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The Southern Ocean as never seen before

A new map shows the seabed of the Southern Ocean in unprecedented detail

[Translate to English:] Bathymetrische Karte Südlicher Ozean
[07. June 2022] 

The features of the ocean floor help determine how water masses and ocean currents move and how they affect our climate. Biodiversity is also influenced by seafloor landforms. Accordingly, having as precise information on the seafloor topography as possible is indispensable for oceanographic and climate research - and now available in a new map.

Polarstern II: German Bundestag greenlights the construction of new icebreaker

The next step for the construction of AWI’s new research vessel: an EU-wide competition, in which shipyards can apply for participation in the procurement procedure

Polarstern winter experiment
[03. June 2022] 

The Research Vessel Polarstern has been underway in the Arctic and Antarctic for 40 years now. To ensure this research is also possible in the future, and at the highest scientific and technological level, the BMBF has enabled the AWI to coordinate construction of a modern, high-performance and sustainable successor to the Polarstern, and to announce a corresponding call for tenders. Now that the federal budget for 2022 was approved by the German Bundestag, the construction procurement procedure for Polarstern II can begin.

Siberian tundra could virtually disappear by mid-millennium

AWI study shows: only ambitious climate protection measures can still save a third of the tundra

Crooked wood images
[25. May 2022] 

Due to global warming, temperatures in the Arctic are climbing rapidly. As a result, the treeline for Siberian larch forests is steadily advancing to the north, gradually supplanting the broad expanses of tundra which are home to a unique mix of flora and fauna. AWI experts have now prepared a computer simulation of how these woods could spread in the future, at the tundra’s expense.

Mikroplastik in der Atmosphäre

Micro- and nanoplastic from the atmosphere is polluting the ocean

In a new study, an international team of researchers investigates the atmosphere as a relevant source of plastic pollution in our planet’s waters

[Translate to English:] Meeresströmungen
[10. May 2022] 

According to estimates, by 2040 the level of plastic pollution could reach 80 million metric tons per year. Plastic particles have now been detected in virtually all spheres of the environment, e.g. in water bodies, the soil and the air. Via ocean currents and rivers, the tiny plastic particles can even reach the Arctic, Antarctic or ocean depths. A new overview study has now shown that wind, too, can transport these particles great distances – and much faster than water can: in the atmosphere, they can travel from their point of origin to the most remote corners of the planet in a matter of days. In the journal Nature Reviews Earth and Environment, an international team of researchers – including experts from the Alfred Wegener Institute, the Institute for Advanced…

Marine Litter

The global “plastic flood” reaches the Arctic

A new AWI-led study shows: there is now a concerning degree of plastic pollution in the Arctic Ocean

[Translate to English:] Snow samples from Arctic sea ice
[05. April 2022] 

Even the High North can’t escape the global threat of plastic pollution. An international review study just released by the Alfred Wegener Institute shows, the flood of plastic has reached all spheres of the Arctic. The plastic is not only a burden for ecosystems; it could also worsen climate change. The study was just released in the journal Nature Reviews Earth & Environment.