOD network is to understand the pathways by which anthropogenic, but also natural, aerosols are transported to the polar regions. For the first time ever, the temporal and spatial coverage of study areas will allow a global assessment of optical aerosol effects, including at both poles.

More Informations about the Polar-AOD project on the Web

Bremerhaven, March 23, 2006

Printable Images

Installation photometer

Installation of a sun photometer.

webprint

 

Ny Ålesund

Ny Ålesund on Spitsbergen is a village for researchers.

webprint

 

Blue House

The Blue House harbours the French-German research base in Ny Ålesund.

webprint

 

back to list

23. March 2006: New climate data from old ice

Small aerosol particles from ice core dating back 740,000 years provide insights into major climate change
All cold periods throughout the past 740,000 years were associated with a significantly larger sea ice cover around the Antarctic than warm periods. At the same time, South America’s south was significantly drier and windier than nowadays, leading to a much higher dust deposition in the Antarctic. These are some of the results published this week in the scientific journal “Nature” as part of a study on aerosols retrieved from an ice core 3 kilometres long, carried out by a European team of scientists with participation of the Alfred Wegener Institute for Polar and Marine Research.

Change of Antarctic sea ice cover

 

The ice core obtained in December 2004 as part of EPICA (European Project for Ice Coring in Antarctica) from Dome C in the eastern Antarctic (75° 06’S, 123° 21’E) covered more than eight consecutive alternations of ice ages and warm periods, so called glacial cycles. Thus, the core represents the longest continuous ice core archive ever retrieved. For their investigation, the EPICA scientists measured concentrations of aerosols within the ice, tracing the minute particles which had originated at the ocean surface or on continents far away and had been transported by wind to the Antarctic. The concentration of sea salt aerosol, for instance, formed in the process of seawater freezing, indicates a large scale expansion of sea ice cover around the Antarctic during all cold periods.

No increase in biological activity

 

Rising concentrations of small mineral dust particles during cold periods suggest a drier climate in the neighbouring continents, especially South America. The dust carried into the Southern Ocean by wind, provides additional nutrients for plankton in the surface ocean. However, analyses of sulphate aerosols from the ice core, produced after algal blooms, do not point towards an increase in biological activity in the Southern Ocean. “Our results require a revision of previous perspectives on the biological response to climate change in the Southern Ocean. At least for southern parts of that ocean, our perception about increased biological productivity during ice ages needs to be reconsidered”, suggests Hubertus Fischer, head of the chemical investigations at the Alfred Wegener Institute.

Predicting the future from viewing the past

 

After the analysis of temperature changes throughout the past eight climate cycles, the recent investigation of dissolved chemical components from the ice core represents another important step towards the evaluation of historical changes in climate. “Our research results reveal a similar succession of identical changes, whenever warm climate conditions alternated with cold ones over the past 740,000 years”, explains Eric Wolff of the British Antarctic Survey, primary author of the current publication. “This leads us to conclude that the Earth follows certain rules in the process of changing climates. If we can understand these rules, we will be able to improve our climate models and hence our predictions of the future.“

EPICA Project
The EPICA project is carried out by a consortium of ten European countries (Belgium, Denmark, Germany, Great Britain, France, Italy, the Netherlands, Norway, Sweden and Switzerland). EPICA is coordinated under the umbrella of the European Science Foundation (ESF) and funded by the participating countries and the European Union. EPICA’s goal has been to obtain two ice cores, extending all the way to the underlying bedrock, from the Antarctic inland ice. The team at Dome C has been working at temperatures as low as minus 40 °C until the drilling was completed in December 2004. At present, only the upper 3000 meters of the 3260 meter ice core have been analysed. Glaciologists estimate the climate history preserved in the even older ice, to span 900,000 years.

 

Apart from Dome C, another EPICA core was drilled at Kohnen Station in Dronning Maud Land (75°00'S, 00°04'E). This coring, under management and responsibility of the Alfred Wegener Institute, was completed successfully during the past field season of 2005/06. Chemical and physical analyses of the retrieved ice core are in full progress. EPICA is one of the central projects within the research concept ’Marine, Coastal and Polar Systems’ in the research field ’Earth and Environment’ of the Helmholtz Association.

Article: E. W. Wolff et al., Southern Ocean sea-ice extent, productivity and iron flux over the past eight glacial cycles, Nature 440, 491 (2006).

Bremerhaven, March 23, 2006

Your contact person is Dr. Hubertus Fischer (Tel.: +49 (0)471-4831 1174; E-Mail: hufischer@awi-bremerhaven.de)

Printable Images

Dome C

The hitherto oldest ice was drilled at the antarctic Station Dome Concordia.

webprint

 

Drilling Tent

View into the drilling tent. Work had to continue even at environmental temperatures much below the freezing point.

webprint

 

Ice core

Individual segments of the ice core are marked and await detailed analysis in the ice lab.

webprint

 

Map

The map shows the geographic location of EPICA - drillings at Dome C in the Antarctic.

webprint

 

Ice core structure

The vertical structure of ice cores indicates the periodical change of climate conditions.

webprint

 

back to list

15. March 2006: Arctic conference in Potsdam

From March 22 to March 29, the Arctic Science Summit Week (ASSW) will take place in Potsdam. Internationally, the conference, hosted jointly by international organisations and the Alfred Wegener Institute for Polar and Marine Research, represents one of the most significant interdisciplinary meetings for Arctic research. Apart from numerous scientific federations, the Arctic Council will also deliberate in Potsdam. During the meeting week, long-term perspectives for international Arctic research will be defined and coordinated by the participants. With the upcoming International Polar Year (IPY) 2007/2008, this year’s meeting will be particularly significant.

Meetings, committees and forums

 

Through a series of forums and committees, some of them public, the International Arctic Science Committee (IASC), European Polar Board (EPB), Arctic Ocean Science Board (AOSB) and Pacific Arctic Group (PAG) will review the most recent discoveries in Arctic research and address new project plans. In addition, the Forum of Arctic Research Operators (FARO), Ny-Ålesund Science Managers Committee (NySMAC), International Permafrost Association (IPA) and the Arctic Council will also gather in Potsdam. Leading representatives of the Arctic Council will discuss results of, and required responses to the Arctic Climate Impact Assessment Report (ACIA), a study commissioned by the council addressing the situation of humans and environment in the Arctic. The Arctic Council is an intergovernmental forum with high-ranking representatives from the eight Arctic nations and scientific organisations.

 

A science day on Saturday, March 25 and a project day on Sunday, March 26 will be central to the event. March 25 will see the presentation of current issues focussing on the ‘Effects of climate change on the Arctic’. “Receding sea ice, melting glaciers and thawing permafrost, ecosystem changes and acute threats to animal species are some of the subjects that will be presented and discussed at the scientific symposium”, explains Prof Dr Hans-Wolfgang Hubberten from the Postdam research unit of the Alfred Wegener Institute and member of the national organising committee.

On March 26, planning of the International Polar Year 2007/2008 will be the focus of the day. Participants will discuss current research needs and coordinate the deployment of research vessels and ship time throughout the polar year. In addition, the agenda includes planning and establishment of observatories for long-term data recordings of climate-induced changes in the Arctic.

IPY

 

One year before the official start of the fourth International Polar Year on March 1, 2007, the countdown at the Alfred Wegener Institute has begun. Within this enormous project, thousands of scientists from all over the world will explore the Arctic and Antarctic. Particular emphasis is placed on the effect of polar regions on global climate, and the consequences of recent climate change. For this purpose, current environmental conditions in the polar regions are recorded across a broad spatial scale. The International Polar Year 2007-2008 was initiated by, and will be conducted under the patronage of the International Council for Science (ICSU) and the World Meteorological Organisation (WMO). With contributing scientists from over 60 nations, the International Polar Year represents the largest cooperative scientific event in history. Since preparations began in 2003, far more than a thousand project proposals have been submitted to the international planning team, and currently, some 400 of these have been accepted. Scientists of the Alfred Wegener Institute are participating, often in leading roles, in more than 50 of these international partnerships. One of Germany’s investments has been the construction of the new Antarctic station of the Alfred Wegener Institute. The remaining year until the official start of the Polar Year will be used primarily for intensive preparations, mutual coordination of scientific projects, and for logistic resource management.

 

ASSW
The Arctic Science Summit Week is held annually. Following the 2005 ASSW in Kunming, China, this year’s meeting is hosted jointly with the French Institut Polaire Français Paul Emile Victor. The Alfred Wegener Institute has taken responsibility for local organisation in Potsdam. Throughout the duration of meeting, scientific results from German research teams will be presented in poster format to a high-ranking international audience.

Additional information about the meeting is available at:
http://www.assw2006.de/assw2006/contact.html
Information about the science and project days can be accessed from:
http://www.assw2006.de/assw2006/science.html


Bremerhaven, March 15, 2006

Printable Images

Meereis

Meereis im arktischen Ozean

webprint

 

Lena-Delta

Lena-Delta polygons

webprint

 

Ice Wedge

Margin of an ice wedge close to the Laptew-See.

webprint

 

Scientists

Scientists explore arctic sea ice.

webprint

 

Ice berg

Iceberg in the Arctic

webprint

 

Polarstern

Research Ice-breaker Polarstern in the Arctic.

webprint

 

back to list

2. March 2006: The Arctic influences European climate

Advanced climate model forecasts more frequent cold winters
A new ocean-atmosphere-model allows enhanced statements of climate sensitivity. Calculations of the reflected solar radiation were improved. This is obviously the most important factor for the polar amplification of global warming. The simulation demonstrates a significant change in weather patterns in the North Atlantic region. Dry and cold winter could occur more frequently than hitherto expected. The model was developed in cooperation of the Alfred Wegener Institute, the GKSS und further institutions within an EU-project.

 

Sun, ice and snow
Polar regions significantly influence the global climate : Ice surfaces have a high ability to reflect solar radiation, the albedo. Surfaces covered by ice are warming significantly less than uncovered surfaces. If global warming decreases the ice cover, the albedo will sink and thus enhance further warming. Possible future changes in Arctic sea-ice cover and thickness, and corresponding changes in the ice-snow-albedo-feedback, represent one of the major uncertainties in the prediction of future temperature change.

Improved sea-ice and snow albedo feedbacks were tested firstly in a regional Arctic climate model and then in a global model with a coupled atmosphere-ocean-sea-ice system. “Modelling 500 years takes about two months”, explains Andreas Benkel from the GKSS research centre. “Usually ten year fragments are simulated, then backuped and restarted.”

 

Global consequences of Arctic climate processes
Results of the modelling demonstrate that a change in the polar energy sink region can exert a strong influence on the North Atlantic Oscillation (NAO). The NAO is explained by fluctuations between the Iceland low pressure system in the northern, and the Azores high pressure area in the southern North Atlantic. A positive and a negative phase is distinguished. A stronger wets-east-current in the North Atlantic accompanies the fluctuations in air pressure in the positive phase. Thus more warm and humid air reaches northern and middle Europe. In the negative phase, the west-east-current is weakened and more cold polar air is transported to Europe. The actually observed warming in winter corresponds to changes in teleconnection patterns in NAO or Arctic Oscillation (AO)”, explains Prof Dr Klaus Dethloff from the Alfred Wegener Institute.“ This global pattern of air pressure and temperature distribution has changed drastically during the last five decades. This resulted in significantly warmer winter and slightly cooler summer periods.”

The improved model predicts a trend towards a negative NAO-phase. “The improved parameterization of the climate shows, that global patterns in the middle troposphere are similar to those of NAO and AO”, says Klaus Dethloff. Those fluctuations have a strong impact on the European climate. The strength of storms and their tracks are influenced. Cold and dry winters could occur more frequently.

Source: Geophysical Research Letters, February 2006

Contact: Prof Dr Klaus Dethloff (Tel. +49 (331) 288-2104; email: dethloff@awi-potsdam.de))

Bremerhaven, March 2nd, 2006

Printable Images

Wind

Differences between new and old model in west-east-components of wind in ca. five Kilometres height. Yellow-red: the current in the new model is more west than in the old model, by contrast green-blue is more east.

webprint

 

Air pressure

Comparison of air pressure between old and new model. Red: higher mean air pressure, blue: lower. Left: Mean of first 250 winters of the 500-year run, right: Mean of the second 250 winters.

webprint

 

back to list

2. March 2006: Greenhouse gases from the deep sea

Methane from the bottom of the sea contributes more to global warming than previously assumed. Scientists of the Alfred Wegener Institute for Polar- and Marine Research investigated a mud volcano located in the deep-sea between Norway und Svalbard.

 

Methane 20-times more efficient than carbon dioxide
Greenhouse gases contribute significantly to present changes of the global climate. Carbon dioxide and methane are major greenhouse gases, whereby methane molecules do 20 times more efficiently prevent reverberation of heat into outer space.

The sources of methane are mostly known in terrestrial areas; however, oceanic emissions are much less investigated. Our knowledge is in particular poor concerning the amount of methane from oceanic sources that reaches the atmosphere. Hitherto scientists assumed that microorganisms almost immediately destroy methane emitted from the sea floor. Under this assumption methane from the deep-sea would have no impact on the climate.

 

Mud volcanoes emit methane to the atmosphere
A German-French-Russian cooperation under the leadership of the Alfred Wegener Institute actually found considerable quantities of deep-sea methane going into the atmosphere. Investigating of the active mud volcano Håkon Mosby between Norway and Svalbard, the scientists discovered a plume of methane bubbles 800 metres above sea floor. By means of optical and acoustical observations researchers found a upward water stream induced by the buoyancy of the bubbles. This upward stream transported methane to the ocean surface even beyond the depth of bubble dissolution. Scientists estimate that the Håkon Mosby mud volcano emits some hundred tons methane per year to the upper water column. „The number of submarine mud volcanoes is estimated to several thousands world-wide“, explains Eberhard Sauter, geochemist at the Alfred Wegener Institute. „Their contribution to the global methane budget might be important.“

Presently scientists develop an acoustical method to quantify the amount of methane discharged in such plumes. This method is hoped to ease detection and characterization of submarine methane sources. Precise data will optimise modelling of future climate development.

 

The scientific data are published in “Earth and Planetary Science Letters” and constitute a result of the cooperation between the Alfred Wegener Institute and its French partner institute Ifremer under participation of the Max Planck Institute for Marine Microbiology, Bremen and the Institute for Applied Physics at the Russian Academy of Sciences Nizhny Novgorod.

Contact: Dr. Eberhard Sauter (E-Mail: esauter@awi-bremerhaven.de, Tel: +49 (0)471 4831 1517)

Bremerhaven, March 2nd, 2006

Printable Images

Graphic

Acoustic image of a methane plume about 800 metres above Håkon Mosby.

webprint

 

Methane bubbles

Methane bubbles at Håkon Mosby mud volcano. Some hundred tons methane are emitted per year.

webprint

 

Victor 6000

The deep sea robot „Victor 6000“ of the french partner institute Ifremer allowed direct observation of the methane emission.

webprint

 

back to list

27. February 2006: 1981-2006: 25 Jahre Antarktisforschung an der Neumayer-Station

Printable Images

Georg-von-Neumayer-Station

1980 begann der Bau der Georg-von-Neumayer-Station

webprint

 

Georg-von-Neumayer-Station

Von 1981 bis 1992 diente die Georg-von-Neumayer-Station als wissenschaftliches Observatorium und Basis für Sommerexpeditionen in der Antarktis.

webprint

 

Neumayer-Station

Anfang der 1990er Jahre wurde die zweite Antarktisstation gebaut. Auch die Neumayer-Station wurde als Röhrenstation für eine ganzjährige Besatzung konzipiert.

webprint

 

Neumayer-Station

Saubere Energie in der Antarktis: Die Windkraftanlage der heutigen Neumayer-Station.

webprint

 

Neumayer-Station

Saubere Energie in der Antarktis: Die Windkraftanlage der heutigen Neumayer-Die Neumayer-Station liegt heute neun Meter unter dem Eis. Nur die Lüftungsschächte lassen noch eine Forschungsstation erkennen

webprint

 

Neumayer III

Die neue Antarktisstation Neumayer III steht auf Stelzen über dem Eis und soll 2008 in Betrieb gehen.

webprint

 

Messungen

Highlights aus 25 Jahren Messroutine

webprint

 

Jahresmitteltemperatur

Die Jahresmitteltemperatur an der Neumayer-Station (1982-2005).

webprint

 

back to list

20. February 2006: 150 Stunden über dem Eis - Polarflugzeug kehrt aus der Antarktis zurück

Printable Images

Polar 2

Polar 2 ist eine umgerüstete Dornier 228/101, die mit spezieller Messtechnik ausgestattet ist.

webprint

 

Polar 2

Nur aus der Luft sind Eisdickenmessungen in den unwirtlichen Gebieten der Antarktis machbar.

webprint

 

back to list

14. February 2006: Winged snails on a one-year diet

The winged snail Clione limacina, a small mollusc floating in the water, is able to go without food for a whole year. Investigations at the Alfred Wegener Institute for Polar and Marine Research demonstrate that the snail’s ability to survive extended periods without nutrition is based on a combination of an extremely low metabolic rate, the breakdown of body cells and the utilisation of special lipids. The unusual fat molecules are also stored in the outer dermal layers, where they probably have an antibacterial function.

In the oceans, winged snails can occur in high abundances, and they represent an important link in the marine food chain. The wing-like protrusions that have given the snails their name enable them to float in the water column. Together with numerous other animal species drifting in the current they constitute the zooplankton. The winged snail Clione limacina lives in oceans of temperate latitudes and in the Arctic. It feeds exclusively on another species of winged snail, Limacina helicina, which, in turn, consumes microalgae. The extreme degree of diet specialisation and the often uneven distribution of predator and prey in the ocean can lead to extended periods of starvation.

Special lipids to survive

 

Laboratory investigations at the Alfred Wegener Institute have shown that Clione synthesises substantial amounts of rare so-called ether lipids. “We were able to demonstrate that these ether lipids function as a long-term energy depot. During periods of starvation, they are metabolised much more slowly than triacylglycerols which occur more frequently in nature”, explains Dr Marco Böer. “In addition to that, the Arctic winged snail has by far the lowest metabolic activity of all marine invertebrates.” Not only are the high-energy lipids depleted during extended periods of starvation, but the snails also begin consuming their own body mass, shrinking in the process. As soon as the vegetarian sibling Limacina is available again, Clione takes advantage of the food and restocks its reserves. Up to 80 percent of the food is metabolized. Other marine animals often use only 20 percent.

