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AWI researchers measure a record concentration of microplastic in arctic sea ice

The composition and layering of plastic particles found in sea ice reveal their regions of origin

Melt pond on Arctic sea ice
[24. April 2018] 

Experts at the Alfred Wegener Institute, Helmholtz Centre for Polar and Marine Research (AWI), have recently found higher amounts of microplastic in arctic sea ice than ever before. However, the majority of particles were microscopically small. The ice samples from five regions throughout the Arctic Ocean contained up to 12,000 microplastic particles per litre of sea ice. Further, the different types of plastic showed a unique footprint in the ice allowing the researchers to trace them back to possible sources. This involves the massive garbage patch in...


Antje Boetius is awarded the Vernadsky Medal 2018

Seminal contributions to our knowledge of deep-sea ecosystems

[10. April 2018] 

AWI director Prof Dr Antje Boetius receives the prestigious Vernadsky Medal for her groundbreaking contributions to biogeosciences and spearheading research on methane-based metabolisms and the marine carbon cycle.


AWI researchers fulfil prominent roles in the IPCC’s Sixth Assessment Report

Three AWI researchers involved in IPCC's AR6

[09. April 2018] 

The IPCC (Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change) has now announced the Lead Authors for its Sixth Assessment Report (AR6), and experts from the Alfred Wegener Institute, Helmholtz Centre for Polar and Marine Research (AWI) fulfil prominent roles in this regard: Prof. Hans-Otto Pörtner, an ecophysiologist at the AWI, has been Co-Chair (with Prof. Debra Roberts (South Africa) of the IPCC’s Working Group II since 2016. In addition, Dr Björn Rost and Prof. Dieter Piepenburg of the AWI have now agreed to serve as Lead Authors for individual chapters...

Arctic Ocean

Wandering greenhouse gas

Climate models need to take into account the interaction between methane, the Arctic Ocean and ice

[14. March 2018] 

On the seafloor of the shallow coastal regions north of Siberia, microorganisms produce methane when they break down plant remains. If this greenhouse gas finds its way into the water, it can also become trapped in the sea ice that forms in these coastal waters. As a result, the gas can be transported thousands of kilometres across the Arctic Ocean and released in a completely different region months later. This phenomenon is the subject of an article by researchers from the Alfred Wegener Institute, published in the current issue of the online...

Polarstern Expedition

Unique Insights into the Antarctic Ice Shelf System

Data collected on ocean-ice interactions in the little-researched regions of the far so

CTD und Wasserschöpfer
[13. March 2018] 

The world’s second-largest ice shelf was the destination for a Polarstern expedition that ended in Punta Arenas, Chile on 14 March 2018. Oceanographers from the Alfred Wegener Institute, together with German and international colleagues, have collected important data along the entire glacier front of the Filchner-Ronne ice shelf, which will help them investigate the melting of the Antarctic Ice Sheet in an important region in the context of global sea-level rise from a multi-disciplinary perspective.