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Sharper view of the Southern Ocean: New chart shows the entire topography of the Antarctic seafloor in detail for the first time

[09. April 2013] 

Reliable information on the depth and floor structure of the Southern Ocean has so far been available for only few coastal regions of the Antarctic. An international team of scientists under the leadership of the Alfred Wegener Institute, Helmholtz Centre for Polar and Marine Research, has for the first time succeeded in creating a digital map of the entire Antarctic seafloor. The International Bathymetric Chart of the Southern Ocean (IBCSO) for the first time shows the detailed topography of the seafloor for the entire area south of 60°S. An article presented to the scientific world by IBCSO has now appeared online in the scientific journal Geophysical Research Letters. The IBCSO data grid and the corresponding Antarctic chart will soon be freely available in the…


Press release

Ice cores show simultaneous changes of carbon dioxide and Antarctic temperature during the last deglacial warming

[28. February 2013] 

Atmospheric carbon dioxide and the Antarctic temperature increased synchronously during the last deglacial warming 20,000 to 10,000 years ago. A European team of researchers comes to this conclusion after having re-analysed the age of the enclosed air bubbles in the Antarctic ice core EPICA Dome C. The study, in which the Alfred Wegener Institute, Helmholtz Centre for Polar and Marine Research, was involved, appeared now in the scientific journal Science.


Press release

Award-winning – deep sea researchers receive the Humboldt Memorial Award for investigations into the biodiversity of the deep Arctic Ocean

[20. February 2013] 

Dr. Bodil Bluhm from the University of Alaska Fairbanks and deep sea researchers of the Alfred Wegener Institute, Helmholtz Centre for Polar and Marine Research, received the 2012 Alexander von Humboldt Memorial Award, Thursday, 21 February 2013, in Frankfurt am Main. The group of researchers investigated the biodiversity in the Artic deep sea and extended the list of known deep sea dwellers by over 400 new species. The Senckenberg Gesellschaft für Naturforschung (Senckenberg Nature Research Society) honours the scientists because with this work they have laid an important foundation stone for future research projects in the Arctic.


Press release

New satellite shows precise extent of the Arctic sea ice loss

[15. February 2013] 

Current measurements of the ESA ice thickness satellite CryoSat-2 have shown that the total mass of the Arctic sea ice was 36 per cent smaller last autumn than during the same period in the years 2003 to 2008. Five years ago the autumn ice volumes averaged 11900 km3. But in the second quarter of 2012 they had declined to 7600 km3. This conclusion is reached by an international research team after comparing the CryoSat data of the past two years with measurements of a former NASA satellite and with the results of sea ice investigations of the Alfred Wegener Institute, Helmholtz Centre for Polar and Marine Research. The study is published in the online issue of the scientific journal Geophysical Research Letters and for the first time shows how precisely scientists can…


Press release

Study published in Science: Rapid changes in the Arctic ecosystem from surface to depth during the ice minimum in the summer of 2012

[14. February 2013] 

Huge quantities of algae are growing on the underside of sea ice in the Central Arctic: in 2012 the ice algae Melosira arctica was responsible for almost half the primary production in this area. When the ice melts, as was the case during the ice minimum in 2012, these algae sink rapidly to the bottom of the sea at a depth of several thousands of metres. Deep-sea animals such as sea cucumbers and brittle stars feed on the algae, and bacteria metabolise what’s left, consuming the oxygen in the sea bed. This short-term reaction of the deep-sea ecosystem to changes in sea ice cover and ocean productivity has now been published in the scientific journal Science by a multidisciplinary team of researchers


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