Chemical defense against predators

 

Further investigations have revealed that ether lipids are embedded as droplets in the skin of the animals. In this location, these specialised lipids probably function in chemical defence against parasites. Similarly, the snail produces other chemical compounds, rare in the animal kingdom, to protect against predation. Pteroenone represents one of the molecules turning the snail into a distasteful bite for fish and other predators.

 

Nowadays, however, the survival of Clione limacine is threatened for completely different reasons. With globally increasing carbon dioxide concentrations, the oceans’ acidity is also on the rise. Even in the near future, this may prevent shell formation in Limacina helicina. With the disappearance of its only food source, Clione loses the base of its existence. The extinction of both winged snails would have consequences for the whole food web as both species represent important members of the food chain in the Arctic Ocean.


Bremerhaven, February 14, 2006

Your contact persons in the department 'Chemical Ecology' are: Prof. Gerhard Kattner und Dr. Martin Graeve

Printable Images

Clione

Lipid droplets in the epidermal layer serve as protection against predators

webprint

 

Clione

Once catched by Clione, there is way out.

webprint

 

Clione

To catch its particular prey, Clione uses its tentacles.

webprint

 

Clione limacina

Clione limacina with egg package.

webprint

 

Limacina helicina

Limacina helicina possesses a typical snail shell.

webprint

 

back to list

10. February 2006: Nach Drake zu Amundsen - Polarstern-Expedition in die Amundsensee

Printable Images

Pine-Island-Gletscher

Pine-Island-Gletscher und Thwaites-Gletscher in der südlichen Amundsen See.

webprint

 

CTD

In der Drake-Passage wurden Temperatur und Salzgehalt in verschiedenen Meerestiefen wurde mit Hilfe einer CTD-Sonde (Conductivity = Leitfähigkeit, Temperature = Temperatur, Depth = Tiefe) gemessen.

webprint

 

Polarstern

Der Forschungseisbrecher Polarstern.

webprint

 

back to list

20. January 2006: Successful completion of deep ice coring in the Antarctic

On January 17, 2006 an international team of scientists and technical staff under the leadership of the Alfred Wegener Institute for Polar and Marine Research has successfully completed the deep ice coring at the Alfred Wegener Institute’s Kohnen Station in Dronning Maud Land, Antarctica. Reaching a depth of 2774 metres, first on-site examinations of the ice core indicate that the ice cored at the deepest 200 metres is very old.

Climate data form the last 900.000 years

 

The investigations, carried out as part of the EPICA program (European Program for Ice Coring in Antarctica), were designed to gain detailed information about historic climate. Scientists are expecting the data to enhance the understanding of global climate events significantly. A detailed analysis in home laboratories will generate climate data with a very high temporal resolution in the core’s upper 2400 metres, covering the last glacial cycle. The cores retrieved from greater depths are presumably up to 900,000 years old. Such insights into the distant climate history of the Antarctic facilitate a deeper understanding of the significance of polar regions for global climate events, both in the past and at present.

 

Five years ice coring in the Antarctic
Deep ice coring projects represent long-term research programs. Exploratory work for EPICA, to determine a suitable drill site in Dronning Maud Land, began in 1996. It included extensive geophysical and glaciological investigations, both from the air and on the ground, in a previously unexplored region of the Antarctic.
After establishment of the drill site, construction of Kohnen summer station commenced in 1999 at 75°S and 0° 4’E, 2900 metres above sea level. During the final construction stages of the station in 2001, establishment of the drill site had already begun. The deep coring started in 2001/2002, and the core was sunk over four coring seasons. Throughout the entire depth, ice cores of remarkable quality could be retrieved.

Extreme conditions for man and mashine

 

Field work in the Antarctic creates not only scientific challenges. The operating conditions for people and technical equipment are extreme: during the summer months of December and January, prevailing temperatures at Kohnen Station range from minus 35°C to minus 20°C, and at the beginning of the current field season in November of 2005, temperatures below minus 50°C were recorded.

International Cooperation
The EPICA project is carried out by a consortium of research teams from ten European countries (Belgium, Denmark, Germany, Great Britain, France, Italy, the Netherlands, Norway, Sweden and Switzerland). EPICA is coordinated by the European Science Foundation (ESF) and financed through national contributions and EU funds. Currently, the lead management rests with Professor Heinrich Miller of the Alfred Wegener Institute. As early as December 2004, the first deep coring of the project, at Dome Concordia Station located on the inland ice plateau of the Eastern Antarctic, was completed five metres above bedrock at a depth of 3270 metres. Hence, after analysis of the core from Kohnen Station, two data sets will be available for comparison, enabling much better interpretation of the records.

Bremerhaven, January 20, 2006

Printable Images

EPICA-Drillingteam-2006

The 26 men and women of the coring team after completing field work.

webprint

 

Kohnen Station

The German Kohnen-Station in the Antarctic.

webprint

 

Ice-beard detail

Detailed look on the 'ice-beard'

webprint

 

'ice-beard'

The 'Ice beard' at the top of the driller results form melting water at teh bottom of the drilling hole.

webprint

 

Drilling hall

Coring procedures had been carried out in the hall of ice and snow.

webprint

 

Cleaning ice core

Cleaning of the core before detailed examination starts.

webprint

 

back to list

19. January 2006: Wärmerekord in der Arktis

Printable Images

Arktische Landschaft

Arktische Landschaft in der Polarnacht Ð vom Mondlicht beleuchtet.

webprint

 

Blaues Haus

Das "blaue Haus" (rechts), Bürogebäude der AWIPEV-Forschungsbasis, gegen Ende der Polarnacht.

webprint

 

Spitzbergen

Tiefhängende Wolken vor kantigen Bergen, die typische Landschaft von Spitzbergen

webprint

 

back to list

19. January 2006: Scientists expect increased melting of mountain glaciers

Sea level rise due to increased melting of mountain glaciers and polar ice caps will be much lower in the 21st Century than previously estimated. However, decay of mountain glaciers in due to global warming will be much more rapid than previously thought. These are the major results of a study conducted in cooperation with the Alfred-Wegener-Institute for Polar and Marine Research, which is published in the scientific magazine Nature.

 

Up to now scientists expected sea level rises of about 40 centimetres due to global climate change. Melting of polar ice caps and mountain glaciers contributes about a quarter, the rest is the result of expansion of ocean waters because of increased water temperature. The present study combines projections of future climate from global climate models to our models of glacier mass balance and volume. For the first time, scientists model the ice caps and the mountain glaciers separately.

 

“Our paper predicts a relatively low sea level rise from glaciers and icecaps, compared with earlier work, but the local effect of accelerated glacier melt is going to be very important”, says Dr Sarah Raper. “Indeed, it may already be increasing catastrophic damage in the form of glacier lake outbursts in high mountain regions like Nepal”.

“Projections of sea level rise in the 21st Century must be based on models informed by observations”, says Dr Roger Braithwaite. “We certainly need more data on glaciers. Neither the USA nor Canada has completed a national glacier inventory, so we had to model around the gaps in the data. We should at least get reliable information on the larger glaciers”.


Bremerhaven, January 19th, 2006

Reference: Nature 439/ 7074 (19th January 2006)

Your contact person is Dr. Sarah Raper (Tel.: +44 1603 592089; E-Mail: s.raper@uea.ac.uk)

Please send us a copy of any published version of this document.

Printable Images

Ice formation

Ice formation in the Antarctic near McMurdo

webprint

 

Glacier

Scientists expect increased melting of mountain glaciers

webprint

 

Elephant-foot glacier

The arctic elefant-foot glacier

webprint

 

back to list

17. January 2006: Das segelnde Klassenzimmer

Printable Images

Brigg Roald Amundsen

Die Brigg Roald Amundsen verfügt über 850 Quadratmeter Segelfläche und wird vor allem für Jugend- und Bildungsreisen eingesetzt.

webprint

 

Lovis trifft Polarstern

Im letzten Jahr führte der Traditionssegler "Lovis" die HIGHSEA Schüler in die arktische Barentssee und zu einem Treffen mit "Polarstern" auf hoher See.

webprint

 

Schule Experimente

Auch in Bremerhaven gilt: Wissenschaftliche Experimente machen Schule spannend.

webprint

 

back to list

16. January 2006: Deutsch-französische Zusammenarbeit im Antarktischen Zirkumpolarstrom

Printable Images

Drake

Durch die Drake-Passage zwischen Suedamerika und Antarktis stroemt der Antarktische Zirkumpolarstrom

webprint

 

Polarstern

Polarstern bei der Versorgung der Neumayer-Station.

webprint

 

Krill

Krill hat eine Schluesselrolle im antarktischen Nahrungsnetz.

webprint

 

back to list

27. November 2006: Unerhört 65 - Frühling unterm Eis

Printable Images

PALAOA w

webprint

 

back to list

24. November 2006: Polarstern to explore uncharted seafloor

 

Atmospheric global warming has resulted in significant environmental changes on the Antarctic Peninsula and throughout Western Antarctica. Glaciers are melting and the Larsen ice shelves are collapsing. An interesting consequence: areas which were previously covered by ice shelves several hundred meters thick are now accessible to researchers!

 
Collapse of the Larsen Ice-shelf.

A place never investigated before
Huge areas of sea floor (around 3,250 km2) have been freed up by the collapse 4 years ago of the Larsen B platform along the Antarctic Peninsula – leaving a blank spot on Antarctic maps. Polarstern, the research flagship of the Alfred Wegener Institute for Polar and Marine Research, will shortly conduct there the first major biological research, studying living communities, from microbes to whales, including bottom fish and squids.

Outreach opportunity: a media contact officer on board
A major anticipated expedition outcome will be extensive media coverage of research findings.
* Through a media contact officer onboard, in direct contact with the AWI chief scientist an his team of researchers assisted by 2 journalists on land,
* Through striking visuals obtained through state-of-the-art technology such as a remotel operated vehicle equipped with video camera and a high-resolution deep-sea still camera,
* Through regular contact with global media via satellite,
The Polarstern expedition will increase and improve general knowledge of polar issues and engage the public in polar discovery.

 

A run upt to the International Polar Year (IPY)
With 47 scientists onboard from more than a dozen different nationalities, the Polarstern expedition brings
together an international network of research programs that will focus on the biological characteristics of this blank spot, from November 2006 to January 2007. One of the major contributors to the the Census of Antarctic Marine Life (CAML), Polarstern’s voyage will be a major event in the IPY, and open the way for further polar expeditions.



Cooperation for Public relations

The Alfred Wegener Institute cooperates on this Polarstern expedition with the different institutions to bring the themes of polar science to a broad public. Following institutions are part of the cooperation:

Census of Marine Life (CoML)
The Census of Marine Life is a growing global network of researchers in more than 70 nations engaged in a 10-year initiative to assess and explain the diversity, distribution, and abundance of marine life in the oceans - past, present, and future. www.coml.org

Census of Antarctic marine life (CAML)
The Census of Antarctic Marine Life, which is part of the global Census of Marine Life, will investigate the distribution and abundance of Antarctica’s vast marine biodiversity to develop a benchmark for the benefi t of humankind. As one of the main International Polar Year endorsed initiatives, the Census of Antarctic Marine Life will be the biggest Antarctic marine science program ever undertaken, investigating all regions, biomes and habitats. www.caml.aq

The Cousteau Society (TCS)

The Cousteau Society is an international organization created by Jacques-Yves Cousteau in 1973, focusing, among other goals, on the equilibrium between Humanity and Nature on the World’s oceans. TCS has three decades of international experience documenting and communicating the value of natural resources, including within the polar realms. TCS has a strong legacy of preserving Antarctica, which includes Captain Cousteau’s worldwide petition that helped keep Antarctica as a “natural reserve, land of science and peace”. www.cousteau.org

International Polar Foundation (IPF)
The International Polar Foundation communicates and educates on polar research as a way to understand key environmental and climate mechanisms. It will use the International Polar Year as a powerful tool to get its message across a wide audience. Beside its outreach mission for international media, the IPF scientific officer onboard will make the follow-up of the expedition accessible to the youth through its “Educapoles” website. www.polarfoundation.org and www.educapoles.org

The Polar embassy

The Polar Embassy is an offi cial International Polar Year education and outreach project linking scientific knowledge to the public at large. It focuses on topics related to polar areas, sustainable development and global climate change, and their links “From Local to Polar”. The Polar Embassy has developed participative actions to raise awareness and educate through a program spanning from 2006 to 2009 and beyond. Some participants will have the opportunity to join exceptional expeditions in the Arctic and Antarctica, onboard a polar vessel, the wandering “Polar Embassy”. They will hereafter be entitled “Polar Ambassadors” and endowed with the task of spreading the word about polar regions anf their importance for the planet.

 

The intinerary:
Departure - November 23, 2006: Capetown
The Polarstern leaves Cape Town, South Africa, heading towards the Weddell Sea (1).

December 4/5 To December 14, 2006: Neumayer station
The Polarstern stops in the Atka Bay in order to supply the German Neumayer Research Station (2).

December 14 To January 26, 2006: Antarctic Peninsula
The fi rst investigations, on living resources (CCAMLR), take place on the western side of the Antarctic Peninsula, around the South Shetland Islands (3).

The subsequent ecological work (CAML) is located around the Larsen A/B area. If the sea ice is not penetrable, an alternative area around Joinville Island will be used instead (4).

Arrival– January 30, 2007: Punta Arenas

The Polarstern will end its expedition in Punta Arenas, Chile on January 30, 2007 (5).

Science Programme: 25 different research projects will be undertaken by 47 scientists, encompassing disciplines as diverse as benthology, planktonology, taxonomy, ecology, physiology, biogeochemistry, genetics, bathymetry, etc.

 

Fisheries management
The first part of the expedition will focus on biological investigations on fish stocks as a contribution to the Convention on the Conservation of Antarctic Marine Living Resources (CCAMLR, www.ccamlr.org), following a dozen similar surveys since 1976. Researchers will monitor previously fished areas located in the western part of the Antarctic Peninsula to determine the state of stock recovery.

Global warming and ice shelf collapse
When Antarctic glaciers reach the coast of the continent, they begin to float and become ice shelves, from which icebergs are then calved. Since 1974, a total of 13,500 km2 of ice shelves have disintegrated in the Antarctic Peninsula, a phenomenon linked to the regional temperature rise of more than 2°C in these past 50 years. An increasing number of scientists worry that similar break-ups in other areas could lead to increases in ice flow and cause sea level to rise dramatically. The final collapse of the Larsen B platform in February 2002 is the latest and the biggest of these catastrophic events tentatively related to global warming, freeing an additional 3,250 km2 of sea bottom of an ice cover that has been estimated to be there for at least 5,000 years.

 

Evolution of bottom fauna
Meanwhile, the vanishing ice allowing vegetal and animal plankton to reinvade and thrive in these areas offers a perfect opportunity to study the evolution of bottom animal communities depending on this plankton. Sampling with various trawls, grabs and traps and the use of a remote operated vehicle with a video camera will allow the description of new species within this near-pristine environment. A dozen scientific studies will look into groups as different as microbes, sponges, crustaceans, octopuses, starfish and whales, from the grounding line to the open sea areas, and will furthermore give the best benchmark of the early stages of colonization. These studies could become a reference for other parts of Antarctica where such disintegration of ice shelves is already expected on how climate-induced shifts in biodiversity will change in ecosystems structured largely by ice.

Mud volcanoes
The expedition will also lead the first biological studies of a recently discovered cold-vent ecosystem in the same Larsen area, the first of its kind known in Antarctica. Uncovered in 2005 by an American geoscience research team, this 8 km2 zone harbors mounds spewing out fluid and mud particles, and hosts clusters of large clams. These mollusks and their associated fauna probably depend on chemical energy from the interior of the Earth, rather than one driven by photosynthesis from the sun or from hot emissions rising from inside the planet.

Bremerhaven, November 24, 2006

In case of publication, please provide a copy.

Notes for editors: For further information from Alfred Wegener Institute please contact Dr Angelika Dummermuth (+49(0)471 4831 1742; email medien@awi-bremerhaven.de).

The Alfred Wegener Institute carries out research in the Arctic and Antarctic as well as in the high and mid latitude oceans. The institute coordinates German polar research and makes available to international science important infrastructure, e.g. the research ice breaker “Polarstern” and research stations in the Arctic and Antarctic. AWI is one of 15 research centres within the Helmholtz-Gesellschaft, Germany’s largest scientific organization.

Printable Images

Polarstern in Antarctica

Polarstern in Antarctica

webprint

 
Collapse of the Larsen Ice-shelf.

Collapse of the Larsen Ice-shelf.

Collapse of the Larsen Ice-shelf.

webprint

 

Polarstern Eisberg

de: Polarstern hinter einem Eisberg
en: Polarstern behind an iceberg

webprint

 

Karte Map

Die Kohnen Station liegt bei 75°00’ S und 00°04’ O ist eine Sommerstation im Dronning Maud Land in der Antarktis.
Map of the expedition

webprint

 

Eisfisch

de: Eisfisch; rechte untere Ecke: Seegurken, die besonders an das Leben auf den Stacheln von Lanzenseeigeln angepasst sind
en: Ice fish; right lower corner: sea-cucumbers especially adapted for life on spines of a pencl sea urchin.

webprint

 

Hornkoralle

de: Eine typische Vergesellschaftung am Boden des Weddelmeer-Schelfes: Auf einer Hornkoralle- sozusagen in der Bel-Etage, um besten Zugriff auf vorbeistroemende Nahrungspartikel zu haben- leben Haarsterne und durch ihre fast weissen Arme auffallende Schlangensterne.
en: Typical biocoenosis on the ground of the Weddell sea shelf

webprint

 

back to list

7. July 2006: Wo Meereswissenschaft zur Kunst wird

Printable Images

Korallenriff

Korallenriff im Roten Meer: Auffällig sind die leuchtend rote Koralle und die farbenprächtige Nacktschnecke.

webprint

 

Leopardenhai

Leopardenhai und Schiffshalter leben in trauter Harmonie zusammen.

webprint

 

Pfauenaugenbutt

Ein perfekt an seine Umgebung angepasster Pfauenaugenbutt.

webprint

 

back to list

14. December 2005: Sommerforschung in der Antarktis

Printable Images

Kohnen Station

The German Kohnen-Station in the Antarctic.

webprint

 

Schneefräse

Auch die Schneefräse kann nicht verhindern, dass die Neumayer Station jedes Jahr ein wenig tiefer im Schnee liegt. Photo: Alfred-Wegener-Institut

webprint

 

Transportmaschine Iljushin 76

Mit russischen Iljushin 76 Transportmaschinen gelangen Wissenschaftler und Teile der Ausrüstung von Kapstadt nach Nowolazarewskaja in der Antarktis. Foto: Sepp Kipfstuhl

webprint

 

Dallmann-Labor

Das Dallmann Labor in der argentinischen Jubany Station auf der antarktischen Halbinsel wird vor allem von Biologen genutzt. Foto: Christian Wiencke

webprint

 

back to list

12. December 2005: Datenbank für südamerikanische Fischer

Printable Images

Garnelen

Garnelen der Art Xiphopenaeus riveti sind die wirtschaftlich wichtigste Gruppe der wirbellosen Einwanderer während El Niño. Foto: Wolf Arntz

webprint

 

Laguna Grande

Laguna Grande, Pisco Bucht, Peru. Photo: Wolf Arntz

webprint

 

Fischerhafen Samanco

Fischerhafen Samanco südlich von Chimbote, Peru. Fischnetze werden für die neue Ressource Garnelen umgebaut. Foto: Wolf Arntz

webprint

 

Probenanalyse

Probenanalyse und Artbestimmung im Labor. Foto: Jose Velez

webprint

 

back to list

9. December 2005: AWI-Schülerlabor begrüßt tausendste Schülerin

Am 12. Dezember 2005 begrüßt das Alfred-Wegener-Institut für Polar- und Meeresforschung die tausendste Schülerin im Schülerlabor SEASIDE. Das Projekt richtet sich an alle Altersstufen. Zurzeit wird dieses ein- oder mehrtägige Lernangebot zu polaren und marinen Themen insbesondere von Grundschulen genutzt.

