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Long-term research

Marine biologists from around the globe meet on Helgoland

50 European Marine Biology Symposium

[21. September 2015] 

The 50th European Marine Biology Symposium takes place on Helgoland from 21th to 25th September 2015. Around 200 participants from 24 countries meet to discuss long-term changes to environmental conditions and ecosystems. This jubilee is a return to the roots: In 1966, the Biological Institute Helgoland hosted the first of these symposiums, which have since been held annually at different locations.

Change in thinking required

Sea-ice zone has a major influence on the ecosystem

AWI researchers reconstruct environmental conditions in the Southern Ocean over the past 30,000 years

[18. September 2015] 

In the last 30,000 years there was, at times, more mixing in the Southern Ocean than previously thought. This meant that vast quantities of nutrients were available to phytoalgae, which in turn contributed to storing the greenhouse gas CO2 during the last glacial period. Researchers from the Alfred Wegener Institute now present these new findings in Nature Communications.

Climate Research

Where is the world’s permafrost thawing?

The first global permafrost database goes online

[14. September 2015] 

This Saturday at a conference in Quebec, Canada an international research team will present the first online data portal on global permafrost. In the Global Terrestrial Network for Permafrost ( researchers first collect all the existing permafrost temperature and active thickness layer data from Arctic, Antarctic and mountain permafrost regions and then make it freely available for download. This new portal can serve as an early warning system for researchers and decision-makers around the globe. A detailed description of the data collection is published today in an open access article on the Earth System Science Data portal.

Arctic sea-ice minimum 2015

Arctic sea ice is not recovering

Today's extent of 4.35 million square kilometres already tracking below last year’s minimum

[07. September 2015] 

Hamburg/Bremerhaven, Germany: Even before the annual summer minimum, typically seen in mid-to-late September, the Arctic sea ice covers 4,35 million square kilometres. The Northeast and Northwest Passages are mostly ice-free already. Scientists from Universität Hamburg and the Alfred Wegener Institute (AWI) estimate that the ice extent will not hit a record low in 2015 but confirm the negative trend.

New Technologies

Programmed Multicopter Flies Through the Arctic Autonomously

During the latest Polarstern expedition, researchers conducted an autonomous multicopter flight in the Fram Strait

[13. August 2015] 

Engineers on board the Alfred Wegener Institute’s research icebreaker Polarstern specially programmed a multicopter, allowing it to navigate despite the deviations produced by the Earth’s magnetic field near the North Pole. The researchers recently celebrated the copter’s first successful autonomous flight and landing on an ice floe.