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Ten years of exploration with the AWI’s research aircraft Polar 5

Geophysicists, atmospheric researchers and sea-ice physicists can gather data in even the most remote regions

[Translate to English:] Das NETCARE-Team des deutschen Forschungsflugzeuges Polar 5
[29. September 2017] 

The 1st of October 2017 marks the ten-year anniversary since the Alfred Wegener Institute (AWI) research aircraft Polar 5 began service. In that time, the Basler BT-67 has flown more than 1.3 million kilometres to fulfil essential scientific and logistical duties. In the course of 48 measuring campaigns, predominantly for atmospheric research and geophysics purposes, the airplane has landed on the Arctic sea ice near the North Pole, and at the South Pole.


AWI Potsdam: Celebrating 25 years

Alfred Wegener Institute inaugurates new annex on the Telegrafenberg

AWI-Gebäude A43 Telegrafenberg Potsdam
[26. September 2017] 

The founding of the AWI Potsdam 25 years ago represented the successful reunification of German polar research. In honour of this occasion, today representatives of the scientific community and politics will look back on a quarter century of polar research at the Alfred Wegner Institute’s Potsdam facilities


From River Weser to the North Sea

PLAWES investigates microplastics contamination across ecosystems

Müll-im-Meer-Forschung am AWI Helgoland
[20. September 2017] 

Around the globe, the pollution of rivers, lakes and seas with plastic litter is on the rise. A new project jointly coordinated by the University of Bayreuth and the Alfred Wegener Institute, Helmholtz Centre for Polar and Marine Research (AWI) is the first to approach the problem from a holistic perspective. In the model region Weser – Wadden Sea National Park the participating researchers will use e.g. empirical and model-assisted analyses to discover how minute plastic particles (microplastics) make their way from land to sea, which input and transport routes are involved (and to which extent), and what risks this contamination poses for various ecosystems.

Sea Ice Minimum 2017

Arctic sea ice once again shows considerable melting

With a minimum extent of ca. 4.7 million square kilometres, Arctic sea ice continues to retreat

[14. September 2017] 

This September, the extent of Arctic sea ice shrank to roughly 4.7 million square kilometres, as was determined by researchers at the Alfred Wegener Institute, the University of Bremen and Universität Hamburg. Though slightly larger than last year, the minimum sea ice extent 2017 is average for the past ten years and far below the numbers from 1979 to 2006. The Northeast Passage was traversable for ships without the need for icebreakers.

Good news from the Arctic

AWI’s underwater robot Tramper successfully recovered

After nearly 60 weeks of measuring the oxygen content on the ocean floor

AWI-Tramper wird an Bord der Polarstern gehievt
[30. August 2017] 

On 27 August 2017, deep-sea researchers from the Alfred Wegener Institute recovered the underwater robot Tramper, which had been taking measurements at a depth of 2435 metres for nearly 60 weeks – the first long-term mission involving a crawler under the Arctic sea ice. For the first 24 weeks, the robot took biogeochemical readings at various sites, just as it was intended to. Unfortunately, because of a broken tread, Tramper got stuck in the same place in January, though it continued to record the oxygen content in the sediment.