5. December 2013: EU supports projects on atmosphere research with 36 million euros – the research cluster “Aerosols and Climate“ starts at the AWI Potsdam
The new research cluster “Aerosols and Climate” started on Thursday 5 December with a kick-off meeting at the Potsdam Research Unit of the Alfred Wegener Institute, Helmholtz Centre for Polar and Marine Research (AWI). It brings together three projects, which deal with the interactions between aerosols and climate. The scientists involved want to minimise the great uncertainties in understanding the aerosol processes, which are emphasised in the last World Climate Report (IPCC). The EU is supporting the cluster in the coming four and a half years with a total of 36 million euros.
4. December 2013: International scholarship programme launched – Opening ceremony for the Centre of Excellence in Observational Oceanography in Berlin
The international advancement of young scientists has assumed a new dimension at the Alfred Wegener Institute: ten scholarship holders from just as many different nations will be embarking a ten-month traineeship as ocean experts this week. The Japanese Nippon Foundation and POGO (Partnership for Observation of the Global Oceans) have selected the Alfred Wegener Institute to conduct their joint project to strengthen the globally networked oceanographic research in the coming years. Federal Research Minister Prof. Dr. Johanna Wanka welcomes the scholars to the official programme launch in Berlin.
29. October 2013: Thawing Permafrost: The speed of coastal erosion in Eastern Siberia has nearly doubled
The high cliffs of Eastern Siberia – which mainly consist of permafrost – continue to erode at an ever quickening pace. This is the conclusion which scientists of the Alfred Wegener Institute, Helmholtz Centre for Polar and Marine Research have reached after their evaluation of data and aerial photographs of the coastal regions for the last 40 years. According to the researchers, the reasons for this increasing erosion are rising summer temperatures in the Russian permafrost regions as well the retreat of the Arctic sea ice. This coastal protection recedes more and more on an annual basis. As a result, waves undermine the shores. At the same time, the land surface begins to sink. The small island of Muostakh east of the Lena Delta is especially affected by these changes. Experts fear that it might even disappear altogether should the loss of land continue.
17. October 2013: Escaping the warmth: The Atlantic cod conquers the Arctic
As a result of climate change the Atlantic cod has moved so far north that it’s juveniles now can even be found in large numbers in the fjords of Spitsbergen. This is the conclusion reached by biologists of the Alfred Wegener Institute, Helmholtz Centre for Polar and Marine Research (AWI), following an expedition to this specific region of the Arctic Ocean, which used to be dominated by the Polar cod. The scientists now plan to investigate whether the two cod species compete with each other and which species can adapt more easily to the altered habitats in the Arctic.
15. October 2013: How do krill survive the Antarctic winter? Two-months dive expedition with RV Polarstern ends in Cape Town
Scientists from the Alfred Wegener Institute together with international colleagues could analyse the distribution and behaviour of larval and juvenile krill beneath wintery Antarctic sea ice for the first time. In order to decrypt the life cycle of this ecologically important species 51 scientists and technicians as well as 44 crewmembers sailed the Weddell Sea for 63 days. The expedition, which started in Punta Arenas (Chile) ends in Cape Town (South Africa) on Wednesday, 16 October.
11. October 2013: Polarstern: DLR and AWI test satellite-based methods for improving maritime navigation
The German Aerospace Center (Deutsches Zentrum für Luft- und Raumfahrt; DLR) is working on a satellite-based system for substantially improving ship navigation in ice-affected waters. The Earth observation satellites TerraSAR-X and TanDEM-X provide the high-resolution images needed to make this possible. Scientists from the Alfred Wegener Institute (AWI) – the Helmholtz Centre for Polar and Marine Research based in Bremerhaven – are currently on their way to Antarctica on board the research vessel 'Polarstern' to test the practicality of this technique.
26. September 2013: Traces of immense prehistoric ice sheets: the climate history of the Arctic Ocean needs to be rewritten
Geologists and geophysicists of the Alfred Wegener Institute, Helmholtz Centre for Polar and Marine Research (AWI), discovered traces of large ice sheets from the Pleistocene on a seamount off the north-eastern coast of Russia. These marks confirm for the first time that within the past 800,000 years in the course of ice ages, ice sheets more than a kilometre thick also formed in the Arctic Ocean. The climate history for this part of the Arctic now needs to be rewritten, report the AWI scientists jointly with their South Korean colleagues in the title story of the current issue of the scientific journal Nature Geoscience.
24. September 2013: Long-term data reveal: The deep Greenland Sea is warming faster than the World Ocean
Recent warming of the Greenland Sea Deep Water is about ten times higher than warming rates estimated for the global ocean. Scientists from the Alfred Wegener Institute, Helmholtz Centre for Polar and Marine Research recently published these findings in the journal Geophysical Research Letters. For their study, they analysed temperature data from 1950 to 2010 in the abyssal Greenland Sea, which is an ocean area located just to the south of the Arctic Ocean.
19. September 2013: Current sea ice development in the Arctic: edge of the pack ice retreats significantly, but the area is greater than in 2012
The annual minimum sea ice cover in the Arctic Ocean in September is on average around 5.1 million square kilometres this year, and is thus some 50 percent above the previous negative record of 3.4 million square kilometres recorded in 2012. “This figure does not signal a reversal in the trend, however”, is the joint conclusion drawn by sea ice physicist Marcel Nicolaus from the Alfred Wegener Institute, Helmholtz Centre for Polar and Marine Research (AWI), and Lars Kaleschke from the University of Hamburg, KlimaCampus (Climate Campus).
7. September 2013: Surprising underwater-sounds: Humpback whales also spend their winter in Antarctica
Biologists and physicists from the Alfred Wegener Institute, Helmholtz Centre for Polar and Marine Research, found out that not all of the Southern Hemisphere humpback whales (Megaptera novaeangliae) migrate towards the equator at the end of the Antarctic summer. Part of the population remains in Antarctic waters throughout the entire winter. The scientists report this in a current issue of scientific journal PLOS ONE. This surprising discovery based on underwater recordings from the Antarctic acoustic observatory PALAOA. It is located near the research base Neumayer Station III on the ice shelf and regularly records underwater sounds of humpback whales even in the austral winter months.