Mission in the Arctic ice

What is the role of sea ice as an element of the climate system? Is sea ice an indicator for climate changes? Is it possible to conclude from changes in sea ice to climate changes?

All these are questions that we aim to answer with our work in the sea-ice physics section. Here you can see how we approached our main questions during a summer expedition into the Arctic with the research vessel Polarstern.

News

AWI’s underwater robot Tramper successfully recovered

Good news from the Arctic

AWI’s underwater robot Tramper successfully recovered

On 27 August 2017, deep-sea researchers from the Alfred Wegener Institute recovered the underwater robot Tramper, which had been taking measurements at a depth of 2435 metres for nearly 60 weeks – the first long-term mission involving a crawler under the Arctic sea ice. For the first 24 weeks, the robot took biogeochemical readings at various sites, just as it was intended to. Unfortunately, because of a broken tread, Tramper got stuck in the same place in January, though it continued to record the oxygen content in the sediment.

New findings on the past and future of sea ice cover in the Arctic

Nature Communications Study

New findings on the past and future of sea ice cover in the Arctic

Temperatures in the Arctic are currently climbing two to three times faster than the global average. The result – and, thanks to feedback effects, also the cause – is dwindling sea ice. In a study published in the actual volume of Nature Communications, geo- and climate researchers at the Alfred-Wegener Institute, Helmholtz Centre for Polar- and Marine Research (AWI) show that, in the course of our planet’s history, summertime sea ice was to be found in the central Arctic in periods characterised by higher global temperatures – but less CO2 – than today.

How the Arctic Ocean Became Saline

Arctic

How the Arctic Ocean Became Saline

The Arctic Ocean was once a gigantic freshwater lake. Only after the land bridge between Greenland and Scotland had submerged far enough did vast quantities of salt water pour in from the Atlantic. With the help of a climate model, researchers from the Alfred Wegener Institute have demonstrated how this process took place, allowing us for the first time to understand more accurately how Atlantic circulation as we know it today came about. The results of the study have now been published in the journal Nature Communications.