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Increased greenhouse-gas emissions due to abrupt permafrost thaw

In a new study, researchers show that abrupt thaw could increase emissions by 40 percent

The Itkillik River exposure in the Yedoma permafrost deposits of North Alaska in winter provides an impressive sight for the US-German snow machine team
[18. February 2020] 

An international team of researchers has now determined that rapid thaw processes of permafrost landscapes have a significant influence on the amount and types of gases released but were not considered in permafrost emission estimates so far. As they report in the journal Nature Geoscience, abrupt thaw processes, which are possible in ca. five percent of all Arctic permafrost landscapes, could potentially increase total emissions by 40 percent – a factor that has yet to be considered in current climate models. 

Press Release

Call for tender procedure for the construction of a successor to the icebreaker Polarstern has been cancelled.

A statement by the Alfred Wegener Institute, Helmholtz Centre for Polar and Marine Research

 The German research vessel Polarstern during an expedition into the central Arctic Ocean.
[14. February 2020] 

The Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) today cancelled the Europe-wide call for tenders for the procurement of a new polar research vessel, Polarstern II, for legal reasons.


How the ocean is gnawing away at glaciers

Buoyancy balls for measuring instruments
[03. February 2020] 

The Greenland Ice Sheet is melting faster today than it did only a few years ago. The reason: it’s not just melting on the surface – but underwater, too.

Climate research

Site for the Oldest Ice core in Antarctica identified – drilling can commence

New high-resolution radar data from East Antarctica reveals 1.5 million-year-old ice at a depth of ca. 2550 metres in the ice sheet

The radar system in the cabin of a Pistenbully
[20. December 2019] 

This week, an international team of researchers determined the final drilling coordinates for the oldest ice core in Antarctica, and began setting up camp on the Antarctic Plateau. When the time came to choose exactly where the drill should be used, the researchers relied on high-resolution data from a newly developed ice radar system, which they had used for the first time earlier this month in the target zone ‘Little Dome C’.

Press Release

Change of Shifts at the North Pole

As the second leg of the one-year-long MOSAiC expedition begins, participants review the mission so far

Polarstern meets Captain Dranitsyn at MOSAiC ice floe for Leg 1 and Leg 2 exchange.
[16. December 2019] 

After exchanging research teams and crewmembers, the greatest expedition to the Central Arctic of all time is now entering the next phase, during which urgently needed research into the Arctic climate system will be conducted. In the following paragraphs, the team from the first leg of the journey, which was dominated by thin sea ice, review the mission so far: despite extremely challenging conditions, they maintained a steady flow of scientific data. The new team will now face the darkest and coldest research phase: the Arctic winter, which has never been researched before.