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Expedition MOSAiC

This Evening Sees the Start of MOSAiC – the Greatest Arctic Research Expedition of All Time

Frozen in the Arctic sea ice, scientists from 17 nations will investigate the epicentre of climate change on board the research icebreaker Polarstern for an entire year.

Das deutsche Forschungsschiff Polarstern in der zentralen Arktis, Aufnahme von der Sommer-Expedition 2015
[20. September 2019] 

After a decade of preparations, it’s finally time: this evening at 8:30 p.m. the German icebreaker Polarstern will depart from the Norwegian port of Tromsø. On board researchers will investigate a region that is virtually inaccessible in winter, and which is crucial for the global climate.

Arctic Sea Ice

Low sea-ice cover in the Arctic

Second-lowest September minimum since observations

Diese Aufnahme stammt aus der IceCam des EM-Birds, einem Meereisdickensensor, der unter einem Hubschrauber hängend über das Meereis geflogen wird. Die Kamera ist derart in das Geräte eingebaut, dass sie immer senkrecht in die Tiefe fotografiert.

This image was taken with the IceCam, installed in the hull of the EM-Bird, the AWI sea ice thickness measuring sensor, which in pulled underneath a helicopter above the sea ice to measure its thickness. The camera points vertically downwards and takes photos of the area directly underneath the bird.
[13. September 2019] 

The sea-ice extent in the Arctic is nearing its annual minimum at the end of the melt season in September. Only circa 3.9 million square kilometres of the Arctic Ocean are covered by sea ice any more, according to researchers from the Alfred Wegener Institute and the University of Bremen. This is only the second time that the annual minimum has dropped below four million square kilometres since satellite measurements began in 1979.

Climate Modelling

New Climate Model for the IPCC

AWI climate model part of the basis for the IPCC Assessment Report for the first time

Symbolbild Klimamodellierung

Image climate modeling.
[04. September 2019] 

Researchers from the Alfred Wegener Institute now, for the first time, feed the results from their global models directly into the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change database. The data is particularly interesting because the underlying model, developed at the AWI, depicts the sea ice and the oceans with far greater definition than conventional methods. The results are used by climate scientists and stakeholders around the globe to determine the effects of climate change on humans and the environment.


Anniversary in the far north

20 years of long-term ecological research in the deep Arctic Ocean

Besatzungsmitglieder ziehen ein Multinetz an Bord. Es besteht aus
fünf Netzen, mit denen die Forscher über fünf verschiedene Horizonte der Wassersäule hauptsächlich Zooplankton fangen.

Crew members pull a multi net onboard. It consits of five nets, which are used to catch zooplankton in five different horizons of the water column.

Fotos von der Polarstern-Expedition ARK-XXVII-1 im Sommer 2012 (14. Juni - 15. Juli 2012, Bremerhaven-Longyearbyen); 

Ozeanografie: Projekt ACOBAR - Messung von Salzgehalt, Sauerstoff und Wassertemperatur an 80 Stationen entlang eines Schnittes bei 78°50' N;

Biologie: Netzfänge und Sedimentprobennahme an den Stationen; Amphipoden-Untersuchungen (PECABO); Beobachtungen von Seevögeln und Meeressäugern; 


Photo taken by Sebastian Menze during the Polarstern expedition ARK-XXVII-1 in summer 2012 into the Fram Strait, duration: 14th June - 15th July 2012
[29. August 2019] 

20 years ago, scientists from the Alfred Wegener Institute, Helmholtz Centre for Polar and Marine Research (AWI) laid the “foundation stone” for a unique long-term observatory in the partly ice-covered Fram Strait between Greenland and Svalbard, which they call their HAUSGARTEN. The deep-sea observatory is the first, and still the only one of its kind for year-round physical, chemical and biological observations in a polar region. Here researchers investigate how a polar marine ecosystem alters in a period of global change. 

Scientific study

Microplastic drifting down with the snow

In the Alps and the Arctic, experts confirm the presence of plastic in snow

Wissenschaftler des Alfred-Wegener-Instituts nutzen die Bordhelikopter des Forschungseisbrechers Polarstern, um Schneeproben auf dem Meereis zu nehmen. Selbst in der Arktis enthält der Schnee Mikroplastik.
[14. August 2019] 

Over the past several years, microplastic particles have repeatedly been detected in seawater, drinking water, and even in animals. But these minute particles are also transported by the atmosphere and subsequently washed out of the air, especially by snow – this was demonstrated in a study conducted by experts at the Alfred Wegener Institute.