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Press release

Polarstern: DLR and AWI test satellite-based methods for improving maritime navigation

[11. October 2013] 

The German Aerospace Center (Deutsches Zentrum für Luft- und Raumfahrt; DLR) is working on a satellite-based system for substantially improving ship navigation in ice-affected waters. The Earth observation satellites TerraSAR-X and TanDEM-X provide the high-resolution images needed to make this possible. Scientists from the Alfred Wegener Institute (AWI) – the Helmholtz Centre for Polar and Marine Research based in Bremerhaven – are currently on their way to Antarctica on board the research vessel 'Polarstern' to test the practicality of this technique.


Press release

Traces of immense prehistoric ice sheets: the climate history of the Arctic Ocean needs to be rewritten

[26. September 2013] 

Geologists and geophysicists of the Alfred Wegener Institute, Helmholtz Centre for Polar and Marine Research (AWI), discovered traces of large ice sheets from the Pleistocene on a seamount off the north-eastern coast of Russia. These marks confirm for the first time that within the past 800,000 years in the course of ice ages, ice sheets more than a kilometre thick also formed in the Arctic Ocean. The climate history for this part of the Arctic now needs to be rewritten, report the AWI scientists jointly with their South Korean colleagues in the title story of the current issue of the scientific journal Nature Geoscience.


Press release

Long-term data reveal: The deep Greenland Sea is warming faster than the World Ocean

[24. September 2013] 

Recent warming of the Greenland Sea Deep Water is about ten times higher than warming rates estimated for the global ocean. Scientists from the Alfred Wegener Institute, Helmholtz Centre for Polar and Marine Research recently published these findings in the journal Geophysical Research Letters. For their study, they analysed temperature data from 1950 to 2010 in the abyssal Greenland Sea, which is an ocean area located just to the south of the Arctic Ocean.


Press release

Current sea ice development in the Arctic: edge of the pack ice retreats significantly, but the area is greater than in 2012

[19. September 2013] 

The annual minimum sea ice cover in the Arctic Ocean in September is on average around 5.1 million square kilometres this year, and is thus some 50 percent above the previous negative record of 3.4 million square kilometres recorded in 2012. “This figure does not signal a reversal in the trend, however”, is the joint conclusion drawn by sea ice physicist Marcel Nicolaus from the Alfred Wegener Institute, Helmholtz Centre for Polar and Marine Research (AWI), and Lars Kaleschke from the University of Hamburg, KlimaCampus (Climate Campus).


Press release

Surprising underwater-sounds: Humpback whales also spend their winter in Antarctica

[07. September 2013] 

Biologists and physicists from the Alfred Wegener Institute, Helmholtz Centre for Polar and Marine Research, found out that not all of the Southern Hemisphere humpback whales (Megaptera novaeangliae) migrate towards the equator at the end of the Antarctic summer. Part of the population remains in Antarctic waters throughout the entire winter. The scientists report this in a current issue of scientific journal PLOS ONE. This surprising discovery based on underwater recordings from the Antarctic acoustic observatory PALAOA. It is located near the research base Neumayer Station III on the ice shelf and regularly records underwater sounds of humpback whales even in the austral winter months.


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