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Nature Scientific Reports

Sea Ice Plays a Pivotal Role in the Arctic Methane Cycle

Nature study on greenhouse gas feedback mechanisms between the atmosphere, sea ice and ocean

[10. November 2015] 

The ice-covered Arctic Ocean is a more important factor concerning the concentration of the greenhouse gas methane in the atmosphere than previously assumed. Experts from the Alfred Wegener Institute, Helmholtz Centre for Polar and Marine Research (AWI) report on the newly discovered interactions between the atmosphere, sea ice and the ocean in a recent online study in the journal Nature’s Scientific Reports.

Floating Summer School

Polarstern Embarks for Cape Town on Training Cruise

Young marine researchers from 19 countries on board

[27. October 2015] 

On 29 October 2015 the research icebreaker Polarstern will leave its homeport for Cape Town, South Africa. She’ll take with her 32 students hailing from 19 countries, who will be introduced to the latest methods and instruments used in oceanography. Nine instructors from the Alfred Wegener Institute, the FU Berlin and Ireland’s Galway-Mayo Institute of Technology will teach the participants in the “floating summer school”.

Marine litter

Plastic Litter taints the sea surface, even in the Arctic

For the first time, AWI researchers survey litter on the sea surface at such high lati-tudes

Der Polarstern-Bordhelikopter bei einem Flug über das Meereis in der Framstraße.
[22. October 2015] 

In a new study, researchers from the Alfred Wegener Institute, Helmholtz Centre for Polar and Marine Research (AWI), show for the first time that marine litter can even be found at the sea surface of Arctic waters. Though it remains unclear how the litter made it so far north, it is likely to pose new problems for local marine life, the authors report on the online portal of the scientific journal Polar Biology. Plastic has already been reported from stomachs of resident seabirds and Greenland sharks.


Polarstern returns from the Arctic after a five-month journey

Experts from all marine research disciplines investigate the Arctic in transition

[14. October 2015] 

On Wednesday, 14 October 2015 the research icebreaker Polarstern entered its homeport in Bremerhaven. Since mid-May, over 200 biologists, physicists, chemists, ice physicists, oceanographers and geoscientists have taken part in a total of four expeditions, with changes of personnel in Longyearbyen (Spitsbergen) and Tromsø (Norway). In the course of these five months, Polarstern covered over 16,000 nautical miles (more than 30,000 kilometres).

Polar cod

Billions of juvenile fish under the Arctic sea ice

New under-ice net used in large-scale study on the prevalence of polar cod at the ice underside

Der Polardorsch (Boreogadus saida) in der Arktis.
[12. October 2015] 

Using a new net, marine biologists from the Alfred Wegener Institute have, for the first time, been able to catch polar cod directly beneath the Arctic sea ice with a trawl, allowing them to determine their large-scale distribution and origin. This information is of fundamental importance, as polar cod are a major source of food for seals, whales and seabirds in the Arctic. The study, which was recently published in the journal Polar Biology, shows that only juvenile fish are found under the ice, a habitat the researchers fear could disappear as a result of climate change.