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Press release

Climate researchers study haze over the Arctic

[19. May 2004] 

An international team of scientists is currently investigating a haze layer that spreads over the Arctic each spring. This layer of air contains aerosols whose expansion in the otherwise clean Arctic atmosphere leads to a level of pollution that usually occurs only over industrial areas. One of the most important questions arising is whether or not this might have direct or indirect effects on the climate.

Aerosols are air-suspended particles that directly influence climate through absorption or reflection of solar radiation. In addition, they can act as crystallization nuclei and cause formation of clouds, thus influencing climate indirectly. By spring 2000, scientists of the Alfred Wegener Institute for Polar and Marine Research had already discovered that, during…


Press release

Saint-Petersburg State University awards Honorary Doctorate to AWI director

[12. May 2004] 

For his scientific contributions to polar research and his commitment towards cooperation with Russia, Professor Jörn Thiede, director of the Alfred Wegener Institute for Polar and Marine Research (AWI), will be awarded an Honorary Doctorate from Saint-Petersburg State University on May 12, 2004.


Press release

Scientists investigate Krill in the South-Polar Ocean

[06. May 2004] 

In the past six weeks scientists aboard the research vessel “Polarstern“ have been searching for krill in the previously scarcely investigated Lazarev Sea. The expedition ended today in Cape Town. As a food source for whales, seals, penguins and seabirds, krill takes a key role within this ecosystem of the Antarctic. Very little is known about the distribution, biology, population dynamics and physiology of these shrimp-like crustaceans, either from this ocean region or about the time period between the Antarctic autumn and winter. The expedition was to gather information on the protection of krill populations before the increasing industrial use of krill products may impact krill stocks and, consequently, the Antarctic ecosystem.


Press release

Carbon dioxide: riding the sugar express into the abyss

[29. April 2004] 

In the world's oceans, considerably more of the greenhouse gas carbon dioxide than previously suggested can be transported to the deep sea. This was pointed out in an article authored by scientists from the Alfred Wegener Institute for Polar and Marine Research (AWI) in Bremerhaven, and the Laboratoire d’Océanographie de Villefranche in France in the recent issue of the scientific journal Nature (see below). In their work, the scientists show that water-soluble sugar molecules produced by algae form particles in the process of aggregation. These particles play a considerable role in the vertical transport of organic carbon compounds to ocean depths. Up to now, it was assumed that dissolved organic substances do not contribute to the vertical transport of carbon to the…


Press release

Impacts of climate changes on the ozone layer are bigger than previously suspected

[28. April 2004] 

Researchers have been successful in identifying the relationship between a reduction of arctic ozone and climate changes. Current observations show that the arctic ozone layer reacts much more sensitively to climate changes than predicted from earlier model calculations. A study published in “Geophysical Research Letters” (see below) demonstrates that, within the last 40 years, climate conditions in the stratosphere have facilitated the ozone decline in the Arctic. After analysis of ozone measurements from the past 12 years, researchers were able to determine precisely the impacts of temperature variations on arctic ozone losses: “For each degree Celsius of cooling, we must expect an additional ozone loss of 15 Dobson units. This is three times more than in current…


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