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Arctic Expedition

Research icebreaker Polarstern departs for the Fram Strait

Researchers will investigate various oceanographic and biological aspects between the waters of the Atlantic and Arctic Oceans

[06. July 2018] 

On Tuesday, 10 July 2018 the research icebreaker Polarstern will leave its homeport in Bremerhaven, headed for the Arctic. The main focus of the journey will be on long-term oceanographic measurements and biological research in the water column and on the seafloor of the Fram Strait between Greenland and Svalbard.

MOSAiC Expedition

An entire year trapped in the Arctic ice

The international MOSAiC expedition with the German research icebreaker Polarstern will launch in autumn 2019

[27. June 2018] 

It could be the largest-scale Arctic research expedition of all time: in September 2019 the German research icebreaker Polarstern will depart from Tromsø, Norway and, once it has reached its destination, will spend the next year drifting through the Arctic Ocean, trapped in the ice. A total of 600 people from 17 countries will participate in the expedition.

The Antarctic

Why the tongue of the Pine Island Glacier suddenly shrank

Researchers map the seafloor near the Pine Island Glacier and use time-lapse video to unravel the mystery of its abrupt retreat

[15. June 2018] 

The Pine Island Glacier in Western Antarctica is not only one of the fastest-flowing ice streams in the Southern Hemisphere; over the past eleven years, four major icebergs have calved from its floating tongue. In February 2017, researchers on board the German research icebreaker Polarstern successfully mapped an area of seafloor previously covered by shelf ice. A comparison of these new maps with satellite images of the ice stream reveals why the glacier suddenly retreated toward the coast: at important points, it had lost contact with the ground, as the experts report in the online journal The Cryosphere, a journal of the European Geosciences Union. 


Antarctica ramps up sea level rise

Ice losses from Antarctica have increased global sea levels by 7.6 mm since 1992, with two fifths of this rise (3.0 mm) coming in the last five years alone.

[13. June 2018] 

The findings are from a major climate assessment known as the Ice Sheet Mass Balance Inter-comparison Exercise (IMBIE), and are published today in Nature. It is the most complete picture of Antarctic ice sheet change to date - 84 scientists from 44 international organisations combined 24 satellite surveys to produce the assessment.

Polarstern expedition draws to a close in Bremerhaven

How is the ecosystem around the Antarctic Peninsula changing?

On board the research vessel Polarstern, experts investigated krill and salps

[07. June 2018] 

In the autumn, the waters surrounding the Antarctic Peninsula were still home to large quantities of krill and salps, ready to spawn. Thanks to warmer water temperatures, the ice formation began later in the year, as a result of which single-celled algae, the chief food source for these organisms, were available in higher concentrations. How life in the Southern Ocean will adapt to such changes was a central topic during this year’s Antarctic season on board the research vessel Polarstern, which will end when, on Monday 11 June 2018, the ship returns to its homeport, Bremerhaven, after nearly six months at sea.