 

Die tausendste Teilnehmerin heißt Brianna und besucht die vierte Klasse der Goetheschule in Bremerhaven. Bereits zum sechsten Mal ist die Klasse zu Gast im Alfred-Wegener-Institut. Seite an Seite mit Wissenschaftlern des Instituts bearbeiten die Schülerinnen und Schüler Themen wie „Warum schwimmen manche schweren Gegenstände, während andere - sehr leichte Dinge - einfach untergehen“, oder „Lässt sich Wasser stapeln?“. Durch eigene Vermutungen und mit vielen freien Experimenten erforschen die Teilnehmer auch die Ursachen ihrer Beobachtungen. Das seit 2003 angebotene Projekt SEASIDE (Science and Education @ the AWI: Single Day Experiments) soll den normalen Schulunterricht nicht ersetzen, sondern bietet eine Unterstützung und Ergänzung auf hohem Niveau an. Das Altersspektrum der Teilnehmer umfasst Gruppen aus dem Kindergarten ebenso wie zwölfte Klassen aus dem Gymnasium. Den weitaus größten Anteil haben zur Zeit Schüler der dritten und vierten Klasse.

 

„Wir wollen den Kindern zeigen, dass Lernen sehr viel Spaß machen kann. Die Kinder arbeiten durchweg sehr konzentriert und fleißig an ihren Themen. Fast nebenbei wird dabei das erlernte Wissen nachhaltig verankert“, erklärt Dr. Susanne Gatti, wissenschaftliche Koordinatorin der Schulprojekte am Alfred-Wegener-Institut. „Um das zu erreichen, ist eine intensive Vorbereitung mit den Klassenlehrern unumgänglich.“ Dass das Programm den Kindern Spaß macht und auch bei den Lehrern gut ankommt, zeigt sich daran, dass sich deutlich mehr Klassen anmelden, als aufgenommen werden können.

 

Die Unterstützung der Bremerhavener Schulen durch das Alfred-Wegener-Institut endet nicht bei den Grundschulen, sondern setzt sich bis zum Abschluss des Abiturs fort. Im Projekt HIGHSEA (High School of Science and Education @ the AWI) verbringen Schüler ab der 11. Klasse drei Jahre lang wöchentlich zwei Tage im Alfred-Wegener-Institut. Neben den naturwissenschaftlichen Fächern lernen sie auch Englisch. Im Sommer 2005 hat die erste Gruppe ihr Abitur mit sehr gutem Erfolg abgeschlossen. Die Unterrichtsgestaltung und Schwerpunktsetzung des fächerübergreifenden Gemeinschaftsprojekts von Bremerhavener Schulamt und Alfred-Wegener-Institut wurde zuletzt im November dieses Jahres von der Industrie- und Handelskammer Bremerhaven mit dem Stiftungspreis der Wirtschaft ausgezeichnet. Am 14. Dezember findet im Alfred-Wegener-Institut eine Informationsveranstaltung für Bewerbungen auf den nächsten, inzwischen fünften, HIGHSEA Jahrgang statt.

Weitere Informationen zu den Schulprojekten des Alfred-Wegener-Instituts finden sich unter http://www.awi-bremerhaven.de/ClickLearn/SchoolProject/SEA_index_d.html, Ansprechpartner ist Dr. Susanne Gatti.

Bremerhaven, den 9. Dezember 2005

Bitte senden Sie uns bei Veröffentlichung einen Beleg.

Printable Images

Vorbereitung

Vorbereiten von Wasserlösungen mit verschiedenen Salzgehalten. Foto: Alfred-Wegener-Institut

webprint

 

Wasser stapeln

Gefärbtes Wasser unterschiedlicher Temperaturen und Salzgehalte schichtet sich im Reagenzglas wie die großen Meeresströmungen in den Ozeanen. Foto: Alfred-Wegener-Institut

webprint

 

Auftrieb

Manche der Gegenstände schwimmen, kommen aber nicht wieder an die Oberfläche zurück wenn sie einmal untergetaucht sind. Foto: Alfred-Wegener-Institut

webprint

 

back to list

25. November 2005: Ice harmonies

Vibrations originating from an iceberg were recorded seismographically at the Antarctic Neumayer Station by scientists of the Alfred Wegener Wegener Institute for Polar and Marine Research and ‘Fielax’, a private business. The recorded vibrations produce harmonic sounds with up to 30 overtones. However, the sounds are not audible to the human ear because of the tones’ low register. The data might facilitate a better understanding of the processes in volcanoes where vibration patterns are similar.

Results might help vulcanologists

 

The scientists are analysing the results of their measurements in a study just published in the scientific journal Science. Initially, volcanic activity was thought to cause the low frequency vibrations; so-called ‘tremors’. However, comparisons of seismic soundings revealed movement of the source of the vibrations. By means of satellite imagery, a giant iceberg covering an area of 30 by 50 kilometres, was identified as the cause.

The researchers suspect that water flowing within the iceberg’s system of crevasses and tunnels, is stimulating elastic vibrations, similar to those of an organ pipe. “Understanding these recordings that are so comparable to volcanic tremors might in turn also help volcanologists to explain the causes of volcanic tremors”, surmises Christian Müller from Fielax GmbH. “In contrast to complex volcanic systems, icebergs have a simpler structure.”

 

13 hours tremor
The most spectacular of a total of eleven events was recorded on July 22, 2000 and lasted for 16 hours. It was triggered by two brief earthquakes, which could be localised and were the result of a collision of an iceberg identified as B-09A with the continental slope. Subsequently, a two-hour sequence of seismic signals with highly variable frequencies was followed by an one-hour seismic pause. The subsequent harmonic tremor lasted 13 hours. The seismic sounds were caused either by continuing collisions of the iceberg scraping alongside the continental slope, or by incursions within the iceberg.

As early as1987, this particular iceberg had fractured from Ross Ice Shelf. On its way around Antarctica it had been beached twice for several years, before, in 2000, it drifted westward past the Alfred Wegener Institute’s Neumayer Station. In addition to the harmonic features of the tremors recorded from B-09A, their intensity was particularly notable. The vibrations were detected seismically over a distance of 800 kilometres and their strength is comparable to volcanic tremors by Mount St Helens, for instance, or by Hawaiian volcanoes.

The article „Singing icebergs“ will be published November 25 in “Science” (Vol. 310, issue 5752).

Your contact person is: Dr. Christian Müller.

Bremerhaven, November 24, 2005.

Please send us a copy of any published version of this document.

Printable Images

Iceberg

Probably tremors originated from the extended crevice-systems on the surface and in particular the borders of iceberg B-09. Photo: RADARSAT-Aufnahme der Canadian Space Agency

webprint

 

Iceberg

A complex of tubes and crevices characterizes the internal structure of many icebergs. Photo: Alfred-Wegener-Institut

webprint

 

Olymp

The autonomous seismometer VNA3, also called "Olymp", constitutes one of the stations in a seismological network. It is located about 100 kilometres southwest of the Neumayer Station. Photo: Alfred-Wegener-Institut

webprint

 

"Watzmann"

Like an antenna do the 16 in defined geometry ordered seismometers of VNA2 "Watzmann" serve as receptor for seismic signals. Photo: Alfred-Wegener-Institut

webprint

 

back to list

25. November 2005: Close coupling of climate with green house gases in the past

Never before during the past 650,000 years, have concentrations of green house gases been as high as today. The warm climate periods between 650,000 and 420,000 years ago were characterised by even lower carbon dioxide and methane concentrations than subsequent warm periods. This is one of the conclusions drawn by a European team of researchers with contribution from scientists of the Alfred Wegener Institute for Polar and Marine Research, after analysis of an ice core from Antarctica. The results extend previous data on historic concentrations of carbon dioxide, methane and nitrous oxide in the atmosphere by 250,000 years.

 

In two studies published in the scientific journal Science, researchers from the University of Bern, together with their colleagues from France and Germany, demonstrate that, over the past 650,000 years, low green house gas concentrations have been associated also with cooler conditions. “The link between temperature and carbon dioxide, as well as methane concentrations in the past is surprisingly constant over time. Only through the impact of humans during the last centuries, atmospheric green house gases have been raised above their natural levels”, explains Dr Hubertus Fischer of the Alfred Wegener Institute. Prof Dr Thomas Stocker of the Physics Institute at the University of Bern in Switzerland adds: “The analysis highlights the fact that the current concentration of atmospheric carbon dioxide, 0.38 volume parts per thousand, already exceeds the highest level recorded over the past 650,000 years by 27 percent.”

 

As part of the European Project for Ice Coring in Antarctica (EPICA), the ice core was retrieved from the Antarctic plateau at Dome C. Ultimately, ice cores date back to individual snowfalls which, over time, have been transformed into glacial ice. Approximately ten percent of teh volume of an ice core consists of air bubbles trapped among the ice crystals. By analysing the trapped air, as well as the chemical composition and the physical properties of the ice, scientists are able to draw conclusions about atmospheric processes and climate changes in the past.

The drilling at Dome C was completed in the past winter. Hence, even older ice is available for further measurements. The glaciologists estimate that the ice cores not yet analysed contain undisturbed climatic history dating back approximately 900,000 years. The EPICA project is carried out by a consortium of ten European countries (Belgium, Denmark, Germany, Great Britain, France, Italy, the Netherlands, Norway, Sweden and Switzerland). EPICA is coordinated under the umbrella of the European Science Foundation (ESF) and funded by the participating countries and the European Union. EPICA’s goal is to obtain two ice cores, extending all the way to the underlying bedrock, from the Antarctic inland ice. Apart from drilling at Dome C (75° 06’S, 123° 21’E), a second core, currently at a depth of 2565 metres, is being taken at Kohnen Station in Dronning Maud Land (75°00'S, 00°04'E).

 

The Alfred Wegener Institute is the German EPICA partner and carries responsibility for the coring in Dronning Maud Land. Presently, the European researchers are, once again, in the Antarctic to complete drilling this season and reach the bedrock. The project EPICA represents one of the central projects within the research concept ‘Ocean, Coastal and Polar Systems’, part of the research field ‘Earth and Environment’ at the Helmholtz Association. Dr Hubertus Fischer directs a team of young researchers at the Alfred Wegener Institute. He coordinates working groups investigating the air trapped in ice cores.

The articles “Stable Carbon Cycle-Climate Relationship During the Late Pleistocene” and “Atmospheric Methane and Nitrous Oxide of the Late Pleistocene from Antarctic Ice Cores” will be published November 25 in “Science” (vol. 310, issue 5752).

Your contact person is: Dr. Hubertus Fischer (0471-4831 1174).

Bremerhaven, November 24, 2005.

Please send us a copy of any published version of this document.

Printable Images

Bubbles

Approximately ten percent of the ice cores consist of air bubbles containing the atmosphere of previous times. Photo: Chris Gilbert, British Antarctic Survey

webprint

 

Kohnen Station

Kohnen Station of the Alfred Wegener Institute is only occupied during the Antarctic summer. Photo: Alfred-Wegener-Institut

webprint

 

Map

The map shows locations for EPICA corings at Dome C and Kohnen Station in Antarctica. Photo: Alfred-Wegener-Institut

webprint

 

back to list

11. November 2005: Neuauflage von Wegeners „Entstehung der Kontinente“

Printable Images

Entstehung der Kontinente und Ozeane

Die Neuauflage von Alfred Wegeners "Die Entstehung der Kontinente und Ozeane" ist jetzt im Buchhandel zu kaufen. Photo: Alfred-Wegener-Institut

webprint

 

Dr. Reinhard Krause

Dr. Reinhard Krause bei einem Besuch in Uumanaq auf Grönland. Eine Gedenktafel erinnert an den Aufbruch der Deutschen Grönlandexpedition Alfred Wegeners im Jahre 1930. Photo: Alfred-Wegener-Institut

webprint

 

back to list

11. November 2005: Studienpreis für Aquakultur in Offshore-Windparks

Printable Images

Zuckertang

Der Zuckertang Laminaria saccharina wird unter anderem in der Naturkosmetik verwendet. Foto: Bela Buck

webprint

 

Miesmuscheln

Kollektoren bieten den jungen Miesmuscheln den festen Untergrund zum Anwachsen. Foto: Bela Buck

webprint

 

Miesmuscheln

Später kommen sie als Meeresfrüchte auf den Tisch: junge Miesmuscheln. Photo: Bela Buck

webprint

 

back to list

21. October 2005: Death on the eternal ice

Alfred Wegener Institute honours name patron

On the occasion of Alfred Wegener’s 125th birthday and the 75th anniversary of his death, the Alfred Wegener Institute for Polar and Marine Research commemorates the German polar researcher and geoscientist whom the institute is named after. Marking the anniversary, the Alfred Wegener Institute is hosting a scientific symposium from October 30th to November 2nd. A film series ‘Research and adventure on the ice – Alfred Wegener in film’ containing original footage of the 1929 and 1930 expeditions, will be shown at Atlantis cinema in Bremerhaven on October 30, and at Cinema 46 in Bremen on November 1.

 

Wegener’s work
Alfred Wegener authored approximately 70 articles and books relating to astronomy, meteorology, climatology and geology. He is considered founder of the theory of continental drift and, in 1915, published ‘The origin of continents and oceans’. Only the book’s 3rd edition from 1922, translated into several languages, was acknowledged internationally, but received a predominantly negative response. In the mid 1960s, approximately 30 years after Wegener’s death, his ideas found unreserved recognition among the scientific community through the extended model of plate tectonics. Wegener’s diverse interests and his interdisciplinary efforts continue to provide a shining example for science to date. In the preface to the 4th edition of his ‘Origin of continents and oceans’ he writes: “Only by integrating all geosciences we can hope to discover the truth, i.e. to find the picture which represents the total of known facts in the greatest order and hence deserves the claim for highest likelihood.” The Alfred Wegener Institute has instigated a new edition of the first and fourth version of the book ‘The origin of continents and oceans’. It is supplemented by additional indices and will soon be released on the market.

Ice drama
Wegener’s main interest was in meteorology. Using kite and balloon launches he pioneered meteorological research, especially on his expeditions to Greenland. During the fourth expedition in 1930, a one-year recording of weather and ice conditions all the way across the inland ice of Greenland, and making use of three stations, had been planned under his leadership. However, the expedition was ill-fated from the start. Initially, drifting ice delayed unloading of the 98 ton equipment until June of 1930. Subsequently, the motorised propeller sleds, employed for the first time, did not meet expectations; and the remote station ‘Inland Ice’ could not be supplied sufficiently.

 

On September 21, 1930 Wegener himself leads a rescue mission with 15 dog sleds, later reduced to three sleds at kilometre 151 following bad weather conditions. In a letter he writes “that life is now on the line” for his friends at station ‘Inland Ice’. He continues his journey with only two companions and reaches the station on October 30, 1930. After celebrating Alfred Wegener’s 50th birthday at station ‘Inland Ice’ on November 1st, Wegener and his companion Rasmus Villumsen begin their return trip to the western station. Neither of the two ever reaches his destination alive. In an obituary about Alfred Wegener, Hans Benndorf writes: “He was a person of flawless character, unadorned simplicity and rare modesty. At the same time, he was a man of action, who, in pursuing an ideal goal, achieved the extraordinary by means of his iron will power and tenacity while putting his life at risk”.

 

Wegener’s legacy
Both, the Alfred Wegener Foundation for the Advancement of the Geosciences, founded in 1980, now GeoUnion Alfred Wegener Foundation, and the Alfred Wegener Institute for Polar and Marine Research (AWI), established in the same year, were named after Alfred Wegener. At AWI, scientists are exploring the polar regions and the oceans of our planet. From October 30th to November 2nd, 140 scientists will gather in Wegener’s memory for the second International Alfred Wegener Symposium.

The Alfred Wegener Institute library oversees the ‘Alfred Wegener Archive’, owned by a foundation of the same name. It is a collection of Wegener’s works and Wegner-biographies. In addition, the Wegener family has left documents and records about Alfred Wegener’s life to the institute. The belongings of two members of the Greenland expedition, Johannes Georgi, leader of station ‘Inland Ice’ and Fritz Loewe who accompanied Wegner on his way to the station, constitute the main body of the archive. The archive continues to be expanded through purchases and donations.

Alfred Wegener Film Festival

 

In cooperation with several municipal cultural associations (Kommunales Kino Bremerhaven e.V.’, ‘Stadtkultur im DLZ Grünhöfe’ and ‘Kino 46’ in Bremen), the Alfred Wegener Institute will present a film series with productions on Alfred Wegener and his expeditions to the polar regions little known at the time. Screenings will take place on October 30th at Atlantis cinema, Hafenstr. 144, in Bremerhaven, and on November 1 at Cinema 46, Waller Heerstr. 46, in Bremen. The Alfred Wegener Film Festival represents a joint event of the 25th anniversary celebration of the Alfred Wegener Institute and the ‘City of Science 2005’.

