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Beyond EPICA explores the climate of the past – drilling commences

Research team drills for 1.5-million-year-old ice in the Antarctic

[Translate to English:] Eiskern
[30. November 2021] 

The climatic and environmental history of our planet is hidden in the ice: it harbours information on the temperature development and atmospheric composition dating back centuries and even millennia. In the context of the project Beyond EPICA-Oldest Ice, an international team of researchers hopes to unlock that information – by retrieving a core sample from the deep ice of the Antarctic, which contains climate data from the past 1.5 million years.


Viscous AND elastic: Glaciers are more “solid” than previously assumed

AWI study shows that elastic deformation is far more important for glaciers than previously assumed

Massive Spaltenregionen vom 79°N Gletscher im Juli 2018
[09. November 2021] 

Melting glaciers are a major contributor to global sea-level rise. In order to project the latter as precisely as possible, all relevant processes at work in the world’s large glaciers must be simulated as realistically as possible in computer models. In most simulations, the ice is exclusively depicted as a flowing body. But, as a new modelling study led by the Alfred Wegener Institute confirms, this approach neglects the ice’s qualities as a solid body. Accordingly, using the example of a glacier on the coast of Greenland, the experts showed that ocean tides produce elastic deformation in the ice, reaching several kilometres inland. The study was just released in the journal Nature Communications: Earth & Environment.

Climate Research

2021 CO2 emissions at nearly 2019 level

Global Carbon Project presents new report on the development of the greenhouse gas

[04. November 2021] 

After dropping considerably worldwide in 2020, this year fossil carbon dioxide emissions will likely reach the level before the outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic. That’s the conclusion arrived at by the Global Carbon Project. Every year, experts assess how much CO2 was released into the atmosphere around the globe, and how much was absorbed by natural sinks. Dr Judith Hauck, a climate researcher at the Alfred Wegener Institute, is also part of the team. The project has just released its preliminary report in the journal Earth System Science Data.

Climate Policy

Expert service to accompany the UN Climate Change Conference in Glasgow

Alfred Wegener Institute represented at the COP26 by several researchers

[29. October 2021] 

From 1 to 12 November 2021, heads of state, organisations and researchers will gather at the UN Climate Change Conference (COP26) in Glasgow. Their primary goal is to assess and further develop national measures and targets in an effort to keep global warming well under two degrees Celsius. After all, the far-reaching effects of climate change can already be seen and felt. Researchers from the Alfred Wegener Institute are in attendance, will take part in the various COP26 events, and will share their own experiences and findings from polar and marine research. A dedicated website featuring contributions from the AWI’s polar and marine research experts taking part in the COP26 will go online today.

Arctic Ocean

Annual sea ice minimum in the Arctic

Negative trend continues - Comparatively moderate shrinkage of ice extent in 2021

[Translate to English:] Blick auf schneebedecktes arktisches Meereis mit Schmelzwassertümpeln,im Spätsommer.

View on arctic sea ice covered by meltwater ponds in late summer
[16. September 2021] 

The sea ice extent in the Arctic Ocean reached its annual minimum of 4.81 million square kilometres on 12 September 2021. As such, the 2021 Arctic sea-ice minimum comes in at 12th place on the negative list for absolute values. Sea ice extent in September is one of the strongest signs of climate change, experts pointed out in the recently published 6th Assessment Report of Working Group I of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. It has declined by about 40 per cent over the last four decades.