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Climate Change

Major wind-driven ocean currents are shifting toward the poles

Satellite data gathered over four decades reveals a shift in the positions of the ocean gyres; model-based studies confirm that global warming is largely responsible

The Roaring Forties
Die "Bruellenden Vierziger"
[24. February 2020] 

In the course of the past 40 years, the major wind-driven current systems in the ocean have steadily shifted toward the poles. Experts at the Alfred Wegener Institute, Helmholtz Centre for Polar and Marine Research (AWI) came to this conclusion.


Increased greenhouse-gas emissions due to abrupt permafrost thaw

In a new study, researchers show that abrupt thaw could increase emissions by 40 percent

Die etwa 30 m hohe Lage des Itkillik-Flusses in den Yedoma-Permafrostvorkommen in Nordalaska im Winter bietet dem amerikanisch-deutschen Schneemaschinenteam  (Ben Jones, Chris Arp, Ben Gaglioti, Guido Grosse), das dort draußen Thermokarstsee- und Permafroststudien im Jahr 2014 durchführt, einen beeindruckenden Anblick
[18. February 2020] 

An international team of researchers has now determined that rapid thaw processes of permafrost landscapes have a significant influence on the amount and types of gases released but were not considered in permafrost emission estimates so far. As they report in the journal Nature Geoscience, abrupt thaw processes, which are possible in ca. five percent of all Arctic permafrost landscapes, could potentially increase total emissions by 40 percent – a factor that has yet to be considered in current climate models. 

Press Release

Call for tender procedure for the construction of a successor to the icebreaker Polarstern has been cancelled.

A statement by the Alfred Wegener Institute, Helmholtz Centre for Polar and Marine Research

Das deutsche Forschungsschiff Polarstern in der zentralen Arktis, Aufnahme von der Sommer-Expedition 2015
[14. February 2020] 

The Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) today cancelled the Europe-wide call for tenders for the procurement of a new polar research vessel, Polarstern II, for legal reasons.


How the ocean is gnawing away at glaciers

Auftriebskugeln für Messinstrumente
[03. February 2020] 

The Greenland Ice Sheet is melting faster today than it did only a few years ago. The reason: it’s not just melting on the surface – but underwater, too.

Climate research

Site for the Oldest Ice core in Antarctica identified – drilling can commence

New high-resolution radar data from East Antarctica reveals 1.5 million-year-old ice at a depth of ca. 2550 metres in the ice sheet

Das Radarsystem in der Kabine eines Pistenbullys
[20. December 2019] 

This week, an international team of researchers determined the final drilling coordinates for the oldest ice core in Antarctica, and began setting up camp on the Antarctic Plateau. When the time came to choose exactly where the drill should be used, the researchers relied on high-resolution data from a newly developed ice radar system, which they had used for the first time earlier this month in the target zone ‘Little Dome C’.