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Sustainable collaboration: Using the AWI’s polar aircraft in the Harz

Researchers use test flights for upcoming Arctic campaign to quantify damage to forests

[Translate to English:] Luftaufnahme geschädigter Wald nahe der Okertalsperre
[15. July 2022] 

In Germany, the Harz is a region particularly hard hit by climate change: storms, arid conditions and subsequent bark beetle infestations are causing unprecedented damage to the forest. Sea-ice experts from the Alfred Wegener Institute are now helping to quantify the damage and contributing to the success of reforestation efforts – from the air. To carry out essential equipment tests for an upcoming Arctic campaign, they are engaging in survey flights over the Harz, during which they're putting their new, high-resolution camera systems through their paces.

Weddell Sea

150 Whales Observed Feeding Together

For the first time since the ban on whaling, large groups of southern fin whales documented in the Antarctic

[Translate to English:] Finnwale in der Antarktis
[07. July 2022] 

After blue whales, fin whales are the largest whales in the world – and human beings have hunted both species to near-extinction. After the ban on commercial whaling in 1976, the stocks of these long-lived, but slow-growing creatures are rebounding: in the journal Scientific Reports, researchers and filmmakers jointly present videos and photos of large groups of up to 150 southern fin whales in their historical feeding areas.


Thawing Permafrost is Shaping the Global Climate

A new publication and interactive map summarise the current state of knowledge on the risks posed by permafrost soils – and call for decisive action

[Translate to English:] Eisreiche Permafrostböden auf Bol'shoy Lyakhovsky, Neusibirische Inseln
[29. June 2022] 

How is climate change affecting the permanently frozen soils of the Arctic? What will the consequences be for the global climate, human beings, and ecosystems? And what can be done to stop it? In the journal Frontiers in Environmental Science, a team of experts led by Benjamin Abbott from Brigham Young University, USA and Jens Strauss from the Alfred Wegener Institute in Potsdam summarise the current state of knowledge on these questions. In addition, an AWI group led by Moritz Langer has now created an interactive map of the past and future of permafrost.

Polarstern Expedition to the Arctic Ice

Research icebreaker departs for a process study in the marginal ice zone north of Svalbard and glacier research off Greenland

[Translate to English:] Polarstern in Bremerhaven
[28. June 2022] 

Das Forschungsschiff Polarstern bricht heute zu einer gut siebenwöchigen Fahrt in die Arktis auf, wo mit dem Sommer die jährliche Meereisschmelze eingesetzt hat. Die sommerliche Ausdehnung des Meereises ist in den vergangenen 40 Jahren um 40 Prozent zurückgegangen – eine der sichtbarsten Folgen des Klimawandels. Wie Wärmeflüsse und Wasserschichtung im Ozean sowie die Eiseigenschaften die Meereisschmelze kontrollieren und miteinander wechselwirken, wird das Forschungsteam in der Meereisrandzone untersuchen.

Scientific Consulting

5th Anniversary of the German Arctic Office

This year, the Alfred Wegener Institute’s competence centre for information and political consulting on all aspects of the Arctic is celebrating its fifth anniversary

[Translate to English:] Floe Map
[16. June 2022] 

The Arctic as a hotspot of climate change has become a topic of growing geopolitical and commercial interest over the past several years. What happens in the Arctic doesn’t stay in the Arctic – the effects of changes taking place near the North Pole can be felt around the globe. This also extends to the political and economic level: the retreating ice offers unprecedented access to the region for tourism, trade and natural resource exploration, raising new geopolitical and geostrategic questions, while also necessitating action and cooperation. The German Arctic Office helps the actors involved find answers to these questions and promotes communication between basic research and political decision-makers. This year, the Office is celebrating its fifth anniversary.