Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

AWI permafrost researchers start work in the new research station in the Russian Lena Delta

26.04.2013
Samoylov Station: Putin’s promised new building now in operation

Permafrost experts of the Alfred Wegener Institute, Helmholtz Centre for Polar and Marine Research are currently conducting a multi-week spring expedition to the Lena Delta where they are investigating the interaction between the atmosphere, snow cover and the frozen earth of the tundra.

That they are able to live and conduct their research at less than spring temperatures of up to minus 30 degrees Celsius is attributable to the new Russian research station “Samoylov”. The impressive building was erected at the initiative of the Russian head of state Vladimir Putin and for one week has replaced the old German-Russian station from 1998 where scientists were only able to work in the short Siberian summer.

From the point of view of the permafrost researchers from the Alfred Wegener Institute, spring in the tundra is still one of the great unknowns. “In April and May the temperatures increase to above the zero mark. The ice on the lakes and ponds starts to break up and the snow cover begins to melt. Meltwater then penetrates virtually every pore, distributing heat and substances in the soil.

There are close-meshed interactions between the atmosphere, snow cover and the underlying permafrost ground. However, so far we have not been able to delve more deeply into these interactions because our old research station on the Island of Samoylov was too small. It could only be operated from July to September. The new station now offers so much space that no scientist need sleep in a tent again and experiments on the snow and ice melts are now possible“, says the head of the expedition Dr. Moritz Langer from the Potsdam Research Unit of the Alfred Wegener Institute (AWI). He and 13 colleagues were the first research team to install themselves in the new Russian Samoylov Station on Wednesday, 17 April 2013.

The Russian head of state Vladimir Putin commissioned the building after having visited the old station in the summer of 2010. Putin was impressed by the work of the team of German and Russian scientists and promised to improve their working conditions by building a new station. The responsibility for the operation and supply of the new building is borne by the Siberian Department of the Russian Academy of Sciences (SBRAS) – a long-standing partner of the Alfred Wegener Institute. Representatives of both research institutions recently entered into a cooperation agreement on scientific cooperation in Novosibirsk in the Arctic. They then signed a treaty on the operation of the new Samoylov station in March of this year.

The AWI scientists now live and work as guests at the modern Russian research station. It offers the researchers not only sufficient space for laboratory and sleeping, but also has a meeting room, a high performance internet connection, several machines with which soil samples can be taken from great depths, as well as a small technical equipment and vehicle pool which includes quads and snowmobiles, a track vehicle and several boats, providing the best foundation for informative field research in the Lena Delta.

The AWI permafrost researchers will be concentrating on one complex this spring: “We wish to understand how heat from the atmosphere penetrates the ground. To find this out we will be examining more closely how the snow distributes on the island, which profile, which thickness and which crystal structure the snow blanket has and how the thawing process functions”, explains Moritz Langer. The answers to these questions are to help better understand the physical processes in the permafrost soil and to be able to predict more precisely the future development of the permanently frozen regions.

The permafrost regions of the Arctic have been increasingly moving into the focus of climate research in recent years. The reason for this is that as soon as the ground thaws, the greenhouse gases methane and carbon dioxide are released. This is triggered by bacteria which start to decompose the animal and plant remains in the soil. Carbon dioxide and methane are created as produced in the metabolic process of almost all animals. If the ground now thaws as a result of climate change also in deeper layers or if the permafrost even disappears completely, the bacteria can also decompose the remains which have been stored in the deep frozen soils for thousands of years. This fact makes the permafrost soils a very interesting scientific element of the global climate system. The more greenhouse gases are released into the atmosphere by the thawing soil, the stronger it heats up and the greater the probability that the temperature in regions with permafrost will rise and the permafrost soils will thaw even more expansively. In this case, scientists speak of a “positive feedback”.

Researchers of the Alfred Wegener Institutes have been examining the changes in the permafrost soils of the Russian tundra for 15 years now. The current research work is also part of the major EU permafrost project PAGE21 (http://www.page21.eu), which is coordinated by the AWI.

Notes for Editors
Please find printable images of AWI permafrost research projects in the Russian Lena delta in the online version of this press release: http://www.awi.de/en/news/press_releases/

English web blog of this expedition: http://www.page21.eu/blogs/87-tundra2

German blog, pictures and small videos of the 2012 summer expedition are on our homepage under this link: http://www.awi.de/de/infrastruktur/stationen/samoilov_station/aktuelles_

von_der_station/expeditionsblog_tundra_stories/

Your scientific contact person at the Alfred Wegener Institute is Professor Dr Hans-Wolfgang Hubberten, Head of the Research Unit Potsdam (phone +49 331 288-2100, e-mail: Hans-Wolfgang.Hubberten@awi.de). Scientists at Samoylov can be contacted via e-mail only. For enquiries to Dr Moritz Langer and his expedition team please contact Sina Löschke at the AWI Communications Department (phone +49 471 4831 2008, e-mail: medien@awi.de).

