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Coastal Research

Coastal Waters Under Pressure

The consequences of climate change in coastal areas are diverse and require complex computer models

Königshafen harbor of Sylt
[27. July 2021] 

The waters off many of the world’s coasts are under enormous pressure. Climate change is altering entire ecosystems in coastal waters and shelf seas, and added to this are further stress factors like overfertilisation and overfishing. All these negative influences act together and often mutually reinforce each other. The functionality and performance of these habitats that are so vital for humans could suffer as a result, warns a team of researchers from the Alfred Wegener Institute in the journal Frontiers in Marine Science. To better understand these critical developments and potentially counteract them, they argue, we need more complex and more flexible computer models than those currently available.

Review Article in Science

Focus on global plastic pollution

Review article highlights consequences of weathering and degradation processes and warns of potentially irreversible pollution

Litter on an Arctic ice floe.
[01. July 2021] 

Current rates of plastic emissions globally may trigger effects that we will not be able to reverse, researchers from Germany, Sweden and Norway report in a new study published in the prestigious journal Science on 2 July.

Marine Geology

Antarctic Circumpolar Current Flows More Rapidly in Warm Phases

In future the intensity of the Antarctic Circumpolar Current could increase, accelerating climate change

[Translate to English:] Das deutsche Forschungsschiff Polarstern bei schwerer See in der Drake Passage.
[24. June 2021] 

Our planet’s strongest ocean current, which circulates around Antarctica, plays a major role in determining the transport of heat, salt and nutrients in the ocean. An international research team led by the Alfred Wegener Institute has now evaluated sediment samples from the Drake Passage.


Climate Change makes Arctic Ozone Loss Worse

Results of the MOSAiC expedition show: the expected recovery of the ozone layer may fail to happen anytime soon, if global warming is not slowed down

Weather balloon
[23. June 2021] 

In spring 2020, the MOSAiC expedition documented an unparalleled loss of ozone in the Arctic stratosphere. As an evaluation of meteorological data and model-based simulations by the Alfred Wegener Institute, Helmholtz Centre for Polar and Marine Research (AWI) now indicates, ozone depletion in the Arctic polar vortex could intensify by the end of the century unless global greenhouse gases are rapidly and systematically reduced.

Project Start

EU Provides 15 Million Euros of Funding for Arctic Project

35 partners, led by the AWI, are developing a comprehensive environmental observing system for the Arctic as part of the Arctic PASSION project

Ice buoys on Arctic sea ice
[16. June 2021] 

The European Union will provide 15 million euros from the Horizon 2020 Programme to fund the Arctic PASSION project for the period 2021 to 2025. Under the leadership of the Alfred Wegener Institute, a consortium of 35 partners will promote the integration of international environmental observing systems for the Arctic and improve the tailoring of these systems to the needs of various user groups ranging from local inhabitants to academia through to industry and decision-makers.