Polar patterns - The Polar Seas from a Bird's Perspective

Ever-changing and ever new: In the Arctic and Antarctica, frost and the sun, waves, water and the wind create perpetually changing tints and shades, shapes and patterns. In order to capture the beauty of this interplay, one must take-off and take a bird’s eye view on the polar landscapes. A perspective that only polar researchers like AWI sea ice physicists on their routine survey flights above the ice are lucky enough to slip into. On each of those flights, one or two photographic cameras keep record of the landscape at the scientists’ feet. Pointing vertically downwards, the camera is mounted in the hull of the research aircraft or installed in the torpedo shaped body of the EM-bird – a sea ice thickness measurement device that can be dragged by the research aircraft or a helicopter. The past years of research did hence not only result in new scientific knowledge about sea ice, but also in truly fascinating images, picked by AWI sea ice physicist Stefan Hendricks.

News

Low sea-ice cover in the Arctic

Arctic Sea Ice

Low sea-ice cover in the Arctic

The sea-ice extent in the Arctic is nearing its annual minimum at the end of the melt season in September. Only circa 3.9 million square kilometres of the Arctic Ocean are covered by sea ice any more, according to researchers from the Alfred Wegener Institute and the University of Bremen. This is only the second time that the annual minimum has dropped below four million square kilometres since satellite measurements began in 1979.

Antarctic season ends this weekend

Expedition

Antarctic season ends this weekend

After half a year in the Southern Hemisphere, the research icebreaker Polarstern will soon return to her homeport, Bremerhaven. Following a season of work focusing on sea ice, the icebreaker will now be prepared for her next challenge: the greatest Arctic research expedition of all time, which will begin this September.

Climate refugee Cod

New study

Climate refugee Cod

The latest research conducted by AWI experts that the chances of survival for the offspring of important fish species will dramatically worsen, if the 1.5 ° C target of the Paris Climate Agreement is not achieved. Under conditions of further warming and acidification of the ocean, Atlantic cod and its arctic relative polar cod would be forced to look for new habitats in the far north. Their populations could dwindle. If so, this could be disastrous, as the polar cod is the most important food source for Arctic seals and seabirds. In addition, fishers could lose the world’s most productive area for catching Atlantic cod,