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Beyond EPICA: First cores lifted from deep Antarctic ice

After two months at an average of minus 40 degrees Celsius, the first stage in the search for 1.5-million-year-old ice has been successfully completed

Aerial view of the Little Dome C camp
[17. February 2022] 

What was the climate like thousands or even millions of years ago? The deep ice in Antarctica could provide answers: It contains information about temperature development and the composition of the atmosphere of the past. An international research team aims to decode this information in the Beyond EPICA-Oldest Ice project, with a drill core containing climate data from the last 1.5 million years. At the end of January, the project team successfully completed the first campaign and lifted the first cores. Scientists from the Alfred Wegener Institute were instrumental in the planning and also on site.


Giant sponge gardens discovered on seamounts in the Arctic deep sea

Sponges grow in large numbers and to impressive size on the peaks of extinct underwater volcanoes

Rich and densely populated ecosystem on the peaks of extinct underwater volcanoes in the Arctic deep sea
[08. February 2022] 

Auf den Gipfeln von Seebergen im zentralen Arktischen Ozean, einem der nährstoffärmsten Meere der Erde, gedeihen riesige Schwammgärten. Die Schwämme ernähren sich scheinbar von den Überresten ausgestorbener Tiere. Mikroorganismen helfen ihnen dabei, dieses Material als Nahrungs- und Energiequelle zu nutzen.

The “Plastification” of the Ocean

WWF releases study on the effects of plastic pollution on marine species and ecosystems

[08. February 2022] 

A study released by WWF Germany and the Alfred Wegener Institute (AWI) highlights the serious scale of the global plastic crisis and summarises the current state of knowledge concerning the effects of plastic pollution on marine species and ecosystems. In the days leading up to the United Nations Environment Assembly (UNEA), the study, which is the most comprehensive meta-analysis on the issue to date, stresses that a binding global treaty is required in order to stop the irreversible pollution of the world’s oceans before ecological thresholds are exceeded.

MOSAiC Expedition

Deep insights into the Arctic of tomorrow

Interdisciplinary results of MOSAiC drift published

[Translate to English:] Laser Scanning
[07. February 2022] 

Hundreds of international researchers are currently analyzing observations from the one-year MOSAiC expedition, during which hundreds of environmental parameters were recorded with unprecedented accuracy and frequency over a full annual cycle in the Central Arctic Ocean. They have now published three overview articles on the MOSAiC atmosphere, snow and sea ice, and ocean programs in the journal Elementa, highlighting the importance of examining all components of the climate system together.

Climate Research

Ocean eddies could explain Antarctic sea-ice paradox

AWI study provides the basis for reliable projections of the impacts of climate change in the Antarctic

[Translate to English:] Eisimpressionen der Antarktis
[02. February 2022] 

Despite global warming and the sea-ice loss in the Arctic, the Antarctic sea-ice extent has remained largely unchanged since 1979. However, existing climate model-based simulations indicate significant sea-ice loss, contrary to actual observations. As experts from the Alfred Wegener Institute have now shown, the ocean may weaken warming around Antarctica and delay sea-ice retreat.