Weekly Reports Polarstern

The Expedition PS99 from Bremerhaven to Tromsø

The RV Polarstern expedition PS99 to the Arctic will start on 13 June 2016 in Bremerhaven and lead to study areas northwest of Bear Island, south of Spitsbergen and in the central and eastern Fram Strait.

During the first leg of the expedition (Bremerhaven - Longyearbyen), RV Polarstern will be available to support two scientific projects selected by the European FP7 Research Infrastructure programme EUROFLEETS2. The research project BURSTER (Bottom currents in a stagnant environment) aims to investigate the geodynamic and hydrographic conditions, and the active gas seepage present in the pockmark-field piercing the sediment drift located in the inner part of the Kveithola Trough, whereas temporal and spatial variations of deep currents to the southwest of Svalbard are in focus of the DEFROST (Deep flow regime off Spitsbergen) project.

The scientific work during the second leg of the expedition (Longyearbyen - Tromsø) will support the time-series studies at the LTER (Long-Term Ecological Research) observatory HAUSGARTEN, where we document Global Change induced environmental variations on a polar deep-water ecosystem. This work is carried out in close co-operation between the HGF-MPG Joint Research Group on Deep-Sea Ecology and Technology, and the PEBCAO Group (Phytoplankton Ecology and Biogeochemistry in the Changing Arctic Ocean) at AWI and the Helmholtz Young Investigators Group SEAPUMP (Seasonal and regional food web interactions with the biological pump), representing a joint effort between AWI and the MARUM - Center for Marine Environmental Sciences, and the University of Bremen.

The expedition will also be used to accomplish installations for the HGF infrastructure project FRAM (Frontiers in Arctic marine Monitoring). The FRAM Ocean Observing System aims at permanent presence at sea, from surface to depth, for the provision of near real-time data on Earth system dynamics, climate variability and ecosystem change. It serves national and international tasks towards a better understanding of the effects of change in ocean circulation, water mass properties and sea-ice retreat on Arctic marine ecosystems and their main functions and services. Products of the infrastructure are continuous long-term data with appropriate resolution in space and time, as well as ground-truthing information for ocean models and remote sensing.

During the technically and logistically very challenging expedition PS99 we will, amongst others, use an Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) and different autonomous underwater vehicles which will operate in the water column and on the deep seafloor. The cruise will end on 16 July 2016 in Tromsø (Norway).

PS100 - Weekly Report No. 1 | 18 July - 24y July 2016

The 100th expedition

Aussetzen eines Ozeanbodenseismometers
[28. July 2016] 

In the evening of 18 July the research ice breaker Polarstern left the port of Tromsö (Norway) in cloudy and windy conditions to start its 100th expedition. On board there are scientists from 13 nations.

PS99 - Weekly Report No. 5 | 11 July - 15 July 2016


[18. July 2016] 

As already announced in the last weekly report, today we will provide details about the work of the biogeochemists and biologists during “Polarstern” expedition PS99.2. Their goal is to investigate organisms and processes at the deep seafloor.

PS99 - Weekly Report No. 4| 4 July - 11 July 2016

Water World

[11. July 2016] 

As already announced in the last weekly report, today we will provide details about the work of the phyto-opticians, biogeochemists, planktologists and sedimentologist during RV Polarstern expedition PS99.2. Their goal is to investigate the organisms and processes in the water column.

PS99 - Weekly Report No. 3| 27 June - 3 July 2016

In the air, in the water column and at the deep seafloor

[04. July 2016] 

For about a week we have been operating in our investigation area, i.e. the LTER (Long-Term Ecological Research) Observatory HAUSGARTEN. In addition to our “traditional” gear to study the open and deep ocean, like water samplers, plankton nets, sediment corers and moorings, we will also deploy a number of comparably complex high-tech gear to complement our long-term studies. This includes an Un-manned Aerial Vehicles (UAV), a 3000 m depth-rated Autonomous Underwater Vehicle (AUV), free-falling lander systems (Bottom-Lander) and - for...

PS99 - Weekly Report No. 2| 20 June - 26 June 2016

A short stopover?

[27. June 2016] 

On 23rd June, we reached Longyearbyen and the expedition PS99.1 came to an end. The hydrographical, biological and geological studies of the two EUROFLEETS2 projects, explained in detail in our first weekly report, could successfully be completed. Within only 2½ days available ship-time we managed to sample the water column and the seafloor, to map the seafloor with a towed camera system, and to exchange moorings with current-meters and sediment traps at a total of 40 stations at water depths between 150 and 1800 m. Exhausted but as...