Programme at Atlantis cinema, October 30, 2005
11:00 – 12:20 The great ice (78 min)
13:00 – 13:35 German Greenland expedition Alfred Wegener Part I-III (35 min silent film with live accompaniment by Guido Solarek, piano)
14:00 – 14:25 The German Greenland expedition Alfred Wegener (22 min FWU)
15:00 – 16:30 SOS Iceberg (90 min)
Programme at Cinema 46 Bremen, November 1, 2005
18:00 – 18:35 German Greenland expedition Alfred Wegener Part I-III (35 min silent film with live accompaniment by Guido Solarek, piano)
19:00 – 20:20 The great ice (78 min)
20:30 – 20:50 The German Greenland expedition Alfred Wegener (22 min FWU)
21:00 – 22.30 SOS Iceberg (90 min)

Bremerhaven, October 20, 2005
Suggestion for editors:
Your contact person is Dr Reinhard Krause (Tel: ++49-471-4831-1924, email: rkrause@awi-bremerhaven.de) and, in the public relations department, Dr Angelika Dummermuth (Tel: ++49-471-4831-1742, email: medien@awi-bremerhaven.de). Printable images can be found on our webpage at www.awi-bremerhaven.de/AWI/Presse/PM/index-d.html.
The Foundation Alfred Wegener Institute for Polar and Marine Research (AWI) conducts research in the Arctic, Antarctic and in oceans of temperate and high latitudes. The AWI coordinates polar research in Germany, and provides important infrastructure, such as the research icebreaker ‘Polarstern’, for international scientific enterprises. The AWI is one of 15 research centres of the 'Helmholtz-Gemeinschaft' (Helmholtz Association), the largest scientific organisation in Germany.

Printable Images

Alfred Wegener

Wladimir Köppen in obituary of Alfred Wegener 1931: „His great silence, willing to make sacrifices and friendly justice made him to a qualified leader of expedition. Photo: Alfred-Wegener-Institut

webprint

 

Alfred Wegener

Alfred Wegener 1930. Photo: Alfred-Wegener-Institut

webprint

 

Rise of a balloon

Rise of a meteorological balloon. Photo: Alfred-Wegener-Institut

webprint

 

Wegener's Grave

Wegeners brother Kurt brings the expedition to an end. In may 1931 Wegener is found, they build up a mausoleum of snow, and a cross out of boring tools. Meanwhile everything is sunk in deep of greenland ice. Photo: Alfred-Wegener-Institut

webprint

 

Scooter

Scooter with propeller. Photo: Alfred-Wegener-Institut

webprint

 

back to list

21. October 2005: Grönland bald ohne Eis?

Printable Images

Eislandschaft

Imposante Eislandschaft vor Grönland. Foto: Alfred-Wegener-Institut

webprint

 

Eisformation

Noch gibt es die bizarren Eisformationen im Nordpolarmeer. Photo: Alfred-Wegener-Institut

webprint

 

back to list

14. October 2005: Science tracing Wegener’s tracks

From October 30th to November 2nd, scientists will be gathering for the second International Alfred Wegener Symposium in Bremerhaven. During the three-day meeting, approximately 140 scientists from eleven countries will report on topical issues from various research fields, including plate tectonics, geosciences, meteorology, paleoclimatology, glaciology, history of science and geo-topics of the future.

AWI/Presse/PM/pm05-2.hj/Pics/Symposium-w.jpgThe conference, marking Alfred Wegener’s 125th birthday and the 75th anniversary of his death, will take place at the Alfred Wegener Institute for Polar and Marine Research and at the Deutsches Schiffahrtsmuseum in Bremerhaven. Alfred Lothar Wegener, German polar researcher and founder of the theory of continental drift, was born in Berlin on November 1, 1880. His ideas and research results have improved our knowledge of weather (meteorology), ice (glaciology) and stars (astronomy), as well as our understanding of geology and geophysics. To date, Wegener is still considered one of the most important German polar researchers, and his theory of drifting continents has been visionary. At only fifty years of age, Wegener died in early November 1930 on the Greenland ice.

From tsunamis to the birth of the moon
The opening presentation at the symposium will be given by Alfred Wegener’s grandson: Dr Günther Schönhartig will review the history and future perspectives of continental drift research. A total of 50 oral and 70 poster presentations will provide ample stimuli for discussion and exchange of ideas. The event will be the second of its kind since the original symposium in 1980. Aside from a historical review, emphasis will be placed on the current state of knowledge and the future perspectives of Wegener’s research fields. Presentation topics include tsunamis, a map of tectonically active regions on earth (world stress map), the causes for the melting of the Greenland ice shield, the microclimate of glaciers and a new theory about the genesis of the moon.

Wegener’s heirs
Wegener’s scientific approaches and especially his way of thinking across disciplinary boundaries continue to provide direction. At the Alfred Wegener Institute, atmospheric physics, glaciology and plate tectonics are the research areas particularly fostered. Apart from a better understanding of the scientific fundaments, scientists also expect insights and better predictions in relation to currently occurring global climate changes.

Alongside the symposium, congress participants and invited guests will have the opportunity to attend a gala event on November 1st at Bremerhaven’s city theatre, celebrating the great polar researcher through music, theatre and historic film presentations. Media representatives will be able to register for attendance of the symposium and gala event.

Further information about the second International Alfred Wegener Symposium is available at:
http://www.alfred-wegener-symposium.de/

Contact: Dr. Martina Kunz-Pirrung
Tel. 0471/4831-1236
E-Mail: mpirrung@awi-bremerhaven.de


back to list

10. October 2005: Polarstern für 19 Monate ins antarktische Eis

Printable Images

Polarstern

Polarstern in der Antarktis. Foto: Simon/Simon

webprint

 

Krill

Der Antarktische Krill (Euphausia superba) nimmt die zentrale Stelle im Nahrungsnetz der südpolaren Gewässer ein. Photo: Uwe Kils

webprint

 

Krill

Krill unter dem Eis. Foto: H.-P. Marschall

webprint

 

back to list

6. October 2005: Schmilzt das Eis an den Polen der Erde?

Printable Images

CryoSat

Mit einem neu entwickelten Radaraltimeter soll CryoSat Eisdicken in den Polarregionen vermessen. Photo: Astrium (EADS Astrium GmbH)

webprint

 

Heli

Zur Kontrolle werden Eisdicken an bestimmten Punkten mit dem HEM-Bird vom Hubschrauber bestimmt und mit den CryoSat Daten verglichen. Foto: Jan Lieser

webprint

 

Gletscher

Auch das mögliche Abschmelzen der Gletscher auf Grönland wird mit CryoSat untersucht. Foto: Hans Oerter

webprint

 

back to list

12. January 2007: New group of algae discovered: Picobiliphytes

An international group of researchers has succeeded in identifying a previously unknown group of algae. As currently reported in the scientific journal Science, the newly discovered algae are found among the smallest members of photosynthetic plankton - the picoplankton (‘Picobiliphytes: A marine picoplanktonic algal group with unknown affinities to other Eukaroytes” Science, Vol. 316’). On account of the minute size of the organisms (no more than a few thousandth of a millimetre) and the appearance of phycobili-proteins, researchers have termed the new group Picobiliphytes.

 

Approximately 50 percent of global photosynthesis is conducted in the world’s oceans where it is dominated by microscopic algae, the so-called phytoplankton. Scientists estimate that up to 90 percent of phytoplanktonic species are currently unidentified. In the present study, scientists used molecular techniques to investigate the smallest members of the plankton, the picoplankton. Because picoplankton algae are so extremely small, they are almost impossible to study by means of microscopy.

Researchers investigated gene sequences of the 18S gene, common to all cells. The identity of new organisms can be deduced from a comparison of familiar and unfamiliar gene sequences. “The gene sequences found in these algae could not be associated with any previously known group of organisms”, explain Dr Klaus Valentin and Dr. Linda Medlin, co-authors of the study and molecularbiologists at the Alfred Wegener Institute in Bremerhaven. The algae in this study were found in plankton samples originating from various regions of the North Atlantic and the Mediterranean. The scientists have discovered a group of organisms which, despite being completely new to science, have a wide distribution. “This is a good indication for how much there is still to discover in the oceans, especially using molecular tools”, says Valentin.

Apart from the unfamiliar gene sequences, the researchers also detected a phycobiliprotein-containing plastid in the novel cells. In red algae, for example, these proteins occur as photosynthetic pigments. Hence, it provides a clear indication that the researchers are dealing with previously unidentified species of algae. Referring to their small size and the presence of phycobili proteins, the researchers named the new group Picobiliphytes.

On January 12, 2007, the study entitled ‘Picobiliphytes: A marine picoplanktonic algal group with unknown affinities to other Eukaroytes’ will be published in the scientific journal Science.

Bremerhaven January 12th, 2007
Please send us a copy of any published version of this document.

Notes for editors:
Your contact persons at the Alfred Wegener Institute is Dr Klaus Valentin (Tel: +49-471-4831-1452, email: Klaus-Ulrich.Valentin@awi.de). Your contact person in the public relations department of the Alfred Wegener Institute is Dr Ude Cieluch (Tel: +49-471-4831-2008, email: medien@awi.de). Printable images can be found on our webpage at
www.awi-bremerhaven.de/AWI/Presse/PM/index-d.html.


The Alfred Wegener Institute (AWI) conducts research in the Arctic, Antarctic and in oceans of temperate and high latitudes. The AWI coordinates polar research in Germany, and provides important infrastructure, such as the research icebreaker Polarstern and research stations in the Arctic and Antarctic for international scientific enterprises. The Alfred Wegener Institute is one of 15 research centres of the 'Helmholtz-Gemeinschaft' (Helmholtz Association), the largest scientific organisation in Germany.

Printable Images

Picobiliphyta

Phycobiliphyta cell in fluorescence microscope. The cell nucleus is colored in blue, the cytoplasma in green. The red fluorescence comes from a plastide with phycobiliproteins. The cell measures 2x5 µm (1µm = 1/1000 millimetre). Photo: Fabrice Not/Station Biologique de Roscoff

webprint

 

back to list

5. January 2007: How fish species suffer as a result of warmer waters

Ongoing global climate change causes changes in the species composition of marine ecosystems, especially in shallow coastal oceans. This applies also to fish populations. Previous studies demonstrating a link between global warming and declining fish stocks were based entirely on statistical data. However, in order to estimate future changes, it is essential to develop a deeper understanding of the effect of water temperature on the biology of organisms under question. A new investigation, just published in the scientific journal Science, reveals that a warming induced deficiency in oxygen uptake and supply to tissues is the key factor limiting the stock size of a fish species under heat stress.

 

Scientists of the Alfred Wegener Institute for Polar and Marine Research in Bremerhaven investigated the relationship between seasonal water temperature and population density using eelpout (Zoarces viviparus), a fish species from the Southern North Sea. The goal of the study was to identify those physiological processes exhibiting the most immediate response to warming in the field. Comparing ecological field data with laboratory investigations of the eelpout’s physiology, the authors were able, for the first time, to demonstrate a direct link between temperature dependent oxygen limitation experienced by the eelpouts and warming induced changes in their population density.

{image2_right}During evolution, animals have specialised on environmental conditions and are often very limited in their tolerance to environmental change. In this context, fish species from the North Sea which experience large seasonal temperature fluctuations, are more tolerant to higher temperatures and display wider thermal windows than, for instance, fishes from polar regions living at constant low temperatures. The latter are able to grow and reproduce only within a very limited thermal tolerance window.

Investigations at the Alfred Wegener Institute show the key importance of oxygen uptake and distribution – through respiration and blood circulation – in setting the animals’ thermal tolerance range, in that these processes are optimised to only a limited temperature window. With increasing temperature, the organism’s oxygen supply is the first to deteriorate, followed by other biochemical stress responses. Finally, oxygen supply fails entirely, leaving the organism to perish. These results represent a significant step forward towards understanding the mechanisms involved in climate-induced alterations in marine ecosystems.

The paper ‘Climate change affects marine fishes through the oxygen limitation of thermal tolerance’ is published on January 5, 2007 in the scientific journal Science.

Bremerhaven January 5th, 2007
Please send us a copy of any published version of this document.

Notes for editors:
Your contact persons at the Alfred Wegener Institute are Prof Dr Hans-Otto Pörtner (Tel: ++49-471-4831-1307, email: Hans-Otto.Poertner@awi.de) and Dr Rainer Knust (Tel: ++49-471-4831-1709, email: Rainer.Knust@awi.de) . Your contact person in the public relations department of the Alfred Wegener Institute is Dr Ude Cieluch (Tel: ++49-471-4831-2008, email: medien@awi.de).

The Alfred Wegener Institute (AWI) conducts research in the Arctic, Antarctic and in oceans of temperate and high latitudes. The AWI coordinates polar research in Germany, and provides important infrastructure, such as the research icebreaker Polarstern and research stations in the Arctic and Antarctic for international scientific enterprises. The Alfred Wegener Institute is one of 15 research centres of the 'Helmholtz-Gemeinschaft' (Helmholtz Association), the largest scientific organisation in Germany.

Printable Images

Science2 w

Distribution of the eelpout and other fishes. Image: Pörtner/Schadwinkel

webprint

 

Science1 w

The eelpout Zoarces viviparus. Photo: Alfred-Wegener-Institut

webprint

 

back to list

27. December 2006: Polarstern catches five tons of Marbled Antarctic Cod

One of Polarstern’s biggest fish catch in 24 years of research in Antarctic waters. New hope for commercial fisheries? Quite the opposite, a good catch doesn’t necessarily mean that depleted stocks have recovered.

 

Five tons of marbled Antarctic cod (Notothenia rossii), now that was surely a big surprise to scientists and crew alike considering that previous and subsequent hauls barely ever reaped such plentiful harvests. the last comparable catch of 5.6 tons Antarctic cod was done in november 1983 round Elefant Island. Their shimmering silver and dark blue bodies, which can grow up to 70cm, were piled on the aft deck of Polarstern. In combination with previous stock assessments, fisheries biologists onboard interpreted the catch as a sampling of a discrete, small-scale aggregation of this fish species.

 

There are two hypotheses to explain the observed dense aggregation: 1. krill, the main prey of marbled Antarctic cod, aggregate to form a band of dense shoals in close vicinity to its preferred habitat; and 2. certain seafloor topographies, such as canyons or cliffs may be conducive to its aggregation. The tendency to shoal made them an easy target for commercial fisheries in the past. After depletion of marbled Antarctic cod stocks the "Convention on the Conservation of Antarctic Marine Living Resources" (CCAMLR) decided to ban fishing activities. Resuming commercial fisheries could easily lead to stocks being overfished. Germany, represented by the Federal Research Centre for Fisheries, is constantly providing results to the responsible CCAMLR working group to prevent overexploitation of Antarctica’s fish stocks.

Bremerhaven, 27 December 2006

In case of publication, please provide a copy.
Notes for editors: Your media contact at Alfred Wegener Institute is Dr Angelika Dummermuth (+49(0)471 4831 1742; e-mail: medien@awi.de).

The Alfred Wegener Institute for Polar and Marine Research (AWI) conducts research in the Arctic, Antarctic and in oceans of mid and high latitudes. The AWI coordinates polar research in Germany, and provides important infrastructure, such as the research icebreaker Polarstern and stations in the Arctic and Antarctic, for international science organisations. The AWI is one of 15 research centres of the 'Helmholtz-Gemeinschaft' (Helmholtz Association), the largest scientific organization in Germany.

Printable Images

cod1 w

Marbled Antartic cod (Notothenia rossii) Photo: Gauthier Chapelle (IPF)/Alfred Wegener Institute

webprint

 

cod2 w

Haul of marbled Antarctic cod on the aft deck of research vessel Polarstern Photo: Jan Seiler/ Alfred Wegener Institute

webprint

 

back to list

22. December 2006: Four Arnoux’s Beaked Whales observed from Polarstern expedition

On the 17th of December, Meike Scheidat & Linn Lehnert, the whale scientists on board of Polarstern, made a remarkable cetaceans sighting: Four Arnoux’s Beaked Whales (Berardius arnuxii), observed from the helicopter.

The Arnoux’s Beaked Whales is one of the least known species of the Beaked Whales family (Ziphidae), itself poorly known in general. Arnoux’s is one of the biggest species amongst beaked whales. The ones observed were probably 9 metre long. These deep-sea feeding whales are particularly sensitive to underwater acoustic disturbances. The pictures showed a whole array of scars on their skin, which are already under investigation. Some of these scars could have been inflicted by orcas, their potential predators, or by squids, their most common preys, as proposed by Elaina Jorgensen one of our cephalopod specialist onboard. Other scars could be caused by cookie-cutter sharks, which would imply big migration between the subtropical waters where these sharks are found and the ice-edge (64°06' S) where they were observed.

Supply of German Neumayer station

After crossing the Atlantic and the sea ice of the Atka Bay Polarstern supplied the German research station Neumayer on the Ekström Ice Shelf with food and fuel.
Helicopters brought up hoses to refill eight 20,000-liter tanks with diesel fuel. The tanks were sitting on sledges ready for later transportation to the station by Caterpillars. The cargo had to be loaded on a secure area on the sea ice as ice conditions did not allow Polarstern to enter the „ice port" right next to the shelf edge.

The first samples

A Spanish team of scientists seized the opportunity of a small patch of open water to catch live animals for observation in aquaria. They will investigate sessile cnidarians living on the seafloor. The main objective is to find out whether these animals are exclusively feeding on fresh algae from the summer bloom or can they also utilize other food sources under conditions of extended periods of sea ice cover. These findings will be a substantial contribution to answer much broader questions such as how did communities adapt to the particular conditions beneath the Larsen Ice Shelves and how do they differ from "normal" areas. A catch with the Agassiz trawl was bountiful and also provided sponges, the most distinct group of animals living on the seafloor in the shelf ecosystem. As the first working groups are supplied with organisms scientific work is running.

Fish survey

On the way to the Antartic Peninsula where the major scientific work will be running Polarstern carried out more than 75 thirty-minute trawls. Length measurements, weight and gender determination, stomach content analyses and the removal of tiny ear bones for age structure analyses are done on board. The sum of the scientific data will provide a comprehensive indication of the fish population dynamics since the end of Antarctic commercial fishing in 1990. The bottom fish survey conducted during ANT XXIII/8 is the seventh survey in a row in the southern Scotia Arc region. The survey contributes to the ‘Convention on the Conservation of Antarctic Marine Living Resources’ (CCAMLR). This organization is responsible for the conservation and rational use of all Antarctic marine resources with the exception of cetaceans. Germany focuses its CCAMLR-related research on the state of fish and krill stocks in the Atlantic sector of the Southern Ocean. This research is conducted by the Seafisheries Institute of the Federal Research Centre for Fisheries in Hamburg on behalf of the Federal Ministry of Nutrition, Agriculture and Consumer’s Protection in cooperation with foreign institutions, such as the Southwest Fisheries Science Centre of the National Marine Fisheries Service in La Jolla, USA.

