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Ocean currents

Melting triggers melting

Scientists show how warm ocean water melted glaciers during the last glacial period - a potential template for processes affecting the modern Antarctic ice sheet

Iceberg in front the antarctic peninsula
[11. July 2018] 

The melting of glaciers on one side of the globe can trigger disintegration of glaciers on the other side of the globe, as has been presented in a recent paper by a team of AWI scientists, who investigated marine microalgae preserved in glacial deposits and subsequently used their findings to perform climate simulations. The study highlights a process with alerting consequences for modern ice sheets: continuous warming of the ocean can result in a massive loss of polar ice mass, and consequently to rapid sea level rise.


Arctic Expedition

Research icebreaker Polarstern departs for the Fram Strait

Researchers will investigate various oceanographic and biological aspects between the waters of the Atlantic and Arctic Oceans

Eine Verankerung liegt einsatzbereit an Bord des Forschungsschiffes Polarstern. 

A ready-to-go mooring is laying onboard the German reseach vessel Polarstern. 

Fotos von der Polarstern-Expedition ARK-XXVII-1 im Sommer 2012 (14. Juni - 15. Juli 2012, Bremerhaven-Longyearbyen); 

Ozeanografie: Projekt ACOBAR - Messung von Salzgehalt, Sauerstoff und Wassertemperatur an 80 Stationen entlang eines Schnittes bei 78°50' N;

Biologie: Netzfänge und Sedimentprobennahme an den Stationen; Amphipoden-Untersuchungen (PECABO); Beobachtungen von Seevögeln und Meeressäugern; 


Photo taken by Sebastian Menze during the Polarstern expedition ARK-XXVII-1 in summer 2012 into the Fram Strait, duration: 14th June - 15th July 2012
[06. July 2018] 

On Tuesday, 10 July 2018 the research icebreaker Polarstern will leave its homeport in Bremerhaven, headed for the Arctic. The main focus of the journey will be on long-term oceanographic measurements and biological research in the water column and on the seafloor of the Fram Strait between Greenland and Svalbard.

An entire year trapped in the Arctic ice

The international MOSAiC expedition with the German research icebreaker Polarstern will launch in autumn 2019

AWI sea-ice physicists are working on the sea ice, while the wind is acclerating and the snow drift is increasing.
[27. June 2018] 

It could be the largest-scale Arctic research expedition of all time: in September 2019 the German research icebreaker Polarstern will depart from Tromsø, Norway and, once it has reached its destination, will spend the next year drifting through the Arctic Ocean, trapped in the ice. A total of 600 people from 17 countries will participate in the expedition.

The Antarctic

Why the tongue of the Pine Island Glacier suddenly shrank

Researchers map the seafloor near the Pine Island Glacier and use time-lapse video to unravel the mystery of its abrupt retreat

Polarstern nahe eines Eisbergs in der Pine Island Bucht.
[15. June 2018] 

The Pine Island Glacier in Western Antarctica is not only one of the fastest-flowing ice streams in the Southern Hemisphere; over the past eleven years, four major icebergs have calved from its floating tongue. In February 2017, researchers on board the German research icebreaker Polarstern successfully mapped an area of seafloor previously covered by shelf ice. A comparison of these new maps with satellite images of the ice stream reveals why the glacier suddenly retreated toward the coast: at important points, it had lost contact with the...


Antarctica ramps up sea level rise

Ice losses from Antarctica have increased global sea levels by 7.6 mm since 1992, with two fifths of this rise (3.0 mm) coming in the last five years alone.

Beitrag des antarktischen Eispanzers zum Meeresspiegelanstieg (Grafik: IMBIE/Planetary Visions)
[13. June 2018] 

The findings are from a major climate assessment known as the Ice Sheet Mass Balance Inter-comparison Exercise (IMBIE), and are published today in Nature. It is the most complete picture of Antarctic ice sheet change to date - 84 scientists from 44 international organisations combined 24 satellite surveys to produce the assessment.