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Friday, 03 July 2009 08:50
Alfred Wegener Institute tests infrared system for the protection of whales
Bremerhaven, July 2nd 2009. A new measurement system for the detection of whales is used for the first time on board of the research vessel Polarstern. Whales are usually difficult to spot. On the one hand, they spend the greater part of their life under water. On the other hand, only a small part of their body can be seen when they surface, and this can even hardly be distinguished from the surrounding water. Visual sightings by marine mammal observers are therefore usually based on observations of the spout, the condensing and quite warm breathing cloud. It rises, depending on the whale species and wind conditions, between one metre and ten metres over the water surface and remains visible for only a few seconds. A thermal imaging camera specifically optimized for this purpose now uses t...
Friday, 26 June 2009 05:48
Why are diatoms so successful? Alfred Wegener Institute finds some clues
Why are diatoms so successful? Researchers from the Alfred Wegener Institute find hints to this question in the algae's evolution. Bremerhaven, June 25th. Diatoms play a key role in the photosynthesis of the oceans and are therefore intensively studied. Researchers from the Alfred Wegener Institute for Polar and Marine Research in the Helmholtz Association together with international collaborators have made a new discovery regarding the diatoms' photosynthesis. It has so far been believed that diatoms have inherited their photosynthetic capabilities exclusively from red algae. The molecular biologists have now shown that a significant part of the diatoms' genes originates from green algae. The photosynthetic cellular structure of the diatoms, the plastids, therefore combi...
Friday, 19 June 2009 05:10
Research vessel Polarstern starts 24th Arctic season
Bremerhaven, June 18th. The German research vessel Polarstern, operated by the Alfred Wegener Institute for Polar and Marine Research in the Helmholtz Association, will begin its 24th Arctic expedition on Saturday, June 20th. 119 scientists from seven different nations will research the whole spectrum of current Arctic topics in three journey stages: climate history and current climate development, effects on the ecosystem ranging from bacteria to marine mammals, and also geoscientific questions regarding sediment structure and tectonics of the Arctic. Polarstern is expected back in Bremerhaven September 25th. The first journey stage will lead the researchers via the Greenland Sea and the Fram Strait to Longyearbyen on Spitsbergen. The area has increasingly come into the cen...
Thursday, 11 June 2009 02:03
New record Arctic sea ice cover minimum in 2009?
New record Arctic sea ice cover minimum? Climate researchers from Bremerhaven and Hamburg present new prognoses Bremerhaven/Hamburg, June 10th 2009. Climate researchers from the Alfred Wegener Institute for Polar and Marine Research and KlimaCampus of the University of Hamburg participate for the second time in an international scientific competition. Some of the most renowned climate research institutes worldwide fathom possibilities for seasonal prognoses of Arctic sea ice cover by means of different methods and climate models. The declared aim of all participants is to find the best method for reliable prognoses. The German researchers agree upon a continuing negative trend. Another critical minimum of Arctic sea ice is to be expected in the late summer of 2009. ...
Friday, 05 June 2009 07:49
Longest climate archive of the terrestrial Arctic retrieved
Bremerhaven/Cologne June 2nd 2009. An international team of researchers from Russia, Germany, the USA and Austria has conducted a deep drilling programme in the utmost northeast of Russia during the last six months to retrieve several hundred metres of marine sediments, impact breccias and permanently frozen soil. These make new insights into the climate history of the Arctic, crater formation of the Elgygytgyn Lake and permafrost dynamics possible. A milestone has been reached at the beginning of May with the first results of the drilling campaign. The cores gained will help to answer crucial open questions of Arctic geology. At the utmost northern fringe of north-eastern Siberia, about 900 kilometres west of the Bering Strait and 100 km north of the Arctic Circle (67°30
Tuesday, 05 May 2009 10:37
Research aircraft Polar 5 finishes Arctic expedition
Research aircraft Polar 5 finishes Arctic expedition Unique measurement flights in the central Arctic completed Bremerhaven, April 29th 2009. The Arctic campaign PAM-ARCMIP (Pan-Arctic Measurements and Arctic Climate Model Intercomparison Project) ended yesterday in Ottawa with the participation of the research aircraft Polar 5. The campaign which lasted four weeks yielded unique measurement data on sea ice thickness, trace gases, aerosols and meteorological parameters thanks to the great range of the aircraft and modern measurement equipment. We were out and about in mainly unchartered territory. Our most northerly position was 88°40' N. Flight operations of this kind require a high degree of proficiency and a lot of experience, reports Dr. Andreas Herber, ph...
