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Southern Ocean

Daily up and down of the plankton animals in the sea

New study on the migration behaviour of zooplankton and its diurnal and annual cycles

[04. May 2016] 

A unique series of measurements taken over several years in the Antarctic Ocean provide new findings about the daily vertical migration of zooplankton communities: scientists of the Thünen Institute of Sea Fisheries in Hamburg and the Alfred Wegener Institute in Bremerhaven observed changes during the year and between years. The Antarctic zooplankton is the main source of food for many fish and whale species, including the largest mammal in the world, the blue whale.

Arctic sea ice

The Arctic is facing a decline in sea ice that might equal the negative record of 2012

Data collected by the CryoSat-2 satellite reveal large amounts of thin ice that are unlikely to survive the summer

Aufnahme von arktischem Meereis aus dem Spätsommer 2015. Dieses Foto entstand im Zuge der Polarstern-Expedition PS94 in den zentralen Arktischen Ozean.
[21. April 2016] 

Sea ice physicists from the Alfred Wegener Institute, Helmholtz Centre for Polar and Marine Research (AWI), are anticipating that the sea ice cover in the Arctic Ocean this summer may shrink to the record low of 2012. The scientists made this projection after evaluating current satellite data about the thickness of the ice cover. The data show that the arctic sea ice was already extraordinarily thin in the summer of 2015. Comparably little new ice formed during the past winter. Today Dr Marcel Nicolaus, expert on sea ice, has presented these findings at a press conference during the annual General Assembly of the European Geosciences Union in Vienna.

Technology Transfer

Bionic Lightweight Design researchers of the Alfred Wegener Institute at Hannover Messe 2016

Honeycomb structures as the basic building block for industrial applications presented using holo pyramid

[21. April 2016] 

Researchers of the Alfred Wegener Institute (AWI) will introduce their latest developments in the field of bionic lightweight design at Hannover Messe from 25 to 29 April 2016. Their focus is on the ELiSE lightweight construction method, which uses structures from nature to gain a developmental edge over methods that start from scratch. The industry is currently looking for lightweight reinforcement of complex flat and 3D-components. The AWI researchers have developed and built a holo pyramid that allows them to demonstrate the different procedures to the trade fair visitors.

Climate History

Six to ten million years ago: Ice-free summers at the North Pole

Geoscientists are closing important knowledge gaps in the climate history of the Arctic Ocean

Freude über eine gelungene Sedimentkern-Bohrung: Polarsternfahrtleiter Prof. Dr. Rüdiger Stein (blauer Helm) und sein Team posieren neben dem Kastenlot, welches den Sedimentkern enthält.
[04. April 2016] 

An international team of scientists led by the Alfred Wegener Institute Helmholtz Centre for Polar and Marine Research (AWI) have managed to open a new window into the climate history of the Arctic Ocean. Using unique sediment samples from the Lomonosov Ridge, the researchers found that six to ten million years ago the central Arctic was completely ice-free during summer and sea-surface temperature reached values of 4 to 9 degrees Celsius. In spring, autumn and winter, however, the ocean was covered by sea ice of variable extent, the scientists explain in the current issue of the journal Nature Communications. These new findings from the Arctic region provide new benchmarks for groundtruthing global climate reconstructions and modelling.


A glance into the future of the Arctic

Thawing ice wedges substantially change the permafrost landscape

[14. March 2016] 

Throughout the Arctic, ice wedges are thawing at a rapid pace. Changes to these structures, which are very common in permafrost landscapes, have a massive impact on the hydrology of the tundra. This is the result of a study carried out by an international research team in cooperation with the Alfred Wegener Institute, which will be published in the journal Nature Geoscience today.