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Press release

Low Arctic Sea Ice Cover in the Summer of 2008

[19. September 2008] 

The Arctic summer nears its end and the minimum extent of sea ice is reached. The Arctic ice cover amounted to 4.5 million square kilometres on September 12th. This is slightly more than the lowest ice cover ever measured: 4.1 million square kilometres in the year 2007. Scientists are anxious about the development of sea ice because the long-time mean is 2.2 million square kilometres higher. This development did not come about completely unexpectedly, however. A model calculation conducted at the Alfred Wegener Institute for Polar and Marine Research in the Helmholtz Association in early summer showed that the ice minimum of the year 2008 would lie below that of the year 2005 with almost one hundred per cent probability. A new minimum below that of the year 2008,…

Press release

Marine scientists from the German federal state Bremen discover new giant clam - A hitherto unknown species shows signs of overfishing that already began 125.000 years ago

[01. September 2008] 

Researchers of the Center for Tropical Marine Ecology (ZMT), the University of Bremen and the Alfred Wegener Institute for Polar and Marine Research in the Helmholtz Association have, discovered a hitherto unknown giant clam. Tridacna costata lives in the coral reefs of the Red Sea and grows to a length of 40 centimetres. It also exists in fossilized form and its decline about 125.000 years ago is seen by the researchers as the first incidence of overfishing in the history of mankind.

Press release

Even seaweeds get sunburned - Scientists of the Alfred Wegener Institute on Spitsbergen investigate the response of seaweeds to increased ultraviolet radiation

[22. August 2008] 

It is red, it burns and itches: a sunburn on our skin. However, too much sun is not only bad for humans. Many plants react very sensitive to an exposure to ultraviolet radiation, too. Yet they are dependent on sunlight. With the help of pigments absorbing solar energy and light, plants produce their cellular components by means of photosynthesis. However, this has its limits: too much sun means an over-abundance of energy and thus the destruction of the sensitive pigments. The results are black spots, pale leaves and rotten parts.

Press release

RV Polarstern on its way to measurements in the East Siberian Sea - Research vessel transits the Northwest Passage for the first time ever

[19. August 2008] 

German research vessel Polarstern, operated by the Alfred Wegener Institute for Polar and Marine Research in the Helmholtz Association, transits the Northwest Passage for the first time. Polarstern left the port of Reykjavik on August 12th, sailed around Greenland on a southern course and is located right now at the beginning of the Northwest Passage. Its destination is the East Siberian Sea where geoscientific measurements at the junction between the Mendeleev Ridge and the East Siberian Shelf are at the focus of the participants of this expedition.

Press release

Abrupt climate changes during the last Ice Age – a phenomenon of extreme winters?

[08. August 2008] 

Vast seasonal differences in climate history challenge modellers

The severe climate oscillations in the North Atlantic area during the last glacial period were a phenomenon of extreme winters - the summers were only slightly affected. This is the result of the examinations of research teams from the Netherlands, the Alfred Wegener Institute for Polar and Marine Research in the Helmholtz Association, Bremerhaven, and the Leibniz Institute of Marine Sciences, Kiel. It has now been published in the periodical “Nature Geoscience”.