Thursday, 30 April 2009 07:20
Alfred Wegener Institute scientist is new Executive Secretary of the international Antarctic Treaty
Bremerhaven, April 17th 2009. A scientist from the Alfred Wegener Institute will become the new Executive Secretary of the Antarctic Treaty system from August 2009. This was announced at the end of the Antarctic Treaty Consultative Meeting (ATCM) in Baltimore, USA. The majority of the 28 members entitled to vote for the new Executive Secretary of the Antarctic Treaty Secretariat decided on the German candidate Dr Manfred Reinke who prevailed over competitors from Great Britain and Australia. The secretariat is seated in the Argentinean capital Buenos Aires. Manfred Reinke has been working for the Alfred Wegener Institute for Polar and Marine Research in the Helmholtz Association for many years, currently as Scientific Associate to the directorate. The 56 years old scientist ...
Thursday, 02 April 2009 15:59
Rising permafrost temperatures raise emission of the climate relevant trace gas methane
Investigations of the Alfred Wegener Institute show that methane producing microorganisms react to climate changes Bremerhaven, March 30th 2009. Higher temperatures in Arctic permafrost soils alter the community of methane producing microorganisms and lead to an increased emission of methane. Microbiologists from the Alfred Wegener Institute come to this conclusion in the current issue of the periodical “Environmental Microbiology”. The scientists were able to examine permafrost from the ground of the Laptev Sea, a shallow shelf sea close to the coast of Siberia, for the first time. Caused by overflooding with relatively warm sea water, this so-called “submarine permafrost“ is about 10° C warmer than the permafrost on land. It is therefore particularly suited to mon...
Friday, 27 March 2009 16:51
Research plane Polar 5 on Arctic campaign
Bremerhaven, March 26th 2009. The research aircraft Polar 5 belongs to the Alfred Wegener Institute. It will start on Monday March 30th at 10 o'clock from the regional airport Bremerhaven on an Arctic measurement campaign which will last about four weeks. Measurements of sea ice thickness and atmospheric variables in an area between Spitsbergen, Greenland, northern Canada and Alaska are at the centre of the project PAM-ARCMIP (Pan-Arctic Measurements and Arctic Climate Model Inter comparison Project). Up to twenty German and international researchers will carry out investigations in those areas of the Arctic where no data are yet available. Six research institutes from Germany (Alfred Wegener Institute), Canada (Environment Canada, University of Alberta, York University), the USA (NOAA) a...
Monday, 23 March 2009 23:08
Lohafex project provides new insights on plankton ecology
Lohafex provides new insights on plankton ecology Only small amounts of atmospheric carbon dioxide fixed Bremerhaven/Berlin, 23 March 2009. The Indo-German team of scientists from the National Institute of Oceanography and the Alfred Wegener Institute has returned from its expedition on research vessel Polarstern. The cooperative project Lohafex has yielded new insights on how ocean ecosystems function. But it has dampened hopes on the potential of the Southern Ocean to sequester significant amounts of carbon dioxide (CO2) and thus mitigate global warming. On 17 March the scientists reached Punta Arenas, Chile, together with colleagues from five other countries. They carried out an ocean iron fertilization experiment in the south-western Atlantic for arduous two and a...