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Researchers unravel the drivers of large iceberg movement

Tabular icebergs can drift through the Southern Ocean for eight years or more, and predominantly melt at the bottom

[07. April 2017] 

When, in the foreseeable future, a tabular iceberg nearly seven times the size of Berlin breaks off the Larsen C Ice Shelf in the Antarctic, it will begin a journey, the course of which climate researchers at the Alfred Wegener Institute, Helmholtz Centre for Polar and Marine Research can accurately predict. The researchers have now succeeded in modelling how Antarctic icebergs drift through the Southern Ocean, and in identifying the physical factors behind their movement and their melting. Which factors are most important tends to depend on the size of the iceberg in question. Their findings were recently released on the online portal of the Journal of Geophysical Research: Oceans.

For the first time in five years

RV Polarstern opens its doors to the public

On 22 and 23 April, the Alfred Wegener Institute will host an “Open Ship” event in Bremerhaven

[03. April 2017] 

On the weekend of 22 and 23 April, Germany’s largest research vessel, the icebreaker Polarstern, will open her doors to the public as part of the Science Year 2016*17 – Seas and Oceans. As they walk about the ship, visitors can tour the laboratories, living accommodations, and the bridge, giving them a feel for what it’s like to be part of an expedition.

From Pole to Pole

Litter is present throughout the world’s oceans: 1,220 species affected

The AWI Litterbase portal is the first to gather all published scientific data on marine litter

[23. March 2017] 

Where is marine litter concentrated, and which species and ecosystems does it affect? Researchers at the Alfred Wegener Institute have for the first time compiled all scientific data published on marine litter in a single, comprehensive database, now accessible from the online portal AWI Litterbase (

The Arctic

When the sea ice melts, juvenile polar cod may go hungry

Biologists confirm how heavily the fish depend on ice algae

[15. March 2017] 

Polar cod fulfil a key role in the Arctic food web, as they are a major source of food for seals, whales and seabirds alike. But the polar cod themselves might soon be the hungry ones. Under the ice of the central Arctic, the juvenile fish are indirectly but heavily dependent on ice algae. As a result, retreating sea ice could have far-reaching impacts on the food web.

Arctic Ocean

Litter Levels in the Depths of the Arctic are On the Rise

Sea ice could be responsible for transporting plastic litter

[08. February 2017] 

The Arctic has a serious litter problem: in just ten years, the concentration of marine litter at a deep-sea station in the Arctic Ocean has risen 20-fold. This was recently reported in a study by researchers at the Alfred Wegener Institute, Helmholtz Centre for Polar and Marine Research (AWI).