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Climate change

Intensification and poleward shift of oceanic boundary currents

Change means greater heat and more winter storms for Asia; Gulf Stream is the exception

Die Weltmeere nehmen in den Tropen Wärme aus der Luft auf und transportieren diese über die Randströmungen Richtung Norden oder Süden.
[28. June 2016] 

Global warming results in fundamental changes to important ocean currents. As scientists from the Alfred-Wegener-Institute show in a new study, wind-driven subtropical boundary currents in the northern and southern hemisphere are not only going to increase in strength by the end of this century. The Kuroshio Current, the Agulhas Current and other oceanic currents are shifting their paths towards the pole and thus carry higher temperatures and thus the risk of storms to temperate latitudes. For this study, researchers evaluated a wealth of independent observational data and climate simulations. They showed the same pattern for all boundary currents, with the Gulf Stream as the only exception. According to the data, the latter will weaken over the next decades. The study…

Climate and Vegetation

Siberian larch forests are still linked to the ice age

A new AWI study shows that the flora of the Northern Russian permafrost lags behind the climate often by several thousand years

Vereinzelt stehende Lärchen in der russischen Arktis. Aufnahme aus der Region Buor Khaya, Sibirien. Den flachwurzelnden Bäumen genügt eine Sommerauftautiefe von 20 bis 30 Zentimetern, um zu überleben.
[24. June 2016] 

The Siberian permafrost regions include those areas of the Earth, which heat up very quickly in the course of climate change. Nevertheless, biologists are currently observing only a minimal response in forest composition. In the places where, when considering the air temperature, pine and spruce forests should be growing, Siberian larch trees are still thriving. The cause of this paradox has been tracked using million-year-old bee pollen by scientists at the Alfred Wegener Institute, the University of Cologne, and international partner institutions.

RV Polarstern starts the Arctic season

New equipment for the AWI - "Gardener"

Expansion of the deep-sea long-term observatory AWI-Hausgarten

[09. June 2016] 

Scientists from the Alfred Wegener Institute, Helmholtz Centre for Polar and Marine Research (AWI) are setting out with the research vessel Polarstern towards Spitsbergen, to use newly developed equipment in the Arctic Ocean. Autonomous instruments on the seabed, in the water column and in the air will complement the long-term measurements of the deep-sea research group. In this way researchers can analyse the climatic changes in the Arctic and their impact on the fauna in the future with higher temporal and spatial resolution.

Southern Ocean

Research vessel Polarstern expected in Bremerhaven

Antarctic season ends in the home port after half a year

[11. May 2016] 

On Wednesday, 11 May 2016, the research vessel Polarstern is expected back in its home port of Bremerhaven after a good six months of Antarctic expeditions. In the austral summer, the research vessel of the Alfred Wegener Institute, Helmholtz Centre for Polar and Marine Research (AWI), penetrated into the southern Weddell Sea as far as the Filchner-Ronne Ice Shelf, where oceanographic and biological work was the focus. In addition, the expedition members provided logistical support for a research camp there.

New Ice Age Knowledge

Pacific stores the greenhouse gas carbon dioxide at depths of thousands of metres

Researchers solve one of the great scientific mysteries of the ice ages

Geowissenschaftliche Forschungsarbeiten an Bord des Forschungsschiffes Sonne - hier Matrose Christopher Schröder beim Einholen des Vulkanitstoßrohres. Aufnahme von der Sonne-Expedition SO-213 Ausfahrt in den südöstlichen Pazifik.
[10. May 2016] 

An international team of researchers headed by scientists from the Alfred Wegener Institute has gained new insights into the carbon dioxide exchange between ocean and atmosphere, thus making a significant contribution to solving one of the great scientific mysteries of the ice ages. In the past 800,000 years of climate history, the transitions from interglacials and ice ages were always accompanied by a significant reduction in the carbon dioxide content in the atmosphere. It then fell from 280 to 180 ppm (parts per million). Where this large amount of carbon dioxide went to and the processes through which the greenhouse gas reached the atmosphere again has been controversial until now. The scientists have now managed to locate a major carbon dioxide reservoir at a…