Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

German Research Vessel Polarstern in New Zealand for the first time

28.01.2010
On 26 January 2010 the research vessel Polarstern docked in Wellington, New Zealand for the first time. This marked the end of the two-month leg of an expedition with a marine geological focus that started in Punta Arenas, Chile.

Representatives of the research community and the political sphere took advantage of the short stop in the port to share experiences and ideas and intensify the good cooperation within the framework of a reception on board.

On 29 January the Polarstern will sail with a new crew as well as new scientific and technical personnel back to Punta Arenas. From the eastern Ross Sea and along the continental margin off Marie Byrd Land geophysical profiling will connect the existing data grid of the Ross Sea to the profiles in the Amundsen Sea and Bellingshausen Sea. The researchers headed by Chief Scientist Dr. Karsten Gohl from the Alfred Wegener Institute for Polar and Marine Research in the Helmholtz Association want to close the currently existing large gap in data. The objective of this work is to determine the topography of the seafloor at present and in the geological past and thus create a basis for long-term climate simulations. The main area of work will subsequently be Pine Island Bay, known for the recently accelerated retreat of the Pine Island and Thwaites Glacier systems. Reconstruction of the dynamic changes in the West Antarctic ice sheet is aimed at providing a better understanding of the current changes and their possible influence on an increased sea level rise. This aim constitutes the focus of the geophysical and geological investigations. Geothermal heat-flow measurements are expected to provide insight into recent volcanic activities that may have an impact on ice-sheet dynamics. Oceanographic measurements will help in explaining one of the possible causes of the present retreat of the glaciers.

The 43 members of the team involved in the expedition that just ended was headed by geologist Dr. Rainer Gersonde from the Alfred Wegener Institute. They collected 1000 metres of sediment cores altogether (around eleven tons in weight) at 70 stations during the research cruise from Chile to New Zealand that covered 9400 nautical miles (17,000 km). The unique material will furnish for the first time detailed information on the climate history of the last 400,000 to 4 million years in this region, which has been subject to little research up to now, though it is important for climate development. Scientists from six nations, including New Zealand, will jointly examine the evolution of the Antarctic Circumpolar Current, the spread of sea ice and its influence on variations in greenhouse gas concentrations as well as melting events in the West Antarctic ice sheet and their impact on global ocean circulation using state-of-the-art methods. Another objective is to determine climate-impacting interactions between the polar South Pacific, the tropical and northern polar regions during past cold and warm periods.

Such questions relevant to the climate are also the focus of a planned deep-sea drilling project within the framework of the Integrated Ocean Drilling Program (IODP) in the Antarctic Pacific. The two ongoing expedition phases will provide the database for selecting the IODP drilling sites. Researchers from all over the world want to look as far as 40 million years back into the geological past with the deep-sea sediments to be drilled in the future.

In addition to geologists and geophysicists, biologists, chemists, oceanographers and scientists of numerous other disciplines also make regular use of the research icebreaker for their studies. This is the 50th expedition with about 200 legs altogether and a good example of the multidisciplinary approach applied on the Polarstern, which has been sailing across the Arctic, Antarctic and oceans of the mid latitudes since 1982. It provides a platform for scientists of the Alfred Wegener Institute and their cooperation partners and contributes to unravelling the complex interrelationships in the Earth system. The primary objective of the research is to understand the driving forces and fluctuations in climate cycles.

The Alfred Wegener Institute conducts research in the Arctic, Antarctic and oceans of the high and mid latitudes. It coordinates polar research in Germany and provides major infrastructure to the international scientific community, such as the research icebreaker Polarstern and stations in the Arctic and Antarctic. The Alfred Wegener Institute is one of the sixteen research centres of the Helmholtz Association, the largest scientific organisation in Germany.

Margarete Pauls | idw
Further information:
http://www.awi.de/en/infrastructure/ships/polarstern/weekly_reports/
http://www.awi.de/en/infrastructure/ships/polarstern/technical_data/
http://www.awi.de/en/infrastructure/ships/polarstern/image_gallery/

More articles from Earth Sciences:

nachricht NASA finds newly formed tropical storm lan over open waters
17.10.2017 | NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center

nachricht The melting ice makes the sea around Greenland less saline
16.10.2017 | Aarhus University

All articles from Earth Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: Neutron star merger directly observed for the first time

University of Maryland researchers contribute to historic detection of gravitational waves and light created by event

On August 17, 2017, at 12:41:04 UTC, scientists made the first direct observation of a merger between two neutron stars--the dense, collapsed cores that remain...

Im Focus: Breaking: the first light from two neutron stars merging

Seven new papers describe the first-ever detection of light from a gravitational wave source. The event, caused by two neutron stars colliding and merging together, was dubbed GW170817 because it sent ripples through space-time that reached Earth on 2017 August 17. Around the world, hundreds of excited astronomers mobilized quickly and were able to observe the event using numerous telescopes, providing a wealth of new data.

Previous detections of gravitational waves have all involved the merger of two black holes, a feat that won the 2017 Nobel Prize in Physics earlier this month....

Im Focus: Smart sensors for efficient processes

Material defects in end products can quickly result in failures in many areas of industry, and have a massive impact on the safe use of their products. This is why, in the field of quality assurance, intelligent, nondestructive sensor systems play a key role. They allow testing components and parts in a rapid and cost-efficient manner without destroying the actual product or changing its surface. Experts from the Fraunhofer IZFP in Saarbrücken will be presenting two exhibits at the Blechexpo in Stuttgart from 7–10 November 2017 that allow fast, reliable, and automated characterization of materials and detection of defects (Hall 5, Booth 5306).

When quality testing uses time-consuming destructive test methods, it can result in enormous costs due to damaging or destroying the products. And given that...

Im Focus: Cold molecules on collision course

Using a new cooling technique MPQ scientists succeed at observing collisions in a dense beam of cold and slow dipolar molecules.

How do chemical reactions proceed at extremely low temperatures? The answer requires the investigation of molecular samples that are cold, dense, and slow at...

Im Focus: Shrinking the proton again!

Scientists from the Max Planck Institute of Quantum Optics, using high precision laser spectroscopy of atomic hydrogen, confirm the surprisingly small value of the proton radius determined from muonic hydrogen.

It was one of the breakthroughs of the year 2010: Laser spectroscopy of muonic hydrogen resulted in a value for the proton charge radius that was significantly...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

ASEAN Member States discuss the future role of renewable energy

17.10.2017 | Event News

World Health Summit 2017: International experts set the course for the future of Global Health

10.10.2017 | Event News

Climate Engineering Conference 2017 Opens in Berlin

10.10.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Osaka university researchers make the slipperiest surfaces adhesive

18.10.2017 | Materials Sciences

Space radiation won't stop NASA's human exploration

18.10.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

Los Alamos researchers and supercomputers help interpret the latest LIGO findings

18.10.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>