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Press release

Close coupling of climate with green house gases in the past

[25. November 2005] 

Never before during the past 650,000 years, have concentrations of green house gases been as high as today. The warm climate periods between 650,000 and 420,000 years ago were characterised by even lower carbon dioxide and methane concentrations than subsequent warm periods. This is one of the conclusions drawn by a European team of researchers with contribution from scientists of the Alfred Wegener Institute for Polar and Marine Research, after analysis of an ice core from Antarctica. The results extend previous data on historic concentrations of carbon dioxide, methane and nitrous oxide in the atmosphere by 250,000 years.

Press release

Death on the eternal ice

[21. October 2005] 

On the occasion of Alfred Wegener’s 125th birthday and the 75th anniversary of his death, the Alfred Wegener Institute for Polar and Marine Research commemorates the German polar researcher and geoscientist whom the institute is named after. Marking the anniversary, the Alfred Wegener Institute is hosting a scientific symposium from October 30th to November 2nd. A film series ‘Research and adventure on the ice – Alfred Wegener in film’ containing original footage of the 1929 and 1930 expeditions, will be shown at Atlantis cinema in Bremerhaven on October 30, and at Cinema 46 in Bremen on November 1.

Press release

Science tracing Wegener’s tracks

[14. October 2005] 

From October 30th to November 2nd, scientists will be gathering for the second International Alfred Wegener Symposium in Bremerhaven. During the three-day meeting, approximately 140 scientists from eleven countries will report on topical issues from various research fields, including plate tectonics, geosciences, meteorology, paleoclimatology, glaciology, history of science and geo-topics of the future.

Press release

The ocean turns sour

[29. September 2005] 

Greenhouse gases threaten marine ecosystems


By consuming fossil fuels, every person on our planet produces a daily average of eleven kilograms of carbon dioxide which enters the atmosphere. Four kilograms of this amount are absorbed by the world’s oceans, a process alleviating the green house effect. Unfortunately, the carbon dioxide reacts with sea water to produce acid capable of dissolving the calcareous shells of many marine organisms.

Press release

The remainder of paradise

[15. September 2005] 

How important are whales and seals for polar ecosystems?


Polar regions are among the most inhospitable on earth; however, they harbour the largest animals , albeit in the ocean. Until recently, a seemingly endless food supply in the Arctic and Antarctic appeared to explain the large stocks of whales and seals. Now there is increasing evidence that the large mammals may have survived as a consequence of the polar regions’ harshness and inaccessibility to humans, and that their distribution may have been much wider in the past. Furthermore, it is not unlikely that the disappearance of large marine mammals from temperate oceans resulted in profound changes to the whole ecosystem.