Education, Outreach, Communication

Besides their scientifc work Dr Gauthier Chapelle fom the International Polar Foundation and the chief scientist Dr Julian Gutt are providing several internet websites with pictures, films, reports and personal impressions directly from board of Polarstern. If you like to join the expediton, have a look on the following internet pages:
www.polarjahr.de/Expeditionsberichte.38.0.html
www.polarfoundation.org
www.cousteau.org/caml.html
www.caml.aq/news/
www.awi.de/Polar/Polarstern/report-index-d.html
www.sciencepoles.org
www.educapoles.org

Bremerhaven, 22 December 2006

In case of publication, please provide a copy.
Notes for editors: Your media contact at Alfred Wegener Institute is Dr Angelika Dummermuth (+49(0)471 4831 1742; e-mail: medien@awi.de).

The Alfred Wegener Institute for Polar and Marine Research (AWI) conducts research in the Arctic, Antarctic and in oceans of mid and high latitudes. The AWI coordinates polar research in Germany, and provides important infrastructure, such as the research icebreaker Polarstern and stations in the Arctic and Antarctic, for international science organisations. The AWI is one of 15 research centres of the 'Helmholtz-Gemeinschaft' (Helmholtz Association), the largest scientific organization in Germany.

Printable Images

whales chapelle w

webprint

 

whales scheidat w

webprint

 

back to list

20. December 2006: Antarctic research within the International Polar Year IPY 2007/2008

The 27th research campaign of Bremerhaven’s Alfred Wegener Institute for Polar and Marine Research marks the beginning of the summer research season in the Antarctic. The institute collaborates with 20 research institutions and ten logistics organisations from 14 countries. Neumayer Station will serve as the logistical base for extensive measurements using aircraft. An expedition aboard research icebreaker Polarstern is travelling along the Antarctic Peninsula as part of the global ‘Census of Marine Life’, and at the Dallmann Laboratory activities will be focussing on Antarctic habitats as they undergo climate change. The Antarctic summer lasts from November to April. Many projects will be an overture to the International Polar Year 2007/2008.

Science and Logistics: Neumayer Station
The Alfred Wegener Institute’s research station Neumayer (70°39´S, 08°15´W) is occupied year round and represents the centre of German Antarctic research. During the current season, a total of 42 scientific and technical staff will be working at the station. Personnel and cargo are being air-freighted and coordinated jointly within DROMLAN (Dronning Maud Land Air Network), an international network of eleven research institutes. In mid December, the new over-wintering crew of the Alfred Wegener Institute arrived at Neumayer Station. This year, the group consists of four women and five men who will be responsible for station maintenance and ongoing long-term collection of meteorological, geophysical and air chemistry data.

Census of Antarctic Marine Life (CAML)

 

As part of the global research project ‘Census of Marine Life’ (CoML), an expedition aboard the research icebreaker Polarstern is currently investigating an oceanic region alongside the Antarctic Peninsula which, for the first time, has become accessible to science after a large section of the Larsen B Ice Shelf collapsed in 2002. Within the project, a total of 47 scientists from twelve countries explore biological diversity. The ‘Census of Antarctic Marine Life’ is the largest marine research programme in the Antarctic and hence represents one of the major IPY projects. Actual videos, pictures and reports from the Polarstern expedition under: www.cousteau.org/caml/html
www.educapoles.org
www.sciencepoles.org
www.polarjahr.de

Aerosols and trace gases

 

On December 15th, the research aircraft Polar 2 landed at Neumayer Station, marking the start of the German-Japanese project ANTSYO II (Japan-German Airborne Observation Program). Until January of 2007, measurements identifying minute airborne particles, so-called aerosols, and various trace gases, will be carried out from the aircraft. The physical, optical and chemical characteristics of aerosols will be the focus of the measurement campaign throughout the Antarctic summer season. In addition, the major pathways of aerosols to the Antarctic will be identified.

Antarctic underwater sounds
For one year now, the working group ‘Oceanic Acoustics’ of the Alfred Wegener Institute has been maintaining PALAOA, the ‘PerenniAL Acoustic Observatory in the Antarctic’, located near Neumayer Station. PALAOA (70°31´S, 8°13´W), consists of four underwater microphones, so-called hydrophones, which are recording all sounds of the Antarctic Ocean 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Scientists are hoping to gain new insights into communication of marine mammals such as seals and whales. The data will also provide information about the effect of anthropogenic sounds on the behaviour of the animals.
A live audio stream of PALAOA can be found on the internet at: www.awi.de/acoustics

Diverse life in the cold

 

At the Dallmann Laboratory (62°14´S, 58°40´W), only operated during the Antarctic summer, biological research is paramount. In particular, the diversity of various organisms and their adaptations to climate change and extreme environmental conditions are the centre of the researcher’s attention. One example is the investigation of algal growth under high light intensities with simultaneous low temperatures by scientists of the Alfred Wegener Institute, in collaboration with the Institute for Polar Ecology in Kiel. The effect of ice movement on species communities of the sea floor is an additional research focus at Dallmann Laboratory. The IPY project CliCOPEN (Impact of Climate induced glacial melting on marine and terrestric COastal communities on a gradient along the Western Antarctic PENinsula) addresses the impact of climate induced glacial melting on coastal species communities of the western Antarctic Peninsula.

Detailed information about all German research projects associated with the 3rd International Polar Year 2007/2008 can be found on the internet at: www.polarjahr.de

Bremerhaven, December 20, 2006
Please send us a copy of any published version of this document.

Notes for editors:
Your contact person in the public relations department is Dr Ude Cieluch (Tel: ++49-471-4831-2008; E-Mail: medien@awi.de.

The Alfred Wegener Institute for Polar and Marine Research (AWI) conducts research in the Arctic, Antarctic and in oceans of mid and high latitudes. The AWI coordinates polar research in Germany, and provides important infrastructure, such as the research icebreaker Polarstern and stations in the Arctic and Antarctic, for international science organisations. The AWI is one of 15 research centres of the 'Helmholtz-Gemeinschaft' (Helmholtz Association), the largest scientific organisation in Germany.

Printable Images

Polarstern

Polarstern in der Antarktis, ANT XXI/2

webprint

 

Polar 2

de: Polar2 mit Meteopod vor Summit Station, Zentral Grönland.

webprint

 

Dallmann-Labor

Dallmann Laboratory at the Jubany-Station, Antarctic Peninsula

webprint

 

back to list

31. January 2007: Alfred-Wegener-Institut begrüßt neue Verwaltungsdirektorin

On February 1st, Dr. Heike Wolke takes up her position as the administrative director of the Alfred Wegener Institute for Polar and Marine Research in Bremerhaven. Previously, Heike Wolke was employed at the Helmholtz Centre for Environmental Research (UFZ) in Leipzig. She is succeeding Dr. Rainer Paulenz, who has changed to politics as the head of the department of culture in Bremerhaven.

Wolke studied engineering, business, and administration. From 1975 to 1979, she was technical assistant at technical University of Leipzig. After her dissertation in processing analytics in 1984 she changed to the Institute of Biotechnology in Leipzig. There she was working as a scientifist in the section bioengineering.
From 1992, Wolke was holding diverse leading positions in administration at the Helmholtz Centre for Environmental Research: in the beginning as the head of the purchasing department, later as administrator and from 2002 on as the head of the scientific and operational infrastructure.

„Besides the challange of the new position as administrative director, especially the research fields of the Alfred Wegener Institute are inspiring for me. In particular, the possibility to play a part in forming the research environment and the conditions for researchers, are delightful", says Wolke

Heike Wolke was born 1952 in Leipzig. She is married and has three children.

Printable Images

Dr. Heike Wolke

Dr. Heike Wolke. Foto: André Künzelmann, UFZ

webprint

 

back to list

29. September 2005: The ocean turns sour

Greenhouse gases threaten marine ecosystems

By consuming fossil fuels, every person on our planet produces a daily average of eleven kilograms of carbon dioxide which enters the atmosphere. Four kilograms of this amount are absorbed by the world’s oceans, a process alleviating the green house effect. Unfortunately, the carbon dioxide reacts with sea water to produce acid capable of dissolving the calcareous shells of many marine organisms.

 

A new study, currently published in the scientific journal Nature by a group of 27 marine researchers from Europe, Japan, Australia and the USA and with participation of the Alfred-Wegener-Institute of Polar and Marine Research, demonstrates that the acidification of the oceans in polar regions could lead to the loss of marine organisms within the next fifty to one hundred years – much earlier than previously thought. Sea cucumbers, cold water corals and winged snails in the water column are especially threatened. Since these animals provide important food sources for other animals including crustaceans, salmon and whales, severe impacts on the whole ecosystems must be expected. It is clear that human activities have caused acidification of the ocean; the researchers demand a drastic reduction of green house gas emissions.

The study is based on worldwide measurements of carbon dioxide concentrations in the oceans. “In order to substantiate the predictions, we fed the data into 13 alternative computer models”, explains Prof Reiner Schlitzer of the Alfred-Wegener-Institute. “The results differed slightly among models, but the fundamental outcome was always the same: The oceans turn acid much faster than previously thought.” According to the scientists, this prediction is much more reliable than current climate forecasts, because the uptake of carbon dioxide by the oceans is governed by simple laws of physics, and comparatively few confounding factors need to be taken into consideration.

 

The computer models show that, with the current rate of increase of carbon dioxide concentration in the atmosphere, it will take only fifty years before the shells of winged snails (Pteropoda) occurring in enormous abundances in the polar oceans, will simply be dissolved. The warmer oceans would follow with some delay. The principle investigator of the study, Prof James Orr of the Laboratoire des Sciences du Climat et de l'Environnement, thinks that “many humans alive today will experience the polar oceans becoming uninhabitable for some of the currently existing key species.“

The shell of winged snails consists of aragonite, a common form of calcium carbonate. Only if sea water is sufficiently saturated with aragonite, the snails can grow their shells. Within the 21st century, according to the researchers’ calculations, aragonite concentrations across the world’s oceans will be sinking rapidly. Apart from the winged snails, sea cucumbers and cold water corals, found predominantly in the North Atlantic, will also be affected. Other than their better known tropical relatives, cold water corals grow very slowly and, at present, are already severely threatened by dragnet fisheries. Should the corals disappear, the whole associated reef community of deep sea fishes, eels, shrimp and other organisms would be lost as well. Other shell-bearing marine dwellers, e.g. the ecologically important calcareous algae which use calcite instead of aragonite for their protective structure, would not be affected at this stage. They would last another fifty to one hundred years until they, too, would meet the same destiny if carbon dioxide emissions continued to rise.


Bremerhaven, September 29th, 2005

Reference: Nature 437 (29th September 2005): 681-686

Contact: Prof. Reiner Schlitzer
Tel. 0471/4831-1559
E-Mail: rschlitzer@awi-bremerhaven.de

Printable Images

Limacina

The shell of the winged snail Limacina would dissolve when pH values in marine waters decrease. Photo: Alfred-Wegener-Institut

webprint

 

Aragonit-2 w

The consequences of acidification will firstly effect polar waters.

webprint

 

Aragonit-3 w

Apart from winged snails further organisms such as cold water corals will suffer from decreased pH values.

webprint

 

back to list

15. September 2005: Polarstern-Expedition dokumentiert Veränderungen in der Arktis

Printable Images

Polarstern

Polarstern vor eindrucksvoller Kulisse im Isfjorden/Spitzbergen.

webprint

 

CTD-Rosette

Eine CTD-Rosette wird von Polarstern abgelassen.

webprint

 

Polarstern

Polarstern verlässt Isfjorden mit Fahrtziel Framstraße.

webprint

 

back to list

15. September 2005: The remainder of paradise

How important are whales and seals for polar ecosystems?

Polar regions are among the most inhospitable on earth; however, they harbour the largest animals , albeit in the ocean. Until recently, a seemingly endless food supply in the Arctic and Antarctic appeared to explain the large stocks of whales and seals. Now there is increasing evidence that the large mammals may have survived as a consequence of the polar regions’ harshness and inaccessibility to humans, and that their distribution may have been much wider in the past. Furthermore, it is not unlikely that the disappearance of large marine mammals from temperate oceans resulted in profound changes to the whole ecosystem.

 

According to Professor Dr Victor Smetacek of the Alfred Wegener Institute for Polar and Marine Research and Dr Stephen Nicol from the University of Tasmania in Hobart, Australia, the ability to predict changes in polar ecosystems within the context of global climate change requires a better understanding of the ecological role of whales and seals. In their contribution now published in the scientific journal Nature, the two researchers present the hypothesis that large marine mammals have a central and stabilising role in marine ecosystems and were once widely distributed across all oceans.

 

In analogy to the large fish stocks in African lakes being dependent on hippos, large mammals may also control their environment in the coldest oceans on earth. It is already clear that the notion of short food chains with few organisms represents an oversimplified view of polar ecosystems. in the productivity of the Arctic and Antarctic is comparable to temperate oceans. However, large differences exist between the Arctic and Antarctic with regard to nutrient availability and key species in the food chain. In the Antarctic, availability of iron is the primary growth-limiting factor in the system. Krill, a shrimp-like crustacean occurring in enormous amounts, is the major food source for larger animals. In the Arctic, the krill’s ecological role is played by fish, and productivity in Arctic oceans is, more frequently, limited by the availability of nutrients. The significance of large mammals in the coldest oceans on earth, however, remains largely unresolved. Similarly, the effect of their feeding activity and their excretory products on the stability of the ecosystem continues to be unknown.

In comparison, the structuring role of large mammals on land ecosystems is better understood. Prior to the expansion of modern man, large herbivores, similar to those surviving in east Africa, were distributed across the entire northern continents. With the extinction of mammoth and nearly all large terrestrial animals in Europe, Asia and America, the landscapes changed as well. Today, a programme for the re-establishment of large herbivores in Siberia aims to restore the original mammoth steppe; similar suggestions have been made by US-researchers for North America.

 

With the invention of boats, the terrestrial animal man extended wholesale annihilation of large animals to the oceans as well. The extinction of the European Grey Whale and of the Steller’s Sea Cow in the North Pacific represent recent examples of the dramatic decline of almost all other large animals in the oceans of temperate latitudes. In regions of the earth inaccessible to humans, the giants of the animal kingdom were able to persist longest. Hence, the Arctic and Antarctic – marine “Serengetis” - have sustained largely intact ecosystems and remnants of former diversity. Above all, these are places where the investigation of interactions between large marine mammals and their environment is still possible - and necessary - today.

The global rise in temperatures now threatens these polar refuges. These changes are likely to differ between Arctic and Antarctic because of differences in the two regions’ geography and ecosystem function. In order to implement meaningful protective measures for the conservation of these regions, a better understanding of the ecological significance of large animals in the oceans is required.

Bremerhaven, September 15th, 2005

Reference: Nature 437, 362-368 (15 September 2005)

Printable Images

Humpback whales

Beneficiary or preserver: Humpback whales in polar waters.

webprint

 

Krill

Abundant antarctic krill constitutes an essential nutritional resource of the big mammals.

webprint

 

Ice Landscape

Polar waters with their comparitively undisturbed ecosystems are one of the last marine refuges.

webprint

 

young elephant seal

Will soon became a big one: a young elephant seal.

webprint

 

back to list

7. September 2005: Mit High-Tech in die Tiefsee

Printable Images

Victor 6000

Der vier Tonnen schwere "Victor 6000“ ist mit modernsten Kameras und Probennahmegeräten ausgerüstet; zwei Greifarme ermöglichen das gezielte Absetzen von Messgeräten und die Entnahme von Proben am Meeresboden.

webprint

 

Bakterien-Matten

Matten von Bakterien am Meeresboden zeigen die Austrittstellen des Methans an.

webprint

 

L'Atalante

Mit der rund 85 m langen französischen "L'Atalante" waren Mitarbeiter des AWI bereits 2001 in der Arktis.

webprint

 

AUV

The AUV is capable to follow, independently, pre-programmed courses at water depths down to 3,000 metres. Photo: Alfred Wegener Institute

webprint

 

back to list

2. September 2005: Arktische Oszillation beeinflusst das europäische Klima

Printable Images

Sonnenreflektion

Die Sonnenreflektion (Albedo) ist über dem arktischen Eis viel höher als über dem Meer.

webprint

 

LIDAR

Atmosphärenanalyse mit Laser in Koldewey auf Spitzbergen.

webprint

 

Messballon

Mit Ballons werden Messsonden in den arktischen Himmel gesandt.

webprint

 

back to list

10. August 2005: Meteoriteneinschlag erweist sich als Glücksfall für die Polarforschung

Printable Images

Elgygytgyn-See

Der jedes Jahr von November bis Juni zugefrorene See mit einem Durchmesser von 12 km und einer Tiefe von 180 Meter ist nur im Hochsommer für einige Wochen völlig eisfrei und wird oft von starken Winden aufgewühlt.

webprint

 

Helga

Plattform "Helga", das kleinste Forschungsschiff des AWI, wurde auf dem Elgygytgyn-See in den Jahren 2000 und 2003 für seismische Untersuchungen eingesetzt.

webprint

 

Elgygytgyn-See

Der Elgygytgyn-See liegt in der russischen Provinz Chukotka im äußersten Nordosten Sibiriens in einem unbewohnten Kraterbecken fernab jeglicher Zivilisation und war bis vor wenigen Jahren noch unerforscht.

webprint

 

Elgygytgyn-See

Der See liegt einige 100 Kilometer südlich des Arktischen Ozeans in der Tundra und ist von Permafrostböden umgeben. Da es weder Strassen noch Wege dorthin gibt, wurde der See für die Expeditionen 2000 und 2003 von Hubschraubern angeflogen.

webprint

 

back to list

29. June 2005: 40 Years with Diatoms

Anniversary of the Friedrich Hustedt Study Centre for Diatoms at the Alfred-Wegener-Institute, the Helmholtz Centre for Polar and Marine Research

On July 1st, the Friedrich Hustedt Study Centre for Diatoms will have been established for 40 years. With approximately 80,000 microscope slides, the extended diatom collection of Friedrich Hustedt, born in Bremen in 1886, is one of the largest of its kind anywhere.

 

Worldwide, diatoms represent about 25% of the plant biomass. Found in marine and freshwater the microscopic unicells are important biomass and oxygen producers. Through their photosynthesis, greenhouse gasses are converted to organic material and they therefore play a decisive role in the global carbon dioxide circulation. The fine filigree of the structure that distinguishes the species is complex but aesthetically beautiful. Some species have been used since the end of the 18th century for testing the resolving capacity of light microscope objectives. When individual cells die they remain as siliceous (silica dioxide) cell walls and sink to the bottom of the lake or ocean. Research has shown that the walls of fossil diatoms can give valuable information about past environment and climate conditions and serve as indicators for historical dating of sediments.

