Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

On their way into the Arctic and to the Orkney Islands

11.06.2008
Research Vessels Polarstern and Heincke start their expeditions.

Research icebreaker Polarstern of the Alfred Wegener Institute for Polar and Marine Research of the Helmholtz Association puts out to the Arctic on June 12th after three weeks in the dockyards.

The expedition of four months length is divided into three stages and leads via the Greenland Sea to Spitsbergen and up to the Fram Strait. The journey through the Northwest Passage up to the East Siberian Sea is planned as the third stage. Two days earlier, on June 10th, the research vessel Heincke leaves the island of Helgoland towards the Orkney Islands. Research is centred on marine biological investigations in the North Atlantic.

The emphasis of research of the first part of Polarstern's journey are oceanographic readings in the Greenland Sea. The assignments within the framework of the International Polar Year are directed by Dr. Gereon Budéus, Oceanographer at the Alfred Wegener Institute. They shall give new insights into the effects of climate change. He and his colleagues have developed special moorings which submerge and resurface once a day from 100 meters water depth to the ground in 3700 meters.

They measure temperature and salt content of the water, the most important values to identify bodies of water and patterns of currents. These moorings have been working for several years and will now be recovered to read the recorded data, and bring out new moorings. Investigations so far show that a special supply of fresh water has changed the structure of the body of water in the basin of the Greenland Sea. This observation is unique worldwide and the effects of these changes are to be investigated.

Another project is concerned with the movement of the Greenlandic mainland. Scientists from the University of Dresden measure to which extent the land raises while the weight bearing down on it decreases due to the melting of its glaciers. They employ high-resolution GPS receiver which are deployed during the first and second stage of the journey on Greenland to detect movement rates of the earth crust. To ensure that they can measure sufficiently, the receivers are only secured during the second stage of the journey.

The second stage of the journey from July 4th to August 10th leads from Spitsbergen to Reykjavik (Iceland), under the direction of Prof. Dr. Gerhard Kattner, chemist at the Alfred Wegener Institute. Here, everything revolves around the influence of climate change on the polar regions, too. The production of methane, a climate-relevant atmospheric gas, is determined. Scientists clarify the origin of the bodies of water near Greenland by means of analysing nutrient salt concentrations. Biological and oceanographic long-term studies are continued at the so-called "AWI-Hausgarten", which regularly help to understand how living beings react to a shifting ice edge since 1999.

If ice conditions allow, the third and last stage of the voyage leads, beginning August 21st, from Reykjavik through the Northwest Passage into the East Siberian Sea. Geoscientists around cruise leader Dr. Wilfried Jokat want to examine the tectonic development at the interface of the undersea ridge "Mendeleev Ridge" with the continental shelf of the East Siberian Shelf. Furthermore, the researchers want to determine temperature conditions after the last ice age, or even in the Mesozoic, by analysing sediments lying on the seabed. The Polarstern returns via the Northeast Passage to its port of registry, Bremerhaven, where it is expected back on October 12th.

Research vessel Heincke will set off from Helgoland to the Orkney Islands in the North Atlantic on June 10th to conduct marine biological examinations. The twelve scientists on board will focus on cnidaria, a well-known example of which are jellyfish. Cnideria possess, for defensive purposes and for ingestion of food, so-called cnidoblasts, which inject highly efficient toxins into their prey by means of a highly pressurised small harpoon. The toxins of some species can cause allergic dermal reactions, in some cases even death through paralysis of the breathing apparatus, in humans. The origin of the chemical composition of these toxins will be investigated in collaboration with the GKSS Research Centre in Geesthacht. Furthermore, immigrant species from warmer habitats are at the centre of the researchers' attention. Heincke is expected back in Helgoland on July 3rd.

The Alfred Wegener Institute for Polar and Marine Research (AWI) conducts research in the Arctic, Antarctic and in oceans of mid and high latitudes. The AWI coordinates polar research in Germany, and provides important infrastructure, such as the research icebreaker Polarstern and stations in the Arctic and Antarctic, for international science organisations. The AWI is one of 15 research centres of the 'Helmholtz-Gemeinschaft' (Helmholtz Association), the largest scientific organisation in Germany.

In the International Polar Year 2007/2008 more than 50,000 scientists from over 60 countries investigate the polar regions. It is their aim to investigate the role of the Arctic and the Antarctic with regard to the Earth's climate and ecosystems. Germany has very good preconditions for research in the Arctic and in the Antarctic, having the worldwide most efficient research icebreaker Polarstern, several polar stations and two polar aircraft. In particular, Germany can contribute to the key issues: polar regions and climate change, shifting continents, venture into unknown regions, and development of innovative technologies.

Margarete Pauls | idw
Further information:
http://www.awi.de/
http://www.awi.de/en/discover/expedition_reports/
http://www.awi.de/en/news/press_releases/

More articles from Earth Sciences:

nachricht Predicting unpredictability: Information theory offers new way to read ice cores
07.12.2016 | Santa Fe Institute

nachricht Sea ice hit record lows in November
07.12.2016 | University of Colorado at Boulder

All articles from Earth Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: Electron highway inside crystal

Physicists of the University of Würzburg have made an astonishing discovery in a specific type of topological insulators. The effect is due to the structure of the materials used. The researchers have now published their work in the journal Science.

Topological insulators are currently the hot topic in physics according to the newspaper Neue Zürcher Zeitung. Only a few weeks ago, their importance was...

Im Focus: Significantly more productivity in USP lasers

In recent years, lasers with ultrashort pulses (USP) down to the femtosecond range have become established on an industrial scale. They could advance some applications with the much-lauded “cold ablation” – if that meant they would then achieve more throughput. A new generation of process engineering that will address this issue in particular will be discussed at the “4th UKP Workshop – Ultrafast Laser Technology” in April 2017.

Even back in the 1990s, scientists were comparing materials processing with nanosecond, picosecond and femtosesecond pulses. The result was surprising:...

Im Focus: Shape matters when light meets atom

Mapping the interaction of a single atom with a single photon may inform design of quantum devices

Have you ever wondered how you see the world? Vision is about photons of light, which are packets of energy, interacting with the atoms or molecules in what...

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...

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

Researchers identify potentially druggable mutant p53 proteins that promote cancer growth

09.12.2016 | Life Sciences

Scientists produce a new roadmap for guiding development & conservation in the Amazon

09.12.2016 | Ecology, The Environment and Conservation

Satellites, airport visibility readings shed light on troops' exposure to air pollution

09.12.2016 | Health and Medicine

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>