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Satellite Remote Sensing

New satellite technology promises great progress for glacier research

Researchers are developing a unique radar, which could allow a view of Earth’s ice sheets

[04. November 2016] 

Scientists from the Alfred Wegener Institute are developing with experts from the German Aerospace Centre (DLR) a new satellite measurement method for the observation from space of the large ice masses of Greenland and the Antarctic. “Tandem-L” is the name of a new satellite radar system, which launched in the year 2022 could provide urgently needed data concerning the shrinkage of the ice sheets in both hemispheres. Concerning the construction of the radar and the launch of the satellite mission of the same name, the Science Council is to advise the Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) at the end of November as part of a review procedure.

Polarstern Expedition

Oasis of life in the ice-covered central Arctic

Scientists are exploring oceanic ice worlds with new robots

[20. October 2016] 

Under the ice of the Arctic, unknown habitats conceal an unexpected variety of living beings. On October 23rd, 46 scientists are expected to return to the home port in Bremerhaven from an Arctic expedition with the research vessel Polarstern. Over the past six weeks, they had explored life in ice, ocean and seabed with new robots and camera systems.

Weddell Sea

Germany is proposing a Marine Protected Area in Antartica

Scientists of the Alfred Wegener Institute provide scientific basis

[16. October 2016] 

The European Union has submitted a proposal, prepared by Germany, to the Commission for the Conservation of Antarctic Marine Living Resources (CCAMLR) for a marine protected area (MPA) in the Antarctic Weddell Sea. AWI scientists have compiled and analysed the scientific data on behalf of the German Federal Ministry of Food and Agriculture.


New Helmholtz Institute for Functional Marine Biodiversity

Alfred Wegener Institute and University of Oldenburg to intensify cooperation in marine biology

[13. October 2016] 

Marine ecosystems provide us with food and raw materials, they have an impact on air quality and global climate, they break down harmful substances and serve as places of recreation and tourism. The functioning of these ecosystems – and thus also the basis for human well-being – depends on the biological diversity of the oceans. The way climate change and human influences change marine biodiversity will in future be examined by scientists in a new institute.

Sea level rise

Greenland loses more ice than assumed

New GPS measurements in Science Advances study show that ice loss needs to be revised upwards

[22. September 2016] 

The mass loss from the Greenland ice sheet is bigger than previously estimated. This is the result of a study by international scientists to be published in Science Advances. The work shows that up to now the so-called glacial isostatic adjustment, i.e., the uplift of the bedrock, was not correctly taken into account when measuring the glaciers’ mass balance with data from GRACE satellite observations.