 

Friedrich Hustedt (1886-1968), school headmaster from Bremen, studied diatoms for most of his life and described about 2,000 new species. With a contract with the former Office of Soil Research, where the significance of his work for fundamental geological research was recognised, Hustedt left his school work in 1939 to devote all of his time to his research. Many of Hustedt´s early work concerned the diversity of the diatoms of the River Weser from Bremen to Bremerhaven. In 1955 he published a work on the diversity of diatoms in sand samples from Beaufort, North Carolina, U.S.A. The worldwide significance of diatoms can be seen from the number of the species found both here in Germany and in the USA. In time his collection became ever richer and no single collector has archived so many diatoms as Hustedt.

 

“Dr Reimer Simonsen established the collection in 1965 and was its first curator. We have been able to continually expand it over the past 40 years with material from many research expeditions and thanks to hundreds of colleagues from all over the world. Today we have one of the most important diatom collections in the world” Explains Dr Richard Crawford, present curator of the collection. Alongside the microscope slides are samples of material and an extensive library of diatom literature. For three years information on species and localities have been entered into an electronic database and is now available instantly to specialists all over the world over the internet (www.awi-bremerhaven.de/Research/hustedt1.html).

Industry utilises the diatom walls in the form of diatomaceous earth or Kieselguhr for polishing material and for filtering wine and beer. But there is more to the diatoms: nanotechnology is interested in the motility of such tiny cells and the wall design has been used as a pattern for car wheels. Oomega-3 fatty acids of the diatoms have been found to benefit the nervous system and researchers at the Alfred-Wegener-Institute are looking for the gene controlling fatty acid production in diatoms.

Bremerhaven, 29 June 2005

Printable Images

Friedrich Hustedt

Dr. h.c. Friedrich Hustedt at the microscope.

webprint

 

Hustedt2 w

The banks of the river Geeste in Bremerhaven at low tide. Diatoms produce the firm, brownish surface of the wadden layer.

webprint

 

Gyrosigma

Motile diatoms of the genera Gyrosigma (0,1 mm long) and Navicula are frequent in the Geeste wadden.

webprint

 

Diatomeen

Only scanning electron microscopy shows all details of the complex diatom shells.

webprint

 

Diatomeen

Thousands of slides with diatoms from all over the world are deposited in the Hustedt collection.

webprint

 

back to list

27. June 2005: Deutsch-russische Expedition in die Eiswüsten Nordsibiriens

Printable Images

Satellitenaufnahme

Satellitenaufnahme des Lenadeltas.

webprint

 

Seenlandschaft

Mikrometeorologische EDDY-Messstation zur Messung von Treibhausgasemissionen aus Tundraböden auf der Insel Samoylov im Zentralen Lenadelta.

webprint

 

Lenadelta

Arbeiten an Permafrostprofilen im Lenadelta.

webprint

 

Lenadelta

Arbeiten an Permafrostprofilen im Lenadelta.

webprint

 

"Neptun"

Expeditionschiff "Neptun" im westlichen Delta

webprint

 

Seenlandschaft

Seenlandschaft (Thermokarst) der Arga-Insel.

webprint

 

Samoylov

Messfeld in der polygonalen Tundra auf der Insel Samoylov.

webprint

 

back to list

31. May 2005: Nördlichstes Meeresforschungslabor der Welt fertig gestellt

Printable Images

Mar Lab1 w

Eines der deutsch-französischen Taucheinsatzboote vor dem neuen Meeresforschungslabor

webprint

 

Mar Lab3 w

Modernste Laborräume: Dr. Ulrike Lüder vom Alfred-Wegener-Institut in Bremerhaven nutzt die neue Infrastruktur.

webprint

 

Mar Lab2 w

Forschung mit eisigem Charme: Blick vom neuen Meeresforschungslabor auf den Hafen und den zugefrorenen Kongsfjord.

webprint

 

back to list

6. May 2005: Polarflugzeug aus der Arktis zurück

Printable Images

Arktisches Meereis

Arktisches Meereis mit unterschiedlicher Rauigkeit.

webprint

 

Eisrauigkeit2 w

Prüfung der Sensorik der Polar 2 vor dem Flug.

webprint

 

Polar 2 beim Start

Die zweimotorige Maschine ist eine speziell für den Betrieb in den Polarregionen umgerüstete Sonderversion der Dornier 228/101.

webprint

 

back to list

21. April 2005: Hightech aus dem Mikrokosmos

Printable Images

BUGA2 w

Die anhand rasterleketronischer Aufnahmen rekonstruierte Schale von Arachnoidiscus japonicus ist Basis für das Felgenmodell.

webprint

 

BUGA4 w

In der Ausstellung ist der Prototyp der Felge im transparenten Radkasten drehbar montiert

webprint

 

BUGA5 w

Die aus Platten bestehende Schale der Kalkalge ist lichtdurchlässig und liefert das Vorbild für das Lampendesign

webprint

 

BUGA1 w

Kieselalgen kommen in verschiedenen Formen und Größen vor

webprint

 

Modell der Autofelge

Die nach dem Vorbild von Arachnoidiscus konstruierte Felge zeichnet sich trotz Leichtbauweise durch hohe Festigkeit aus

webprint

 

BUGA6 w

Der Forscher im diffusen Licht seiner Konstruktion.

webprint

 

back to list

24. March 2005: 75th anniversary of the ‘German Greenland Expedition Alfred Wegener’

Exactly 75 years ago, on April 1st, 1930, the ‘German Greenland Expedition Alfred Wegener’ left from Copenhagen with fourteen participants. Determining the thickness of the Greenland ice shield as 2700 metres represented a sensational scientific success of the one-year operation. However, extreme environmental conditions of the Arctic made the expedition very strenuous. Alfred Wegener, expedition leader and founder of the theory of continental drift, fell victim to these extreme conditions. Currently, Wegener’s research interests continue to be pursued at the Alfred Wegener Institute for Polar and Marine Research, named after him.

 

From the outset, the ‘German Greenland Expedition Alfred Wegener’ has been fighting with the severe Arctic environmental conditions. The ice-going ‘Gustav Holm’ is forced to wait for six weeks off West Greenland before 100 tonnes of expedition material and 25 Icelandic Ponies can be transferred from the ship to the inland ice at 1000 metres altitude. Under time pressure, three inland stations are built at 72 degrees northern latitude and serve for geophysical and meteorological investigations throughout one year. In particular, construction and supply of the centrally located station “Eismitte” (‘Central Ice’) prove difficult as the modern propeller sledges are hardly usable under the prevailing snow conditions. With newly accumulated deep snow and temperatures down to minus 54 degrees Celsius, equipment and materials are transported across 400 kilometres by dog sledge. Alfred Wegener and his Greenlandic companion Rasmus Villumsen die during their return from one such trip to station ‘Central Ice’. Wegener’s brother Kurt takes over as leader of the expedition which continues to accumulate extensive metorological, geodetic and glaciological datasets filling many volumes. During their stay over winter, researchers also ascertain that a high pressure area, presumed at the time to be located above the inland ice, does not exist. This result is of particular significance for meteorological dynamics of the North Atlantic, and hence for shipping and aviation.

 

In 2005, Wegener’s scientific heirs continue to follow his ideas at the Alfred Wegener Institute. The research icebreaker “Polarstern” regularly carries out physical, chemical, geological and biological surveys in the waters surrounding Greenland. Other projects are concerned with the collection and analysis of ice cores. Ice cores from the arctic and antarctic regions allow the reconstruction of historical climatic changes. Despite many technical advances since Alfred Wegener’s expeditions, extreme environmental conditions in polar regions still constitute a major challenge for both humans and instruments.

Bremerhaven, March 24, 2005

Printable Images

Unloading of the “Gustav Holm”

Ascending the inland ice, with its edge rising 1000 metres above sea level, proved difficult.

webprint

 

Dog sledges in Greenland

The 400 kilometre transport of equipment and materials to station ‘Central Ice’ was accomplished with dog sledges

webprint

 

Propeller Sledge “Polar Bear” with engine running

Under the extreme weather conditions, propeller sledges specifically brought along from Germany did not meet expectations.

webprint

 

Station ‘Central Ice’

At the centrally located station ‘Central Ice”, the thickness of the Greenland ice shield was determined to be 2700 metres.

webprint

 

Alfred Wegener

The Alfred Wegener Institute for Polar and Marine Research was named after the polar researcher, meteorologist and founder of the theory of continental drift.

webprint

 

Alfred Wegener and his Greenlandic companion Rasmus Villumsen

The return trip from station ‘Central Ice’ in November 1930 came to a tragic ending. Not before May 1931, a search expedition found Alfred Wegener’s body in the ice. Rasmus Villumsen remained missing.

webprint

 

back to list

31. January 2005: Ecological Changes in the North Sea as a consequence of biological globalisation and climate change

Long-term monitoring studies at the ‘Biologische Anstalt Helgoland’ (BAH), part of the Alfred Wegener Institute for Polar and Marine Research, document rapid ecological changes in the North Sea. Scientists explain these changes primarily with the introduction of non-native species and global climate change. Investigations that have been carried out continually since 1962 provide evidence for this notion. The nearly unbroken record of physical, chemical and biological parameters, collected regularly on work days by the ‘Biologische Anstalt Helgoland’, represents one of the most valuable marine long-term data sets worldwide. Using up-to-date methods for long-term data collection, scientists on Helgoland, in close cooperation with other institutes, contribute in a major way to the analysis of ecological changes and hence provide decision making tools for management of marine resources and for development of environmental policies. The current issue (Volume 58, issue 4) of the scientific journal ‘Helgoland Marine Research’ (published by Springer) is dedicated to ecological long-term research on Helgoland.

More than 150 years of research on the North Sea island of Helgoland have produced an invaluable data set, the analysis of which will keep science busy for a long time to come. “Regular measurements and observations extending over decades are the most important tool for detecting historical changes of ecological conditions. This is the only way to evaluate the present state of our ecosystems and to develop models which will allow predictions about their future”, explains Dr Karen Wiltshire of the ‘Biologische Anstalt Helgoland’.


 

The data document a rise of 1.1 °C in sea water temperature over the past 40 years, concurrent with a slight increase in salinity. The formation of sea ice at Helgoland, a phenomenon which, until the 1940s, used to occur approximately every ten years on average, was observed only once (in 1963) during the past 60 years. The North Sea shows clear changes regarding the abundance of species, both in terms of seasonal patterns of occurrence, as well as in terms of species composition. Since the closely linked components of species communities do not all respond uniformly to alterations, the ecosystem undergoes change. For the first time, it was possible to demonstrate a link between the change in timing and magnitude of a diatom bloom and the trend in sea water temperature. In the ocean, diatoms represent the basis of the food web. Because diatom population growth largely determines the seasonality of species communities in the water column and on the sea floor, researchers expect major alterations of the whole ecosystem in the future.

 

Helgoland scientists found that several native species, such as lobster and cod, have become rarer. Other organisms, e.g. various seaweeds and the European oyster have completely disappeared from the region. Some species, e.g. the edible crab, have increased in abundance and others are new to the region. The vast majority of species newly found in the area over the past 15 years are ‘southern’ species originating from the Atlantic region, which have been able to expand further north as a consequence of the rise in temperature. Hence, they represent indicators of this trend. Other new species have been introduced by humans and, locally, have already led to significant changes in habitats and species communities.

Back in 1873, the first regular measurements on the North Sea island of Helgoland began. The establishment of the ‘Biologische Anstalt Helgoland’ in 1892 created an institution which, right from the beginning, was committed to long-term research. Since 1998, the ‘Biologische Anstalt Helgoland’ has been part of the Alfred Wegener Institute for Polar and Marine Research.

Bremerhaven, January 31, 2005

Printable Images

BAH

The motor boat ‘Aade’ has been operating for over 30 years and is used for daily sampling and measurements

webprint

 

Coscinodiscus wailesii

Coscinodiscus wailesii: this diatom of Pacific origin has occurred in the North Sea for approximately 20 years. Since then, it has been playing a major role in primary production

webprint

 

Idotea metallica

The marine isopod Idotea metallica, one of at least 30 southern Atlantic species found recently in the German Bight

webprint

 

back to list

28. January 2005: Rekordkälte in der arktischen Stratosphäre – Erste Hinweise auf beginnende Ozonzerstörung

Printable Images

Wolken

Polare Stratosphären Wolken

webprint

 

Wolken

Polare Stratosphären Wolken

webprint

 

back to list

13. January 2005: In the Cornucopia of the European Project of Ice Coring in Antarctica: the oldest Antarctic ice core

On Tuesday 21th of December 2004 a European team involved in Epica (European Project for Ice Coring in Antarctica) reached the drilling depth of 3270.2, which is five meters above the bedrock at Dome C, on the central plateau of the east Antarctic ice sheet. The ice is melting at the bedrock and it has been decided to stop at this depth to avoid any danger of direct contamination of the basal water. The drilling operation has therefore been terminated.

The drilling has been very successful and has been followed by a wide community of ice and climate researchers. The 70 meters of ice drilled this season completes a long venture started in 1996. The core has already led to the release in the scientific journal ’Nature’ last June of a 740,000-year record of Antarctic climate. The new piece of core will extend the record to an age estimated to be more than 900.000 years old. This is the oldest ice that has been recovered from deep ice cores. The basal ice has ice crystals, some bigger than 40 centimetres and we have observed many inclusions of brown/reddish material mainly between the big ice crystals.

The prospect of the new and unknown information to be found by studies of the ice from the Epica DomeC ice core is fascinating and may have a profound impact on our understanding of the Earth’s climate and environment.

Issued on behalf of the Epica Steering Committee, The European Union, and the European Science Foundation.

Notes to editors:

 

Epica (European Ice Core Project in Antarctica) is a consortium of ten European countries (Belgium, Denmark, France, Germany, Italy, Netherlands, Norway, Sweden, Switzerland, UK). Epica is coordinated by the European Science Foundation (ESF), and funded by the participating countries and by the European Union.

The Epica research team is using the unique climate record from ice cores to investigate the relationship between the chemistry of the atmosphere and climate changes, especially the effects of carbon dioxide, methane and other components of the atmosphere. The results will be used to test and enhance computer models used to predict future climate. Epica’s aim is to drill two ice cores to the base of the Antarctic ice sheet, one at Dome C, the other in Dronning Maud Land. Both drillings hope to reach their aim in the next two years.

The German partner in the Epica project is the Alfred Wegener Institute for Polar and Marine Research in Bremerhaven. It has responsibility for the drilling in Dronning Maud Land. In addition, Prof Heinz Miller, acting director at the Alfred-Wegener-Institute, manages overall Epica project coordination. Epica is one of the core projects within the Alfred-Wegener-Institute research framework ’Marine, Coastal and Polar Systems’ (Marcopoli). Marcopoli is part of the research area ’Erde und Umwelt’ (’Earth and Environment’) of the ’Helmholtzgemeinschaft’.

 

The ice cores are cylinders of ice ten centimetres in diameter that are brought to the surface in lengths of about three metres at a time. Snowflakes collect particles from the atmosphere, and pockets of air become trapped between snow crystals as ice is formed. Analysis of the chemical composition and physical properties of the snow and the trapped air, including atmospheric gases such as CO2 and methane, shows how the Earth’s climate has changed over time.

The Antarctic fieldwork is challenging both scientifically and environmentally. Dome C (75° 06’S, 123° 21’E) is one of the most hostile places on the planet, and average annual temperatures are below –54 degrees Celsius. Researchers travel by tractor over thousands of kilometres of featureless snow where blizzards are common.

Bremerhaven, January 13, 2005

Printable Images

Dome C

Dome C Drilling Camp

webprint

 

Ice core

Ice core is taken from drill

webprint

 

Drilling Hole

Upper part of drilling hole

webprint

 

Core buffer

webprint

 

Ice core

Ice core is taken from drill

webprint

 

back to list

9. December 2004: Research icebreaker ‘Polarstern’ drifting in Antarctic ice

Since November 27, an ice floe has served as home as well as working place for 55 scientists from 11 nations. The research icebreaker ‘Polarstern’ of the Alfred Wegener Institute for Polar and Marine Research in Bremerhaven has been tied up firmly to a drifting ice floe in the Antarctic Weddel Sea. As part of the expedition ‘Ispol’ (Ice Station POLarstern), the floe is the object of a several week investigation by glaciologists, biologists, oceanographers and meteorologists. The area of investigation represents a unique ocean region, because it has the largest percentage of perennial sea ice in the Southern Ocean. The oceanographic, meteorological and biological processes in this region are of global significance.

 


The floe
Floe dimensions are roughly four by four kilometres. It consists of numerous impressive pack-ice ridges, as well as several planes with approximately half metre snow cover. The ice layer below is between one and more than two metres thick. On the ice floe, ‘streets’ have been flagged to be used by commuting skidoos supplying the various working sites with equipment and personnel. At the beginning of the investigations, the floe was located at 68ºS/55°W in a region previously avoided by all ships because the thickest sea ice of the Antarctic is found here. Dr Gerhard Dieckmann of the Alfred Wegener Institute, one of the ‘Ispol’ initiators, expresses his relief: “Arrived! Finally – after four years of preparation!”

Research on the floe

 

Currently, numerous research activities are carried out on the floe under the direction of expedition leader Prof Dr Michael Spindler of the ‘Institute of Polar Ecology’ at Kiel University. Meteorologists record the effects of weather on ice properties. Glaciologists and biologists study the structural changes of the ice and the impact of the starting austral summer on highly productive small organisms living in the ice, such as single celled algae and plankton animals. A group of bio-geochemists studies gas fluxes relevant to climate that are either produced by ice algae, or are exchanged to and from the atmosphere through the ice. The scientific diving team of the Alfred Wegener Institute provides valuable services for investigation of the ice underside, for instance by installing nets for catching plankton organisms living in this environment. Positioned on ‘Polarstern’, researchers take samples from great water depths which, apart from collecting organisms, also provide information on trace gases, and temperature and salinity distributions. Scientists use the helicopters aboard, among other things, for deployment of buoys measuring the drift of floe fields surrounding the drift station. In addition, ice thickness is measured with a specialised sensor, the ‘Bird’. Scientists will likely sample the ice floe continually until January 5, 2005.

On the ‘Ispol’ website www.ispol.de, the ‘Ispol’ expedition can be followed through a detailed expedition log, and images from the site provide an impression of the work on the ice.
‘Polarstern’ is expected back in Bremerhaven on June 17.

