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Climate Research

Into the unknown - high altitude research aircraft explores the upper levels of the Asian Monsoon

International team of scientists investigates air at altitudes up to 20 km

[31. July 2017] 

Der asiatische Monsun ist eines der dynamischsten und energiereichsten Wettersysteme unseres Planeten. Ein internationales Wissenschaftlerteam unter Leitung des Alfred-Wegener-Instituts führt jetzt von Nepal aus erstmalig Forschungsflüge mit einem Höhenforschungsflugzeug in die oberen Bereiche des Monsuns aus. Anhand der Ergebnisse wollen sie das globale Klimasystem besser verstehen.


Plankton research

Time to rise and shine

Genetic clocks in zooplankton species regulate what is likely the largest daily movement of biomass worldwide

[14. July 2017] 

The copepod species Calanus finmarchicus schedules its day using a genetic clock that works independently of external stimuli. The clock shapes the copepod’s metabolic rhythms and daily vertical migration. This in turn have an enormous influence on the entire food web in the North Atlantic.


Climate research

How the climate can rapidly change at tipping points

A new study shows: Gradual changes in the atmospheric CO2 concentration can induce abrupt climate changes

[19. June 2017] 

During the last glacial period, within only a few decades the influence of atmospheric CO2 on the North Atlantic circulation resulted in temperature increases of up to 10 degrees Celsius in Greenland – as indicated by new climate calculations from researchers at the Alfred Wegener Institute and the University of Cardiff.


Arctic

How the Arctic Ocean Became Saline

AWI researchers model climate changes caused by the submersion of the Greenland-Scotland Ridge

[06. June 2017] 

The Arctic Ocean was once a gigantic freshwater lake. Only after the land bridge between Greenland and Scotland had submerged far enough did vast quantities of salt water pour in from the Atlantic. With the help of a climate model, researchers from the Alfred Wegener Institute have demonstrated how this process took place, allowing us for the first time to understand more accurately how Atlantic circulation as we know it today came about. The results of the study have now been published in the journal Nature Communications.


Joint press release from the University of Oldenburg and the AWI

Why do Antarctic krill stocks fluctuate?

Climatic factors play a lesser role than previously thought

[05. June 2017] 

It is only six centimetres long, but it plays a major role in the Antarctic ecosystem: the small crustacean Euphausia superba (Antarctic krill). It's one of the world's most abundant species and the central diet of a number of animals in the Southern Ocean. For a long time, scientists have been puzzled why the size of krill stocks fluctuates so widely. In a new study headed by Prof. Bernd Blasius and Prof. Bettina Meyer, a group of scientists from the University of Oldenburg's Institute for Chemistry and Biology of the Marine Environment (ICBM) and the Bremerhaven-based Alfred Wegener Institute, Helmholtz Centre for Polar and Marine Research (AWI) have shown that the competition for food within the population is responsible for the variability.


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