Follow the Alfred Wegener Institute on Twitter (https://twitter.com/AWI_de) and Facebook (http://www.facebook.com/AlfredWegenerInstitut) for all current news and information on everyday stories from the life of the Institute.

The Alfred Wegener Institute conducts research in the Arctic and Antarctic and in the high and mid-latitude oceans. The Institute coordinates German polar research and provides important infrastructure such as the research ice breaker Polarstern and stations in the Arctic and Antarctic to the international scientific world. The Alfred Wegener Institute is one of the 18 research centres of the Helmholtz Association, the largest scientific organisation in Germany.

Ralf Röchert | idw
Further information:
http://www.awi.de
http://www.page21.eu

More articles from Earth Sciences:

nachricht GPM sees deadly tornadic storms moving through US Southeast
01.12.2016 | NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center

nachricht Cyclic change within magma reservoirs significantly affects the explosivity of volcanic eruptions
30.11.2016 | Johannes Gutenberg-Universität Mainz

All articles from Earth Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Novel silicon etching technique crafts 3-D gradient refractive index micro-optics

A multi-institutional research collaboration has created a novel approach for fabricating three-dimensional micro-optics through the shape-defined formation of porous silicon (PSi), with broad impacts in integrated optoelectronics, imaging, and photovoltaics.

Working with colleagues at Stanford and The Dow Chemical Company, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign fabricated 3-D birefringent...

Im Focus: Quantum Particles Form Droplets

In experiments with magnetic atoms conducted at extremely low temperatures, scientists have demonstrated a unique phase of matter: The atoms form a new type of quantum liquid or quantum droplet state. These so called quantum droplets may preserve their form in absence of external confinement because of quantum effects. The joint team of experimental physicists from Innsbruck and theoretical physicists from Hannover report on their findings in the journal Physical Review X.

“Our Quantum droplets are in the gas phase but they still drop like a rock,” explains experimental physicist Francesca Ferlaino when talking about the...

Im Focus: MADMAX: Max Planck Institute for Physics takes up axion research

The Max Planck Institute for Physics (MPP) is opening up a new research field. A workshop from November 21 - 22, 2016 will mark the start of activities for an innovative axion experiment. Axions are still only purely hypothetical particles. Their detection could solve two fundamental problems in particle physics: What dark matter consists of and why it has not yet been possible to directly observe a CP violation for the strong interaction.

The “MADMAX” project is the MPP’s commitment to axion research. Axions are so far only a theoretical prediction and are difficult to detect: on the one hand,...

Im Focus: Molecules change shape when wet

Broadband rotational spectroscopy unravels structural reshaping of isolated molecules in the gas phase to accommodate water

In two recent publications in the Journal of Chemical Physics and in the Journal of Physical Chemistry Letters, researchers around Melanie Schnell from the Max...

Im Focus: Fraunhofer ISE Develops Highly Compact, High Frequency DC/DC Converter for Aviation

The efficiency of power electronic systems is not solely dependent on electrical efficiency but also on weight, for example, in mobile systems. When the weight of relevant components and devices in airplanes, for instance, is reduced, fuel savings can be achieved and correspondingly greenhouse gas emissions decreased. New materials and components based on gallium nitride (GaN) can help to reduce weight and increase the efficiency. With these new materials, power electronic switches can be operated at higher switching frequency, resulting in higher power density and lower material costs.

Researchers at the Fraunhofer Institute for Solar Energy Systems ISE together with partners have investigated how these materials can be used to make power...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

ICTM Conference 2017: Production technology for turbomachine manufacturing of the future

16.11.2016 | Event News

Innovation Day Laser Technology – Laser Additive Manufacturing

01.11.2016 | Event News

#IC2S2: When Social Science meets Computer Science - GESIS will host the IC2S2 conference 2017

14.10.2016 | Event News

 
Latest News

UTSA study describes new minimally invasive device to treat cancer and other illnesses

02.12.2016 | Medical Engineering

Plasma-zapping process could yield trans fat-free soybean oil product

02.12.2016 | Agricultural and Forestry Science

What do Netflix, Google and planetary systems have in common?

02.12.2016 | Physics and Astronomy

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>