Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Highlight of the Polarstern Expedition

29.07.2010
Autonomous Underwater Vehicle of the Alfred Wegener Institute dives under the Arctic ice for the first time

The Alfred Wegener Institute for Polar and Marine Research in the Helmholtz Association for the first time sent its Autonomous Underwater Vehicle (AUV) on an under-ice mission at about 79° North. The four-metre-long, torpedo shaped underwater vehicle was deployed from the research icebreaker Polarstern under heavy pack ice. The vehicle was subsequently recovered by helicopter.

"We are one of the world's first working groups to have successfully carried out such an under-ice mission, a goal we have been working hard to achieve," says Dr. Thomas Soltwedel, the chief scientist of the expedition. "The samples and data obtained will shed a new light on phytoplankton production in the transition area between the permanently ice-covered Arctic Ocean and its ice-free marginal zone. Autonomous underwater vehicles are opening up new possibilities to investigate the ice-covered polar seas - areas that are of pivotal importance in climate research."

The underwater vehicle reaches a maximum depth of 3000 metres. It can travel a total distance of 70 kilometres at an average speed of five to six kilometres per hour. The planned course, desired depth and surfacing position are all entered into the AUV’s computer before deployment. The vehicle then carries out its mission independently, with no connection to the research vessel.

The autonomous submersible of the Alfred Wegener Institute was equipped with various measuring instruments, which continuously recorded and stored temperature and salinity data during the hour-long dive. A light sensor captured the photosynthetically active radiation in the surface layer of the ocean. A so-called fluorometer continuously recorded the distribution of micro-algae along the vehicle’s track. A newly developed sampling system collected 22 water samples at discrete time intervals, for later analysis.

The research vessel Polarstern is on its 25th Arctic expedition. The current cruise leg began in Longyearbyen (Spitsbergen) on the 30th June and will end in Reykjavik (Iceland) on the 29th July. Fifty scientists carried out long-term biological studies and oceanographic measurements for numerous national and international projects in the so-called HAUSGARTEN and in the Fram Strait. The HAUSGARTEN of the Alfred Wegener Institute is a long-term deep-sea observatory, which the scientists have set up to investigate the reactions of the marine Arctic ecosystem to global climate change.

The third leg, which is planned to carry out geoscience research in the northern Baffin Bay (Canada), begins in Reykjavik on the 31st July. Polarstern is expected back in Bremerhaven on the 10th October 2010.

Notes for Editors: Your contact person at the Alfred Wegener Institute is Margarete Pauls, Department of Communications and Media Relations (phone +49 (0) 471 4831-1180, e-mail: medien@awi.de. Please find printable images at http://www.awi.de.

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

More articles from Earth Sciences:

nachricht Heidelberg Researchers Study Unique Underwater Stalactites
24.11.2017 | Universität Heidelberg

nachricht Lightning, with a chance of antimatter
24.11.2017 | Kyoto 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: New proton record: Researchers measure magnetic moment with greatest possible precision

High-precision measurement of the g-factor eleven times more precise than before / Results indicate a strong similarity between protons and antiprotons

The magnetic moment of an individual proton is inconceivably small, but can still be quantified. The basis for undertaking this measurement was laid over ten...

Im Focus: Frictional Heat Powers Hydrothermal Activity on Enceladus

Computer simulation shows how the icy moon heats water in a porous rock core

Heat from the friction of rocks caused by tidal forces could be the “engine” for the hydrothermal activity on Saturn's moon Enceladus. This presupposes that...

Im Focus: Nanoparticles help with malaria diagnosis – new rapid test in development

The WHO reports an estimated 429,000 malaria deaths each year. The disease mostly affects tropical and subtropical regions and in particular the African continent. The Fraunhofer Institute for Silicate Research ISC teamed up with the Fraunhofer Institute for Molecular Biology and Applied Ecology IME and the Institute of Tropical Medicine at the University of Tübingen for a new test method to detect malaria parasites in blood. The idea of the research project “NanoFRET” is to develop a highly sensitive and reliable rapid diagnostic test so that patient treatment can begin as early as possible.

Malaria is caused by parasites transmitted by mosquito bite. The most dangerous form of malaria is malaria tropica. Left untreated, it is fatal in most cases....

Im Focus: A “cosmic snake” reveals the structure of remote galaxies

The formation of stars in distant galaxies is still largely unexplored. For the first time, astron-omers at the University of Geneva have now been able to closely observe a star system six billion light-years away. In doing so, they are confirming earlier simulations made by the University of Zurich. One special effect is made possible by the multiple reflections of images that run through the cosmos like a snake.

Today, astronomers have a pretty accurate idea of how stars were formed in the recent cosmic past. But do these laws also apply to older galaxies? For around a...

Im Focus: Visual intelligence is not the same as IQ

Just because someone is smart and well-motivated doesn't mean he or she can learn the visual skills needed to excel at tasks like matching fingerprints, interpreting medical X-rays, keeping track of aircraft on radar displays or forensic face matching.

That is the implication of a new study which shows for the first time that there is a broad range of differences in people's visual ability and that these...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Ecology Across Borders: International conference brings together 1,500 ecologists

15.11.2017 | Event News

Road into laboratory: Users discuss biaxial fatigue-testing for car and truck wheel

15.11.2017 | Event News

#Berlin5GWeek: The right network for Industry 4.0

30.10.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

IceCube experiment finds Earth can block high-energy particles from nuclear reactions

24.11.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

A 'half-hearted' solution to one-sided heart failure

24.11.2017 | Health and Medicine

Heidelberg Researchers Study Unique Underwater Stalactites

24.11.2017 | Earth Sciences

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>