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Press release

New study shows that unstable Antarctic Ice Sheet led to rapid sea-level rise in the past

[28. May 2014] 

At the end of the last glacial period, the Antarctic Ice Sheet lost a large amount of ice within a very short timespan. This led to a rapid global sea level rise of several metres. An international research team came to this conclusion in a study published in the latest edition of the scientific journal Nature. The joint project of geologists and climate scientists has shown that an unstable Antarctic ice sheet could precipitously change the climate of the Southern Hemisphere. At the same time it provides important evidence of how current climate change may affect the ice masses over the South Pole.

Press release

Are there no European waters free of litter? A new study shows that all of Europe’s deep seas investigated are polluted with litter

[01. May 2014] 

An international team of researchers has, for the first time ever, conducted a wide-ranging survey of litter in European waters and has found traces of waste in every region – from coastal areas all the way down to deep canyons. The results of this survey appeared on May 1 in PLOS ONE, a peer-reviewed, online journal. How this litter affects marine life and, ultimately, human beings, is largely unknown to date.

Press release

Research vessel Polarstern returns home after one and a half years in the Antarctic

[09. April 2014] 

After one and a half years in the Antarctic the research vessel Polarstern is expected back in its home port on 13 April. Apart from the crew and scientists on board, there are lots of data, samples and animals from the Southern Ocean that will soon be examined more closely in the laboratories of the Alfred Wegener Institute, Helmholtz Centre for Polar and Marine Research (AWI). They stem from the area of the Filchner-Ronne Ice Shelf in the very south of the Weddell Sea, where scientists conducted research on sea ice, oceanic currents and the biocoenoses on the last Antarctic cruise leg of the expedition.

Press release

AWI researchers decipher climate paradox from the Miocene: growth of Antarctic ice sheet triggered warming in the Southern Ocean

[08. April 2014] 

Scientists of the Alfred Wegener Institute, Helmholtz Centre for Polar and Marine Research (AWI), have deciphered a supposed climate paradox from the Miocene era by means of complex model simulations. When the Antarctic ice sheet grew to its present-day size around 14 million years ago, it did not get colder everywhere on the Earth, but there were regions that became warmer. A physical contradiction?

Press release

“Like a giant elevator to the stratosphere”

[03. April 2014] 

An international team of researchers headed by Potsdam scientist Dr. Markus Rex from the Alfred Wegener Institute has discovered a previously unknown atmospheric phenomenon over the South Seas. Over the tropical West Pacific there is a natural, invisible hole extending over several thousand kilometres in a layer that prevents transport of most of the natural and manmade substances into the stratosphere by virtue of its chemical composition. Like in a giant elevator, many chemical compounds emitted at the ground pass thus unfiltered through this so-called “detergent layer” of the atmosphere. The newly discovered phenomenon over the South Seas boosts ozone depletion in the polar regions and could have a significant influence on the future climate of the Earth.