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Site for the Oldest Ice core in Antarctica identified – drilling can commence

New high-resolution radar data from East Antarctica reveals 1.5 million-year-old ice at a depth of ca. 2550 metres in the ice sheet

[20. December 2019] 

This week, an international team of researchers determined the final drilling coordinates for the oldest ice core in Antarctica, and began setting up camp on the Antarctic Plateau. When the time came to choose exactly where the drill should be used, the researchers relied on high-resolution data from a newly developed ice radar system, which they had used for the first time earlier this month in the target zone ‘Little Dome C’.


Press release

Change of Shifts at the North Pole

As the second leg of the one-year-long MOSAiC expedition begins, participants review the mission so far

[16. December 2019] 

After exchanging research teams and crewmembers, the greatest expedition to the Central Arctic of all time is now entering the next phase, during which urgently needed research into the Arctic climate system will be conducted. In the following paragraphs, the team from the first leg of the journey, which was dominated by thin sea ice, review the mission so far: despite extremely challenging conditions, they maintained a steady flow of scientific data. The new team will now face the darkest and coldest research phase: the Arctic winter, which has never been...


Antarctica

Antarctica’s Delicate Face

A new map reveals the landforms hidden beneath the ice in unprecedented detail. This will support more accurate forecasts concerning the future of the glaciers and sea-level rise.

[12. December 2019] 

When climate change causes Antarctica’s glaciers to flow out to sea faster, it’s not good news: when this happens, the frozen giants lose more and more ice, which, when it melts, raises the sea level. 


Modelling

Can Arctic ‘ice management’ combat climate change?

A new AWI study shows that a radical geo-engineering concept could potentially slow sea-ice retreat, but not global warming

[05. December 2019] 

According to a much-debated geo-engineering approach, both sea-ice retreat and global warming could be slowed by using millions of wind-powered pumps, drifting in the sea ice, to promote ice formation during the Arctic winter. AWI researchers have now, for the first time, tested the concept using a complex climate model and published their findings in the journal Earth’s Future. Their verdict is sobering: though the approach could potentially put off ice-free Arctic summers for a few more decades, beyond the Arctic the massive campaign wouldn’t produce any meaningful...


Changes in high-altitude winds over the South Pacific produce long-term effects on the Antarctic

New findings from the field of Earth history are improving our grasp of climate mechanisms

[04. November 2019] 

In the past million years, the high-altitude winds of the southern westerly wind belt, which spans nearly half the globe, didn’t behave as uniformly over the Southern Pacific as previously assumed. Instead, they varied cyclically over periods of ca. 21,000 years. A new study has now confirmed close ties between the climate of the mid and high latitudes and that of the tropics in the South Pacific, which has consequences for the carbon budget of the Pacific Southern Ocean and the stability of the West Antarctic Ice Sheet. 


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