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Sea level rise

Greenland loses more ice than assumed

New GPS measurements in Science Advances study show that ice loss needs to be revised upwards

[22. September 2016] 

The mass loss from the Greenland ice sheet is bigger than previously estimated. This is the result of a study by international scientists to be published in Science Advances. The work shows that up to now the so-called glacial isostatic adjustment, i.e., the uplift of the bedrock, was not correctly taken into account when measuring the glaciers’ mass balance with data from GRACE satellite observations.


Climate change

Tropical coral reefs lose two thirds of their zooplankton through ocean acidification

Dramatic decline has serious consequences for coral reefs

[19. September 2016] 

Tropical coral reefs lose up to two thirds of their zooplankton through ocean acidification. This is the conclusion reached by a German-Australian research team that examined two reefs with so-called carbon dioxide seeps off the coast of Papua New Guinea. At these locations volcanic carbon dioxide escapes from the seabed, lowering the water's acidity to a level, which scientists predict for the future of the oceans. The researchers believe that the decline in zooplankton is due to the loss of suitable hiding places. It results from the changes in the coral reef community due to increasing acidification. Instead of densely branched branching corals, robust mounding species of hard coral grow, offering the zooplankton little shelter. In a study published today at the...


Arctic Ocean

Open waters around the North Pole: Arctic sea ice in retreat

Arctic sea-ice cover melts down to an area of 4.14 million sq. km., statistically tied at second lowest in the satellite record with the 2007 minimum

[13. September 2016] 

This September, the Arctic sea ice extent has shrunk to 4.1 million square kilometres (sq km)-the second lowest in the history of satellite measurements. It is exceeded only by the all-time record low of 3.4 million sq km in 2012. "Once again, a massive loss of sea ice in the Arctic," says Prof. Lars Kaleschke from Universität Hamburg's Center for Earth System Research and Sustainability (CEN). His colleague Prof. Christian Haas from the Alfred Wegener Institute (AWI) confirms: "The trend continues." Currently, the Northeast and Northwest Passages are navigable at the same time.


Marine Microplastics

Pathogenic bacteria hitchhiking to North and Baltic Seas?

For the first time, AWI scientists have found evidence of living, potentially pathogenic vibrions on microplastic particles

[21. July 2016] 

With increasing water temperatures comes an increasing likelihood of potentially pathogenic bacteria appearing in the North and Baltic Seas. AWI scientists have now proven that a group of such bacteria known as vibrios can survive on microplastic particles. In the future, they want to investigate in greater detail the role of these particles on the accumulation and possible distribution of these bacteria.


Climatology

Long-awaited breakthrough in the reconstruction of warm climate phases

AWI researchers decipher the temperature indicator TEX86 and overcome a seeming weakness of global climate models

[18. July 2016] 

Scientists from the Alfred Wegener Institute, Helmholtz Centre for Polar and Marine Research (AWI) have overcome a seeming weakness of global climate models. They had previously not been able to simulate the extreme warm period of the Eocene. One aspect of this era that particularly draws interests to climatologists: It was the only phase in recent history when greenhouse gas concentration was as high as researchers predict it to be for the future.


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