20. November 2014: Permafrost soil is possible source of abrupt rise in greenhouse gases at end of last ice age
Scientists from the Alfred Wegener Institute, Helmholtz Centre for Polar and Marine Research (AWI) have identified a possible source of carbon dioxide (CO2) and other greenhouse gases that were abruptly released to the atmosphere in large quantities around 14,600 years ago. According to this new interpretation, the CO2 – released during the onset of the Bølling/Allerød warm period – presumably had their origin in thawing Arctic permafrost soil and amplified the initial warming through positive feedback. The study now appears online in the journal Nature Communications.
10. November 2014: How variable are ocean temperatures?
The earth’s climate appears to have been more variable over the past 7,000 years than often thought. A new study forthcoming online this week in the U.S. scientific journal “Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences” (PNAS) shows significant differences between climate archives and climate models.
10. November 2014: New study reveals: Iron fertilization of the Southern Ocean might be less efficient for deep-ocean carbon dioxide storage than previously thought
A new study performed by a team of international scientists reveals that a complex ecosystem response to iron fertilization in the Southern Ocean might reduce the efficiency of biological carbon pump in transporting carbon dioxide into the deep ocean. Lead author Dr. Ian Salter from the Alfred Wegener Institute, Helmholtz Centre for Polar and Marine Research (AWI), and a team of international collaborators, discovered that iron fertilization significantly promotes the growth of shelled organisms that feed on phytoplankton. These organisms produce carbon dioxide when building their calcareous shells. In a naturally iron-fertilized system in the Southern Ocean the growth and sinking of these shelled grazers reduces deep-ocean storage of carbon dioxide by up to 30 per cent.
30. October 2014: Pilot study reveals new findings about microplastics in wastewater
Treatment plants cannot completely keep microplastics out of wastewater by conventional means. This is one of the results of a pilot study commissioned by the regional water association of Oldenburg and Ostfriesland, Germany (OOWV – Oldenburg-Ostfriesischer Wasserverband) and the Lower Saxony Water Management, Coastal Defence and Nature Conservation Agency (NLWKN - Niedersächsischer Landesbetrieb für Wasserwirtschaft, Küsten- und Naturschutz). The findings will be used to better protect flora and fauna in rivers and seas.
24. October 2014: The floating university – graduate school uses Polarstern cruise to Antarctic for training
The expedition on the research vessel Polarstern starting on Saturday, 25 October 2014 focuses on training early-stage researchers. On board, 22 PhD and Master's students will learn how to use hydroacoustic measuring methods under real-life conditions. The participants come from international courses at the University of Bremen and the POLMAR graduate school at the Alfred Wegener Institute, Helmholtz Centre for Polar and Marine Research (AWI).
13. October 2014: The great makeover begins: AWI is building new long-term observatory for Arctic Ocean observations
Scientists and engineers of the Alfred Wegener Institute, Helmholtz Centre for Polar and Marine Research (AWI) are currently starting work on a long-term observatory with observation stations from the Norwegian Sea to the Arctic Ocean. In the coming years, the AWI researchers intend to upgrade their existing long-term observatories along this key climatological interface into a comprehensive research infrastructure and deploy a wide range of modern marine technologies. The overriding objective is to be able to observe the changes in the ocean and its ecosystems from the surface to the deep sea with the aid of the new FRAM observatory.
8. October 2014: Enormous Progress in Ocean Acidification Research: New Report Summarises Current State of Knowledge
Never before have so many scientists conducted research on what impacts the declining pH value of seawater has on animals and plants in the ocean. The experts have now compiled their results for the second report on ocean acidification of the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD), which will be launched today at the twelfth conference of the Parties to the Convention. Major focus is placed on the consequences that also have an effect on us human beings. By means of this summary, the CBD wants to put the problem of the acidifying oceans on the international political agenda.
7. October 2014: Window into the past: researchers on board Polarstern find ancient sediments on the seafloor of the Arctic
An international team of scientists headed by the Alfred Wegener Institute, Helmholtz Centre for Polar and Marine Research (AWI) opened a new window into the past of the Arctic Ocean during the now ending summer expedition of the research vessel Polarstern. Along steep slide scars on Lomonosov Ridge the scientists discovered considerably hardened sediments that are presumably ten or perhaps even 30 to 40 million years old and will provide the researchers new insights into the climate history of the Arctic Ocean.
24. September 2014: Premiere in mudflats: first scholarship holders celebrate their graduation from the Centre of Excellence in Observational Oceanography at the Alfred Wegener Institute
For the first time ten young marine scientists will celebrate their graduation from the Centre of Excellence in Observational Oceanography, a scholarship programme of the Japanese Nippon Foundation and the Partnership for Observation of the Global Oceans (POGO). The scholarship holders from Africa, Asia, South America and the Caribbean were guests at AWI’s island locations on Helgoland and Sylt for ten months to continue their education in various fields of the marine sciences. Three of them will subsequently do their doctorate in Europe. The other seven will go back home to apply and pass on their newly acquired knowledge.
16. September 2014: Current Sea Ice Situation: Ongoing Retreat in the Arctic, new maximum in the Antarctic
The area of sea ice in the Arctic fell to a summer minimum of around 5.0 million square kilometers this year, which is about 1.6 million square kilometers more than the record low in 2012. However, according to sea ice physicist Marcel Nicolaus from the Alfred Wegener Institute (AWI) and Lars Kaleschke from the Hamburg Cluster of Excellence for Climate Research (CliSAP) this confirms the long-term downward trend in the Arctic. On the other hand, the winter ice sheet in the South Polar Ocean has expanded to an area of 20.0 million square kilometers, as the researchers report, which exceeds the 30-year-maximum from the previous year.