Bremerhaven, December 9, 2004

Printable Images

Working on Ice

Working on the ice floe

webprint

 

Working on ice

Working on the ice floe. Photo: Ingo Arndt

webprint

 

Working on Ice Floe

Working on the ice floe under penguin supervision. Photo: Andreas Krell

webprint

 

Working on ice

Working on the ice floe. Photo: Ingo Arndt

webprint

 

Working on ice

Working on the Ice floe. Photo: Ingo Arndt

webprint

 

Working Ice

Working on the ice floe. Photo: Ingo Arndt

webprint

 

back to list

10. November 2004: Klimaerwärmung trifft besonders die Arktis

Printable Images

NCEP-Sat-2003 w

webprint

 

TDIFF w

webprint

 

Eiskante1998-04 w

webprint

 

volserie-trend-nnn w

webprint

 

back to list

3. November 2004: Bessere Vorhersagen für katastrophale Auswirkungen von Klimaschwankungen vor Südamerika

Printable Images

Fischer

Fischer in Südamerika. Foto: Alfred-Wegener-Institut

webprint

 

Gruppenbild

Gruppenfoto der Projektteilnehmer. Foto: Alfred-Wegener-Institut

webprint

 

back to list

21. October 2004: Die Antarktis und der Klimawandel


back to list

1. October 2004: Twentieth “Polarstern” expedition to Arctic is drawing to a close

On October 3rd, the German research vessel “Polarstern” of the Alfred Wegener

 

Institute for Polar and Marine Research will return to Bremerhaven from its 20th arctic expedition. During the last leg of the voyage, 44 scientists from Germany, Russia and South Korea, supported by crew members, helicopter pilots and technical staff, investigated the region north and west of Spitsbergen. Emphasis was placed on geophysical and geological studies of Fram Strait and Yermak Plateau. Of primary importance were seismic surveys of the upper kilometres of the ocean floor, and the sampling of sediments by means of various sounding devices.

The large sliding masses on the northern continental edge of Spitsbergen were among those investigated within the framework of the geology programme. Sliding masses are the result of major sediment shifts, which occur as a consequence of sudden events, such as earth quakes or instabilities on the upper continental slope following massive increases in sediment influx. The investigations are part of the international research project “Euromargins”. Of particular interest in this context are dating such events, estimating the magnitude of shifted sediments and interpreting the data sets with regard to climate changes during the past 150,000 years.

 

Fram Strait is the only deep water connection between the Arctic and the world’s oceans. In its centre, an active, slowly widening mid oceanic ridge is, even today, the reason why Spitsbergen is moving away from Greenland. According to current knowledge, the influx of cold arctic water through Fram Strait has been of major significance for the frequent cycles between warm periods and ice ages over the last millions of years. However, details about the temporal sequence of tectonic plate movement, important information for exact climate reconstructions, remain highly speculative.
“In particular, the new seismic data sets will enable scientist to improve the planning and implementation of scientific deep drilling expeditions to Fram Strait, Yermak Plateau and the region near East Greenland within the international drilling programme IOPD (Integrated Ocean Drilling Program)”, says expedition leader Prof Dr Rüdiger Stein of the Alfred Wegener Institute. “These drillings in the Arctic represent a major challenge for marine geosciences. They will contribute to solving the great mystery of changes in Arctic plate tectonics and paleaoclimate during the course of the past 120 Million years”, explains Stein.

A reconnaissance trip dedicated to the lost German arctic expedition of 1912 has been added to the expedition programme. Scientists of the Max-Planck-Institute in Seewiesen identified and recorded the expedition’s landing site in Duvefjord (Nordaustland, Spitsbergen at 80.17 N, 24.10 E) as well as the landing site of a secondary expedition in 1913 in Beverlysund, near North Cape, where the expedition vessel “Loevens-Kioeld” froze in pack ice and sank in 1912. The location of the sinking has been narrowed down with the help of historical stereo images and field surveys. The ship is the most northerly positioned wreck in the world, and is scheduled to be studied in detail using the dive vessel “Jago” in 2006.

“Polarstern” will undergo some maintenance work in the dockyard in Bremerhaven, during which time it will be prepared for its 22nd expedition to Antarctica beginning October 12th.

Bremerhaven, October 1st, 2004

Printable Images

Sampling

Sampling. Photo: Rüdiger Stein

webprint

 

Multicorer

Multicorer. Photo: Rüdiger Stein

webprint

 

Sampling

Sampling of sediment core. Photo: Rüdiger Stein

webprint

 

back to list

29. September 2004: Decoded gene sequence of the diatom Thalassiosira pseudonana

For the very first time, the genetic make-up of a planktonic marine alga has been sequenced. During this process, a team of international scientists found unexpected metabolic pathways in the diatom Thalassiosira pseudonana. The results will be published in the scientific journal ‘Science’ this week.

 

The fact that Thalassiosira pseudonana operates a urea cycle, has been a special discovery. Up to now, this metabolic pathway for ammonia detoxification was known only from the liver cells of animals and humans. It remains unclear how the cycle works in the alga. In addition, the diatom has two separate means for digesting fat, which is also unusual. One digestive mechanism is carried out as in animals, within mitochondria, the cell’s ‘power stations’. In contrast, fatty acids are broken down in regular plant-like fashion inside peroxysomes used for detoxification. Hence, the boundary between animals and plants appears blurred in this species of diatom.

The genome sequencing of Thalassiosira pseudonana is also of great interest for evolutionary biologists. Scientists came across genes which originate from the nucleus of a red alga. Gene transfer of this kind supports the theory of secondary endosymbiosis. Eukaryotes, such as diatoms, are complex cells with membrane bound nucleus and cell organelles. All living organisms other than bacteria are comprised of eukaryotic cells. Almost all eukaryotic cells, including human ones, have mitochondria. Plant and algal cells also contain plastids for photosynthesis. Originally, both types of organelles were bacteria that were incorporated by eukaryotic cells. For this reason, they are often termed ‘primary endosymbionts’. In several cases, secondary endosymbiosis took place in that one eukaryotic cell was incorporated by another and subsequently reduced to a – now secondary – organelle. Diatoms appear to have engulfed a unicellular species of red alga and transformed it into a secondary plastid. “The diatom is some kind of a chimera of several organisms”, says Dr Klaus Valentin of the Alfred Wegener Institute for Polar and Marine Research. This explains the presence of red algal genes in T. pseudonana according to Klaus Valentin, who participated in this project, among other ways, through identification of genes.

Diatoms such as Thalassiosira are of great ecological importance, because they contribute an estimated 20 percent to global primary production. Their role within the global carbon cycle is therefore comparable to tropical rain forests. The unicellular algae occur across the whole globe in ocean and fresh water environments, and even inhabit layers of liquid on soils, rocks or trees. They form the basis of a highly efficient food web, and, for this reason, are also key to commercial fisheries. For instance, the red pigments from diatoms are responsible for the red colouration of salmon. Diatoms carry their name for the presence of a two-part internal casing which consists of silica and may be beautifully ornamented.

 

The genome sequencing project of Thalassiosira pseudonana was coordinated by the USA and financed by the US Department of Energy. German participation in the project includes, apart from Dr Klaus Valentin of the Alfred Wegener Institute, Dr Nils Kröger, who holds a professorship of biochemistry at the University of Regensburg.

The article ‘The Genome of the Diatom Thalassiosira pseudonana: Ecology, Evolution and Metabolism’ will be published in the journal ‘Science’ on October 1.

Bremerhaven, September 29, 2004

Printable Images

Thalassiosira pseudonana

Microscopic picture of Thalassiosira pseudonana. Photo: G. Hasle

webprint

 

Thalassiosira pseudonana

SEM picture of Thalassiosira pseudonana. Photo: N. Kröger

webprint

 

back to list

14. September 2004: Arctic haze can affect global climate

How often do we look at the sky each day? Again and again, our gaze moves up to watch the display of passing clouds. Up to now, clouds have been also an unknown component in the calculations of arctic scientists trying to explain the phenomenon of arctic haze. However, scientists of the Alfred Wegener Institute for Polar and Marine Research (AWI) at the Potsdam Research Unit were able to use new data to somewhat 'lift the hazy veil'. The results have now been published in 'Geophysical Research Letters'.

The supposedly 'clean' Arctic is overcast with a layer of haze, particularly in winter and spring. The haze is composed of numerous fine dust and liquid particles, so-called aerosols. Aerosols originating from industrial regions of Europe, Russia and North America are carried to the Arctic. They attract water droplets, and condense into clouds, thus influencing climate. Depending on their composition, the particles either absorb or reflect sunlight, thus changing the amount of radiation reaching the earth’s surface. This changes temperature by a maximum of plus or minus three degrees Celsius. Under the direction of scientists from the AWI and the Japanese National Institute for Polar Research, international expeditions to the Arctic were carried out continually throughout spring for the purpose of precise location measurements at altitude (using aircraft) and at ground level.

Scientists from Potsdam are now feeding their computers with data from the research project ASTAR (Arctic Study of Tropospheric Aeorosol, Clouds and Radiation), as well as with long-term data records from the AWI station in Ny-Ålesund, Spitsbergen. A detailed mathematical arctic model is used for their calculations. In contrast to global climate models, this Arctic-specific model describes the conditions at North Pole regions in a more detailed manner and is, thus, more realistic.

Using this particular climate model, scientists calculated strong regional and seasonal temperature fluctuations within the highly complex and sensitive arctic region. They also discovered, that aerosols not only affect temperature, but also change atmospheric circulation. Usually, there is a clear cycle of cloud formation, rain and new cloud formation. Aerosols, however, can change this cycle, for example, by altering the lifespan and properties of clouds (e.g. droplet size and water content). In moist air, aerosols swell and, therefore, can increasingly absorb or reflect solar radiation. Consequently, the temperature within the aerosol layer rises or falls. This leads to a complete change in the vertical distribution of temperature, which may further alter cloud cover, for instance. Cloud cover, in turn, affects the incoming radiation and, hence, circulation.

In addition, simulations have shown that the presence of aerosols leads to a reduction of air pressure at ground level in the eastern Arctic, because the low pressure system with its centre over Iceland is extending further north. As a result, the North-South-exchange of heat and humidity is altered. This has effects on global climate. Moreover, there is evidence that aerosols have the potential to change natural large-scale oscillation patterns, such as the 'Barents Sea Oscillation', or the 'North Atlantic Oscillation'. The North Atlantic Oscillation is a climate phenomenon characterizing the fluctuations in air pressure between a low-pressure system over Iceland and a high-pressure system over the Azores. With a high-pressure differential, winters in northern Europe turn out to be wet and mild, while a low differential leads to cold and dry winters. Aerosols can intensify these effects. Therefore, the arctic haze layer may also influence the climate in our latitudes.
Bremerhaven, September 14, 2004


back to list

8. September 2004: Eisbohrkern aus Nordgrönland enthüllt detaillierte Geschichte des Klimas


back to list

27. August 2004: Higher Water Temperatures and Reduced Ice Cover In the Arctic Ocean

Over the past six weeks, scientists aboard the research vessel "Polarstern" of the Alfred Wegener Institute for Polar and Marine Research have been investigating changes in ocean temperature and sea ice cover in the area of Fram Strait between Spitsbergen and Greenland.
In this area significant exchange of water masses between the Arctic Ocean and the Atlantic Ocean takes place. The ongoing process of global warming throughout the past years has also altered conditions in Fram Strait and the North Polar Sea.

Recordings of temperature measurements in Fram Strait at various water depths indicate a rise in temperature since 1990 in the West Spitsbergen Current, which carries warm Atlantic Ocean water into the Arctic Ocean. The recent measurements by oceanographers aboard "Polarstern" point towards a further warming tendency. Compared to the previous year, temperatures recorded in the upper 500 metres of ocean current were up to 0.6 °C higher this year. The rise in temperature was detectable to a water depth of 2000 metres, representing an exceptionally strong signal by ocean standards. Consequently, the influx of warmer water causes a change in sea ice cover. Satellite images have documented a clear recession of sea ice edges in the Fram Strait region and in the Barents Sea over the last three years.

Climate processes are not only affected by the horizontal extent of sea ice, but also by its thickness. In order to determine ice thickness, the sea ice research group of the Alfred Wegener Institute has, over the past years, developed an airborne ice thickness sensor. It is towed by helicopter approximately 30 metres above ground and can cover up to 100 kilometres distance within one hour. This method allows construction of a representative picture of sea ice thickness. The thickness sensor is validated by flying the helicopter over a series of drilled ice holes (of known depth) arrayed along a transect line. In this way the precision of the sensor can be confirmed.

An exceptional type of comparison between measurements was carried out on Wednesday off the East Greenland coast, where "Polarstern" met the British research icebreaker "James Clark Ross": for the very first time in the history of sea ice research, sea ice topography was measured simultaneously from above and below. For this purpose, a British autonomous underwater vehicle (AUV) scanned the underside of the sea ice using sonar, while the sea ice physicists of the Alfred Wegener Institute evaluated the ice surface as well as its thickness from above, using the helicopter-towed ice thickness sensor.

 

These activities served as preparation for the calibration of the satellite "CryoSat". Starting in March 2005, "CryoSat" will measure sea ice thickness continually from a height of 700 kilometres in both polar regions. The quantification of sea ice thickness and its changes are of great importance in international climate research. Sea ice has a key role in climate systems and is considered a sensitive indicator of climate fluctuations. "CryoSat" will be used to investigate whether regional changes occur in all polar regions as a consequence of global warming.

Presently, "Polarstern" is on her 20th Arctic expedition. Since July 16th, scientists of the Alfred Wegener Institute for Polar and Marine Research have been working as part of an international team carrying out atmospheric chemical measurements, gathering data from the ocean and sea ice and collecting rock samples from the sea floor. On Sunday, "Polarstern" will reach Tromsø.

Bremerhaven, August 27, 2004

Printable Images

Rosette

CTD Rosette for water sampling. Photo: Peter Lemke

webprint

 

Ice drilling

Photo: Alfred-Wegener-Institut

webprint

 

Ice drilling

Photo: Alfred-Wegener-Institut

webprint

 

back to list

20. August 2004: German research vessel Polarstern discovers abandoned Russian station on ice floe

On August 16, 2004 early in the morning the German research vessel RV Polarstern discovered the remains of the abandoned Russian drifting ice camp North Pole-32 on an ice floe. The position of the floe was 82°16`N – 004°21`W. Three more or less intact barracks (one with antenna), one tent, two damaged barracks, two tractors, three larger fuel depots with about 300 drums, sleeping bags, nets and other material were found. In one of the barracks a calendar was found with the last entry date March 6, 2004. Two thirds of the drums were empty. Ninety percent of the full drums contained diesel, the rest contained remains of petrol, oil and kerosene.

RV Polarstern is currently on her voyage ARK XX/2 performing measurements in atmosphere, sea ice and ocean and collecting rock samples of the mid-ocean ridge system. After careful consideration of all circumstances, contacts with Antarctic and Arctic Research Institute (AARI) in St. Petersburg, Russia, and in view of possible harmful environmental effects if nothing would be done, the Alfred Wegener Institute for Polar- and Marine Research in Bremerhaven, Germany, granted permission to the request of the RV Polarstern to interrupt its research programme and advised the master to take immediate action for removal of harmful remains. Because the station is presently in or close to Greenland waters, officials in Greenland were informed immediately.

The operation started on August 18 at 0612 GMT. Navigation to the floe was hampered by dense fog in the morning. After lifting of the fog at noon, POLARSTERN went along-side the ice floe and scientists and crew members were set out. Material was picked up and loaded on board by helicopter. The activities were focussed first on the recovery of 304 fuel drums. Then debris scattered about the floe was collected, and finally two tractors were taken aboard by crane. The local operation was completed on August 19 at 0100 GMT. All environmentally harmful material could be removed. Only remains of barracks being stuck in re-frozen melt ponds were left on the ice floe. This action of RV Polarstern has set the final chapter in the history of the drifting research station North Pole-32. After 24 hours, Polarstern continued with the research programme some 20 nautical miles west of the NP-32 ice floe.

At the end of April 2003 the world’s only Arctic station on an ice floe, North Pole-32, was established by the Expedition Centre for Arctic and Antarctica in Moscow, while the AARI was responsible for the research programme. On March 04, 2004 the drifting station got in distress at sea, about 150 km away from the North Pole. Ice started breaking off and pack ice shoved over the flow, pressing it under water. Sixteen barracks and containers disappeared in the sea, while twelve men and two dogs waited for help. They were rescued on March 06, 2004 by a Mi-8 helicopter, but most of their equipment had to be abandoned and remained on the ice floe. Two months before the planned dismantling of the ice camp the research programme was ended, after working successfully for ten months.

The removal of the Russian ice camp shows how important logistic capabilities of research icebreakers are for taking immediate and efficient response in the case of unusual events and emergencies. RV Polarstern is a powerful research- and supply icebreaker. Her high standard technical equipment, as well as the allocation of helicopters on board have again proved to be of great value. Furthermore, this successful operation clearly emphasizes the need for international assistance and coordination. Also the operation of ships with high-tech scientific equipment, as well as capabilities for supply and disposal operations under complicated conditions are of great importance.

 

The AARI and the Alfred Wegener Institute have been collaborating successfully for many years in the field of research and logistics in both the Arctic and Antarctic. This includes organization of joint research expeditions in the Arctic Ocean, in the Siberian Arctic and the collaboration in the international Project Dronning Maud Land Air Network (DROMLAN) in the Antarctic. The successful removal of the abandoned drifting station NP-32 is a further milestone within this cooperation.

Bremerhaven, August 20, 2004

Printable Images

Polarstern

Polarstern with helicopter. Photo: Peter Lemke

webprint

 

Helicopter

Photo: Peter Lemke

webprint

 

NP-32 Station

Photo: Peter Lemke

webprint

 

Helicopter

Photo: Peter Lemke

webprint

 

Helicopter

Photo: Peter Lemke

webprint

 

NP-32 Station

Photo: Peter Lemke

webprint

 

NP-32 Station

Photo: Peter Lemke

webprint

 

NP-32

Captain U. Domke and Chief Scientist Prof. P. Lemke. Photo: Alfred-Wegener-Institut

webprint

 

back to list

16. June 2004: Taking the Research Icebreaker to the "Hausgarten"

On June 16, 2004, the German research icebreaker "Polarstern" is scheduled to leave Bremerhaven for her 20th arctic expedition. During the first leg of the expedition, the main emphasis is on measurements of selected pollutants of air, water and snow, as well as on the hydrographic conditions in the Greenland Sea. In addition, any changes in the so-called "AWI-Hausgarten” (“Back Yard"), a long-term monitoring station in the arctic deep sea, will also be of great interest.

