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Arctic Ocean

Litter Levels in the Depths of the Arctic are On the Rise

Sea ice could be responsible for transporting plastic litter

[08. February 2017] 

The Arctic has a serious litter problem: in just ten years, the concentration of marine litter at a deep-sea station in the Arctic Ocean has risen 20-fold. This was recently reported in a study by researchers at the Alfred Wegener Institute, Helmholtz Centre for Polar and Marine Research (AWI).

Rising sea level

Expedition to Antarctica’s Glaciers

Results expected to improve forecasts for the rising global sea level

[02. February 2017] 

How has the West Antarctic Ice Sheet changed in response to alternating warm and cold time periods? And what does it mean for the sea level – today and tomorrow? Pursuing answers to these key questions, 50 researchers on board the Alfred Wegener Institute’s research vessel Polarstern are going to depart from Punta Arenas (Chile) on 6 February 2017, bound for the Amundsen Sea – the region of the Antarctic currently characterised by the most massive and rapid loss of ice. In the course of the expedition, the seafloor drill rig MARUM-MeBo70 will be used in the Antarctic for the first time.

Ocean Acoustics

The Sound of the Ocean

Comprehensive long-term study on ambient sound in the Southern Ocean published

Zwergwale tauchen zwischen den Eisschollen auf, um zu atmen.
[12. January 2017] 

For nearly three years, AWI researchers used underwater microphones to monitor the Southern Ocean and listen to a “choir” of whales and seals. The sounds recorded offer new insights into the ocean’s natural soundscape, as well as the animals’ behaviour and distribution.

Scientific consultation

German Arctic Office to act as consultant to politics and industry

The Alfred Wegener Institute is setting up the first cross-institutional centre of excellence for questions about the Arctic at the Potsdam site

Wer in den arktischen Gewässern künftig auf Fischfang gehen darf, ist eine der vielen Fragestellungen, in denen politische Entscheidungsträger wissenschaftlich fundierte Beratung benötigen.
[04. January 2017] 

The rapid climate changes in the Arctic are no longer just the domain of scientists. The shrinking sea ice and collapsing permafrost coasts are now also becoming topics on the agenda of international politics and industry. To be able to offer direct scientific advice to decision-makers, the Alfred Wegener Institute, Helmholtz Centre for Polar and Marine Research (AWI) has now set up an office for Arctic affairs at its Potsdam site. The German Arctic Office officially commenced work on 1 January 2017 and draws its expertise from a network of scientists from all German research institutes working on Arctic topics.

Coastal erosion in the Arctic

When the Arctic coast retreats, life in the shallow water areas drastically changes

The ecological consequences of increasing coastal erosion in the Arctic must be investigated better

Sedimentschleier im Wasser vor der Küste Herschel Islands, Yukon, Kanada. Die Sedimente wurden entweder durch Küstenerosion oder durch kleine Flüsse in das Meer eingetragen.
[04. January 2017] 

The thawing and erosion of Arctic permafrost coasts has dramatically increased in the past years and the sea is now consuming more than 20 meters of land per year at some locations. The earth masses removed in this process increasingly blur the shallow water areas and release nutrients and pollutants. Yet, the consequences of these processes on life in the coastal zone and on traditional fishing grounds are virtually unknown.