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Intensive Subtropical Ocean Warming is Only the Beginning

New AWI study shows: The warming of the world’s oceans will only worsen

A graphic showing satellite observed sea surface temperature trends and ocean circulation
[06. June 2023]  In response to climate change, the mean sea surface temperature has risen substantially. Yet some ocean regions like the Southern Ocean encircling Antarctica have hardly warmed at all, or even grown slightly cooler, over the past 40 years. A team of experts from the AWI has now succeeded in confirming that this phenomenon is only a temporary state at the beginning of an extremely long-term climate change, in the course of which precisely those areas that are cooler today will warm the most. 

Centre of Excellence

The start of the last year of the NF-POGO Centre of Excellence training at AWI

[Translate to English:] Felswatt vor Helgoland
Helgoland Intertidal Zone
[05. June 2023]  The Alfred Wegener Institute, Helmholtz Centre for Marine and Polar Research (AWI), is delighted to announce the start of the last cohort of the NF-POGO Centre of Excellence at AWI, a comprehensive oceanographic training programme on the North Sea Islands of Helgoland and Sylt. The new participants from the Philippines, Sri Lanka, India, Madagascar, Tanzania, Somalia, Lebanon, Portugal, Brazil and Argentina will be the last cohort before the ten-year programme rotates to another hosting institution.

Microbes use carbon from ancient rocks

[Translate to English:] Schmelzwasserströme
[01. June 2023]  Microbial communities in marine sediments are able to use ancient material as a carbon source. Although they prefer fresh organic material, if there is not enough of it, microbes also use carbon from rocks. Since this bacterial metabolism releases greenhouse gases, this process is an additional source of fossil greenhouse gases. This is the result of a study led by the Alfred Wegener Institute, which has now been published in the journal Nature Geosciences. 

Underestimated Heat Storage

Calculations show that the thermal energy stored by land masses has increased significantly

[Translate to English:] Permafrost
[31. May 2023]  There are many effects of climate change. Perhaps the most broadly known is global warming, which is caused by heat building up in various parts of the Earth system, such as the atmosphere, the ocean, the cryosphere and the land. 89 percent of this excess heat is stored in the oceans, with the rest in ice and glaciers, the atmosphere and land masses (including inland water bodies). An international research team has now studied the quantity of heat stored on land, showing the distribution of land heat among the continental ground, permafrost soils, and inland water bodies. The calculations, published in Earth System Dynamics, show that more than 20 times as much heat has been stored there since the 1960s, with the largest increase being in the ground.

Microplastics: From detection to prevention

New project investigates risks and possibilities for combating microplastic pollution in the German-Danish border region

[Translate to English:] Analyse Mikropartikel
[02. May 2023]  Thousands of tonnes of microplastics are emitted in the German-Danish border region every year. The PlastTrack project, funded by the European Union as part of Interreg Deutschland-Danmark programme, investigates potential dangers for the environment and us humans. The institutions involved also develop tools to monitor and combat plastic pollution in the region. The project is led by the Southern Danish University (SDU) in Sønderborg, the Alfred Wegener Institute and the GEOMAR are German partners.