The deep sea is the largest, yet least known, habitat on earth. To date, many deep-sea processes and their effects on global climate- and ecosystems remain insufficiently understood, partly because snapshot-style investigations, standard until a few years ago, provide limited tools to answer such questions One-off sampling regimes and measurements cannot give estimates of temporal variability. However, long-term studies at selected locations allow to determine the environmental conditions which influence the development, structure and complexity of deep-sea species' communities. There is a great need for such baseline data in order to be able to estimate the effects of anthropogenic influences on the ecosystem of the deep sea. Only the ability to document temporal variability over extended periods of time enables us to distinguish inter-annual or inter-seasonal fluctuation from long-term (natural) trends.

Research in the "Hausgarten” (“Back-Yard")
In summer 1999, scientists of the 'Alfred Wegener Institute for Polar and Marine Research' established in Fram Strait, west of Spitsbergen (79°N, 4°E.) the first long-term monitoring area of any deep-sea polar region. Apart from a main experimental area in 2500 m water depth (the so-called "AWI Hausgarten"), a total of nine stations between 1000 and 5500 m depth were identified. Over the next years, repeated biological, geochemical and sedimentological investigations will be carried out at these locations. For the current expedition, the main research interests are the quantification of bottom-dwelling organisms and the oxygen consumption on the sea floor, particle transfer into the deep sea, and sedimentation at the edge of the continental shelf west of Spitsbergen. In addition, studies of bacterial deep-sea communities, small sediment-dwelling organisms and deep-sea fishes will also be part of the research programme. Investigations into the effect of methane on benthic foraminifera, which are highly sensitive indicators of environmental conditions, will complement the research activities.

Research facility on the right track
During “Polarstern’s” voyage to the ‘AWI-Hausgarten’, scientists of the “GKSS Forschungszentrum” (‘GKSS Research Centre’) – like the AWI, an institute of the “Helmholtz-Gemeinschaft” – will be able to use the vessel’s research facilities for a variety of air chemistry investigations. The scientists’ primary goal is analysis of the distribution of mercury and persistent organic pollutants. “Polarstern’s” route from Bremerhaven to the waters of the Arctic provides them with the rare opportunity to make serial measurements, which, in a spatial sequence, cover both the source regions of the pollutants as well as remote, comparatively pristine, arctic regions. One phenomenon specific to polar areas is the ‘atmospheric mercury decline’, during which mercury concentrations temporarily drop to background levels. In this context, the scientists intend to investigate to what extent the earth’s polar regions can be expected to act as terminal deposition areas.

Subsequently, “Polarstern” will collect hydrographic data between Greenland and Spitsbergen along latitude 75o degrees north. This exercise is part of a repeated measurements programme, ongoing for the past several years, because “only extensive time series with high quality data allow for the correct detection and explanation of complex changes in arctic waters”, according to expedition leader Gereon Budeus. Deep sea convection plays an especially significant role. Recently, small scale eddies have been discovered, in which convection extends 1000 m deeper down than in the surrounding water. In order to estimate the significance of such eddies, researchers will attempt to follow the development of a comparatively stationary eddy over several years.

Following the completion of studies in the ‘AWI Back Yard’, “Polarstern” is scheduled to anchor in Lonyearbyen, Spitsbergen on July 16, 2004. From there, further legs of the expedition will take the vessel to Fram Strait and the Yermak Plateau. At that time, the research programme will include extensive studies addressing geological, oceanographic, biological and atmospheric chemistry questions.
On October 3rd, “Polarstern” is expected to return to Bremerhaven from its 20th expedition with a rich scientific harvest.

Bremerhaven, June 16, 2004


back to list

7. June 2004: Oldest Antarctic ice core reveals climate history

Secrets of the Earth’s past climate locked in a three-kilometre long Antarctic ice core are revealed this week in the journal Nature. The core from Dome C, high on East Antarctica’s plateau, contains snowfall from the last 740,000 years and is by far the oldest continuous climate record obtained from ice cores so far.

The ice has been collected in an eight year project by scientists and engineers from 10 European countries. Analysis of ice cores shows how temperature changed in the past, but also how the concentrations of gases and particles in the atmosphere varied.

The first results confirm that over the last 740,000 years the Earth experienced eight ice ages, when Earth’s climate was much colder than today, and eight warmer periods (interglacials). In the last 400,000 years the warm periods have had a temperature similar to that of today. Before that time they were less warm, but lasted longer.

By comparing the pattern of this past climate with global environmental conditions today the scientists conclude that, without human influence, we could expect the present warm period to last at least another 15 000 years.

The next step in the research is to extract air from tiny bubbles in the ice, and to find out how the atmosphere’s composition has varied. Preliminary analyses show that the present carbon dioxide concentration is the highest level seen in the last half a million years. By understanding what drove past changes in climate, the scientists expect to improve predictions about future climate.

The Dome C drilling is part of the ‘European Project for Ice Coring in Antarctica’ (EPICA). The team at Dome C endured temperatures of minus 40ºC at the remote drilling site thousands of kilometres from the nearest research station. The consortium will continue to drill at the site from December 2004, and hopes to reach the rocks at the base of the ice sheet. There are just 100 metres still to drill, and if all goes well, the team will reach ice over 900,000 years old at the base.

Issued on behalf of the EPICA Steering Committee, The European Union, and the European Science Foundation.

Further background information:
The 'EPICA' project (European Project for Ice Coring in Antarctica) is run by a consortium of ten European countries: Belgium, Denmark, Germany, Great Britain, France, Italy, Norway, Sweden and Switzerland. EPICA is coordinated through the European Science Foundation (ESF) and is funded by the participating countries together with the European Union. The goal of EPICA is to drill two ice cores through the inland ice of the Antarctic down to the rock surface.

Apart from the drilling at Dome C (75° 06’S, 123° 21’E), there is a second drill hole at the 'Kohnen'- Station in Dronning Maud Land (75°00'S, 00°04'O) that has currently reached 2565 m depth. The German partner in the EPICA project is the Alfred Wegener Institute for Polar and Marine Research (AWI) in Bremerhaven. It has responsibility for the drilling in Dronning Maud Land. In addition, Prof Heinz Miller, acting director at the AWI, manages overall EPICA project coordination. EPICA is one of the core projects within the AWI research framework ’Marine, Coastal and Polar Systems’ (MARCOPOLI). MARCOPOLI is part of the research area "Erde und Umwelt" ('Earth and Environment') of the "Helmholtzgemeinschaft".

Ice cores are ice cylinders 10 cm in diameter, that are gradually retrieved in segments of up to 3 m length during the drilling process. Ultimately, this ice originates from snowflakes falling over hundreds of thousands of years. In the process of falling, flakes collect aerosol particles from the air. Over time, snowflakes are transformed into ice crystals, encapsulating the air between them, together with minute particles, in small bubbles.

Analyses of the chemical composition, as well as the physical properties of the ice and the enclosed air allow scientists to study the relationship between atmospheric processes and climatic changes of the past. In the case of Dome C, the frosty climate archive dates back 740,000 years. In this work, special emphasis is placed on the effects of carbon dioxide, methane and other components. The results are used to control and further develop mathematical models, which serve in the prediction of future climate conditions.

Field research in the Antarctic imposes significant scientific and logistic challenges on scientists and technicians. The locations where ice cores are drilled within the framework of 'EPICA" are some of the most remote and inhospitable places on earth.

Bremerhaven, June 7th, 2004


back to list

19. May 2004: Climate researchers study haze over the Arctic

An international team of scientists is currently investigating a haze layer that spreads over the Arctic each spring. This layer of air contains aerosols whose expansion in the otherwise clean Arctic atmosphere leads to a level of pollution that usually occurs only over industrial areas. One of the most important questions arising is whether or not this might have direct or indirect effects on the climate.

 

Aerosols are air-suspended particles that directly influence climate through absorption or reflection of solar radiation. In addition, they can act as crystallization nuclei and cause formation of clouds, thus influencing climate indirectly. By spring 2000, scientists of the Alfred Wegener Institute for Polar and Marine Research had already discovered that, during summer, concentrations of the heavy metals lead and cadmium in the Arctic haze were elevated three- to fivefold compared to clear polar air. The concentration in spring is comparable to that in central Europe, although there are few anthropogenic sources of aerosols in the Arctic. The pollution of the Arctic atmosphere evidently originates in remote industrial regions. Aircraft measurements Under the direction of the Alfred Wegener Institute and the Japanese National Institute for Polar Research (NIPR), an international consortium is using various research stations to investigate the Arctic haze phenomenon. The goal of the current project ASTAR 2004 (Arctic Study of Tropospheric Aeorosol, Clouds and Radiation) is the exact recording of this air layer during the transition from Arctic spring to Arctic summer. The measurements are only possible through the assistance of two polar aircraft, “Polar 2” and “Polar 4”, of the Alfred Wegener Institute, which are operated from Longyearbyen on Spitsbergen. The aircraft service is operated by the "Deutsche Zentrum für Luft- und Raumfahrt" ('German Aerospace Centre DLR'). "Optimare Sensorsysteme AG Bremerhaven" is responsible for maintenance of the scientific systems. The aircraft are equipped with a multitude of instruments that determine the properties of aerosols as well as their interaction with cloud particles. In “Polar 4”, measurement systems to determine optical, microphysical and chemical aerosol concentrations have been installed. In “Polar 2”, systems for the identification of microphysical properties of cloud particles have been installed, as well as the new light radar system (AMALI) for remote sensing of the aerosol distribution in the lower troposphere. Further analyses, including mathematical modelling, will be carried out later at the Alfred Wegener Institute. Network of ground level measurements and satellite observations In order to be able to assess the complexity of Arctic haze, measurements similar to the flight recordings in Ny-Ålesund on Spitsbergen (home base of the German-French Arctic station, the Japanese station and the Norwegian-Swedish mountain station) will be made at ground level. Additional measurements will be conducted at the Polish polar station in Hornsund on Spitsbergen, at the Finnish station in Pallas Sodankylae (Finland), as well as in Point Barrow, Alaska (USA). Furthermore, the data will be used to complement NASA and ENVISAT satellite projects. These projects support ASTAR scientists, in turn, by provision of current regional satellite data. This year's six-week measurement expedition is part of a series that has been ongoing since 2000. A further Arctic aircraft expedition is planned for March/April of next year. The ASTAR project is supported by the German Research Council, the Japanese Ministry for Education, Science, Sports and Culture, the Swedish Polar Research Secretariat and the French Polar Institute Paul Emile Victor ([IPEV] within the framework of the joint German/French Arctic Station).

The expedition will end June 15, 2004.

On June 17, the AWI aircraft “Polar 2” and “Polar 4” will return to Bremerhaven.

Bremerhaven, May 19, 2004

Printable Images

Polarflugzeuge

Polar 2 und Polar 4. Photo: Jürgen Graeser

webprint

 

Polarflugzeuge

Polar 2 und Polar 4. Photo: T. Garbrecht

webprint

 

Polarflugzeuge

Polar 2 und Polar 4. Photo: E. Halbroth

webprint

 

back to list

29. September 2005: Grönländer erinnern an deutschen Polarforscher

Printable Images

Alfred Wegener und sein grönländischer Begleiter Rassmus Villumsen

Die Rückfahrt von 'Eismitte' im November 1930 endete tragisch. Erst im Mai 1931 fand eine Suchexpedition den Leichnam von Alfred Wegener im Eis, Rassmus Villumsen blieb verschollen.

webprint

 

Die Station 'Eismitte'

An der zentral gelegenen Station 'Eismitte' wurde die Dicke des grönländischen Eisschildes mit 2700 Meter gemessen

webprint

 

Am Eisrand des Kronprinz-Christian-Landes in Nordostgrönland

Veränderungen des grönländischen Eisschildes interessieren auch heute die Wissenschaft.

webprint

 

back to list

19. August 2005: Telemedizin für deutsche Forschungsstation in der Antarktis

Printable Images

Ein komplettes OP-Team in der Antarktis

Durch das orange Corlink-System können Ärzte trotz großer räumlicher Distanz gemeinsame Operationen durchführen.

webprint

 

Als Arzt in der Antarktis

Eberhard Kohlberg ist Chirurg und hat 1999 für 15 Monate in der antarktischen Neumayer-Station überwintert.

webprint

 

Die Neumayer-Station des Alfred-Wegener-Instituts für Polar und Meeresforschung

Nur im antarktischen Sommer ist die Station erreichbar.

webprint

 

Satellitenstandleitung in die Antarktis

Über Satellit werden die medizinischen Daten in der Telemedizin zwischen Antarktis und Bremerhaven übertragen.

webprint

 

back to list

17. August 2005: Eisbrecher Polarstern als erstes deutsches Forschungsschiff virtuell im Internet zu besichtigen

Printable Images

Die „Virtuelle Polarstern“ im Internet

Räumlichkeiten auf insgesamt sechs Decks und ein ausgedehnter Rundgang über die Außendecks des Forschungseisbrechers können per Mausklick erkundet werden.

webprint

 

back to list

10. August 2005: Bremerhavener Schüler fahren in die Barentssee

Printable Images

Bildungslogger Lovis

Der Bildungslogger „Lovis“ wurde 1897 in Göteborg als Dampfschiff mit zwei Stützmasten gebaut. Seit Mai 2000 ist die in Greifswald beheimatete „Lovis“ als speziell für Gruppen- und Seminarreisen ausgerüsteter Traditionssegler auf der Ostsee unterwegs.

webprint

 

Alltag bei HIGHSEA

Alltag bei HIGHSEA: Wissenschaftliche Experimente machen Schule spannend.

webprint

 

back to list

19. July 2005: Forschungseisbrecher Polarstern läuft in die Arktis aus

Printable Images

Polarstern

Bald ist Polarstern wieder am Arbeitsplatz im Polarmeer.

webprint

 

back to list

7. July 2005: 25th Anniversary of the Alfred-Wegener-Institute for Polar and Marine Research

On July 15, 2005, the Alfred-Wegener-Institute for Polar and Marine Research will celebrate its 25th anniversary at its headquarters in Bremerhaven. Since 1980, the institute has been conducting research in the Antarctic and the Arctic, as well as in the North Sea and in other temperate oceans. It has continued the successful polar research of the early 20th century, inseparably connected with the names of Alfred Wegener and Georg von Neumayer. Today, the institute’s research activities range from plate tectonics and food webs to the causes and effects of climate change.

 

During the early years, Professor Gotthilf Hempel, first Director of the Alfred-Wegener-Institute, provided the ground work for timely and efficient research in the Antarctic and Arctic. In 1992, polar research of the former GDR was integrated through the research unit in Potsdam. Professor Max Tilzer, second Director of the Alfred-Wegener-Institute, planned the institute’s amalgamation with the ‘Biologische Anstalt Helgoland’ and its field station on Sylt, realised in 1998. Nowadays, approximately 800 employees contribute to polar research in the Antarctic and Arctic from four locations in Germany, six research vessels and five polar stations. The research vessel Polarstern, worldwide still the most powerful research ice breaker, remains the most important tool for polar research. Polarstern has travelled more than one million nautical miles and has been used by about 7000 German and foreign scientists.

 

At the time the institute was established, research was focussed particularly on a key species of the Antarctic ecosystem: Krill occurs in seemingly limitless abundances and forms the food basis for many other inhabitants of the Antarctic, including fish and whales. The krill, which had been known to live in the open water column in the summer, grazes algae from the underside of the ice during winter. This discovery has significantly improved our understanding of polar food web functioning. Subsequently, the importance of polar regions for global climate increasingly became research focus.

“The dynamics and rate of climate change are particularly visible at the poles. Our goal is to understand how the earth functions as a system; how the atmosphere, biosphere, the oceans and the polar regions interact with one another”, Professor Jörn Thiede, Director of the Alfred-Wegener-Institute since 1997 and since 2002 acting president of the international Scientific Committee on Antarctic Research (SCAR), explains the aims and objectives of polar climate research. All natural science disciplines collaborate towards this extensive task following the example of Alfred Wegener - meteorologist, polar researcher and founder of the theory of continental drift, whom the institute was named after.

 

The success is apparent: Under the leadership of the Alfred-Wegener-Institute and within the context of the EPICA project, an ice core from more than 3200 metre depth has doubled our knowledge of Antarctic climate history, now including a period of more than 800,000 years. Analysis of the atmosphere trapped in minute bubbles in the ice has demonstrated that the current concentration of the atmospheric greenhouse gas carbon dioxide has reached its highest value in the past 500,000 years. With international collaboration, the Alfred-Wegener-Institute carries out comparable analyses on the Greenland ice shield or in permafrost soils of the Siberian tundra, proving analogous developments across the globe. Apart from historic records, scientists collect current climate data and use not only Polarstern, but also the polar aircraft owned by the institute as well as modern technology. Together, these measurements and the historic records provide the basis for computer models facilitating the understanding of complex relationships and optimising climate predictions.

 

Biologists of the institute are interested in the effects of temperature changes and increased UV radiation on marine ecosystems. At the Dallmann Laboratory in the Antarctic, operated jointly with Argentina and the Netherlands, plants and animals of the seafloor are investigated. In the open ocean, researchers, once again, have been studying the krill: Reduced abundances in the Antarctic South Atlantic Ocean could have far reaching consequences for the Antarctic ecosystem. However, changes have also been documented from the North Sea: the Biological Institute on Helgoland and the Wadden Sea Station on Sylt have been investigating the immigration of warm-adapted species.

 

Nevertheless, many questions still lack answers. The research capacity needs to be expanded further in order to close the gaps in knowledge. The launching of the European research satellite ‘CryoSat’, scheduled for September 2005, will enable continual monitoring of the polar ice shields. Starting in 2008, research activities in the Antarctic will continue from the new research station ‘Neumayer III’. In contrast to its predecessors, this station will be maintained continually above the snow surface through a system of hydraulic stilts. Some of these plans are part of the preparations for the International Polar Year 2007/2008. The merging of research capacity from numerous countries and institutes is intended to facilitate large-scale projects in polar regions. For this, the Alfred-Wegener-Institute will make an important contribution with its logistic resources and scientific expertise.

Bremerhaven, July 7, 2005.

Printable Images

AWI Bremerhaven

The old main building in Bremerhaven.

webprint

 

Krill

Krill grazes algae from the underside of the ice during winter.

webprint

 

Ice Laboratory

Climate data of the past are preserved in the polar ice.

webprint

 

Researcher

Researcher meets researcher.

webprint

 

Neumayer III

Hydraulic stilts will keep the new antarctic station above snow surface.

webprint

 

Polarstern

The research icebreaker Polarstern is on duty about 320 days per year.

webprint

 

Neumayer-Station

The current Neumayer Station is constructed to be covered by snow.

webprint

 

back to list


 
Printversion of this page
PDF-Version of this page