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Arctic Ocean: Greater Future acidification in summer

A new study predicts that climate change could shift and intensify the seasonal acidification of the Arctic Ocean, with consequences for its ecosystem

The Arctic polar cod Boreogadus saida
[05. October 2022] 

Over the past 200 years, our planet’s oceans have absorbed more than a quarter of all anthropogenic carbon dioxide from the atmosphere. As a result, their acidity has increased by nearly 30 percent their acidity has increased by nearly 30 percent since the beginning of the Industrial Revolution. In this regard, the water’s pH value isn’t constant; it varies both seasonally and regionally. The lowest values naturally occur in winter. But that could soon change, since they could be shifted to the summer by climate change, as an international team including experts from the Alfred Wegener Institute recently demonstrated. If this comes to pass, it could have far-reaching consequences for life in the ocean, as they report in the journal Nature.

New Method Makes It Possible to Measure Arctic Sea-ice Thickness, Even in Summer

An international team of researchers including experts from the AWI has now developed a method that uses satellite data to estimate the Arctic ice thickness and volume year-round

Research aircraft over the Arctic Ocean
[14. September 2022] 

Over the past several decades, the Arctic has warmed much faster than the rest of the world. With consequences for its sea ice. An international team of researchers including experts from the Alfred Wegener Institute has now developed a method that, for the first time, makes it possible to identify changes in the Arctic sea-ice thickness for the years 2011 to 2021 – even during the summer months. The resultant data is especially valuable for shipping in the Arctic and will substantially improve the quality of weather and ice forecasts alike. The results have just been released in the journal Nature.           


Emperor Penguins Live up to 600 Kilometres Farther North than Previously Assumed

Tagging project proves that juvenile penguins often live far beyond the current and planned protected areas alike

[Translate to English:] Kaiserpinguin-Kolonie
[31. August 2022] 

Before they reach the age of one, young emperor penguins from Atka Bay, near the German Neumayer Station III in the Antarctic, swim far north, beyond the 50th parallel south. Consequently, the current and planned Marine Protected Areas fail to offer them sufficient protection, as researchers including experts from the Alfred Wegener Institute contend in a study just released in the journal Royal Society Open Science.

Floating Summer School

As part of the UN Ocean Decade, an international Polarstern expedition departs from Bremerhaven

leaves its homeport Bremerhaven
[29. August 2022] 

On 30 August, 14 young investigators from around the globe will depart from Bremerhaven, bound for Cape Town. During the cruise, known as the North South Atlantic Training Transect, they’ll gain valuable insights into the marine sciences and conduct brief projects on the interactions between the ocean, atmosphere and climate. They’ll take with them three mini-boats constructed by schoolchildren from Germany, Ireland and Spain, containing instruments to measure the air and water temperature.

Coral reefs

Vital Ventilation

Stony corals use a refined built-in ventilation system to protect themselves from environmental stressors

With the help of tiny cilia, stony corals can influence the flow conditions in their environment and thus protect themselves from harmful oxygen concentrations.
[23. August 2022] 

Dying reefs and once-vibrant corals that have since lost all colour: climate change is having massive effects on the architects of undersea cities. As waters grow warmer, the phenomenon of “coral bleaching” continues to spread. Yet not all corals are equally susceptible. An international team led by Cesar Pacherres and Moritz Holtappels from the Alfred Wegener Institute, Helmholtz Centre for Polar and Marine Research (AWI) in Bremerhaven and Soeren Ahmerkamp from the Max Planck Institute for Marine Microbiology in Bremen may have found the explanation: using minuscule filaments (cilia), corals can influence the currents in their immediate vicinity, protecting themselves from harmful oxygen concentrations, as the experts report in the journal Current Biology.