Simultaneous measurements with a large number of sensors on three planes underneath the CryoSat-2 satellite led to unique data records. Furthermore, the international team composed of 25 scientists and engineers collected data on trace gases, aerosols and meteorological parameters that will be evaluated at the research institutes involved in the coming months.
The route of the Polar 5 of the Alfred Wegener Institute for Polar and Marine Research in the Helmholtz Association took it from Barrow (Alaska) via Inuvik, Resolute Bay, Eureka, Alert (all in northern Canada) and Station Nord (Greenland) all the way to Longyearbyen on Spitsbergen. These sites were the base stations for the measurement flights to the uninhabited Arctic areas. The total flight time, including measurements and travel time, came to 130 hours. Temperatures below minus 30°C in some cases were a challenge for both team and material.
One of the key aspects of the expedition were large-scale sea ice thickness measurements in the inner Arctic, in which researchers of the Alfred Wegener Institute and the University of Alberta cooperated closely. For this purpose they used a four metre long electromagnetic ice thickness sensor, called EM Bird. The Polar 5 towed the sensor on an 80 metre long rope at a height of 15 metres above the ice surface for the surveys. A preliminary evaluation of the measurement results shows that one-year-old sea ice in the Beaufort Sea (north of Canada/Alaska) is about 20-30 centimetres thinner this year than in the two previous years. In 2009 the ice thickness was 1.7 metres on average, in 2010 1.6 metres and in 2011 around 1.4 metres. “I expect that this thin one-year-old sea ice will not survive the melting period in summer,” Dr. Stefan Hendricks assesses the situation. In several weeks his colleagues from the sea ice group at the Alfred Wegener Institute will present their model calculations for the sea ice minimum in 2011, which will also include the data now collected.
Joint flights with other polar research aircraft below the orbit of the ESA (European Space Agency) CryoSat-2 satellite marked the highlight of the sea ice thickness measurements. This satellite has been surveying the Arctic sea ice from an altitude of 700 kilometres since summer 2010. The coordinated measurement flights with ESA and NASA aircraft served the purpose of examining the accuracy of CryoSat-2 ice thickness measurements in spring.
Arctic aerosols, which play a role in the formation of clouds, among other things, were another key aspect. Aerosol distribution and the carbon content of the particles in the Arctic were mapped by means of several vertical and horizontal profiles at a low altitude of 60 metres and at a normal flight altitude of 3000 metres. The aircraft measurements were coordinated with the overflights of the CALIPSO satellite, which records global aerosol and cloud distribution data from space. Moreover, meteorological soundings in the central Arctic as well as measurements of trace gases, such as ozone, were carried out. They confirmed the measurements of 2009 that showed very low ozone concentrations over large sections of the Arctic Ocean covered by sea ice. By combining all trace gas measurements in connection with meteorological measurements, it will be possible to better understand the processes of ozone depletion in the air layers up to an altitude of approx. 15 kilometres (troposphere).
“Only through close international cooperation between all partners was it possible to successfully implement this logistically complex campaign with sites in four Arctic bordering states,” summarises Dr. Andres Herber, the leader of the expedition. The PAMARCMiP project (Polar Airborne Measurements and Arctic Regional Climate Model Simulation Project) has been running since 2009 and involves regular aircraft measurements in the Arctic. The institutions taking part were: the Alfred Wegener Institute, Fielax, Jadehochschule (Germany), Environment Canada, University of Alberta, York University (Canada), National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, NASA, University of Alaska Fairbanks, National Science Foundation (USA).
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 Antarctica. The Alfred Wegener Institute is one of the 17 research centres of the Helmholtz Association, the largest scientific organisation in Germany.
Margarete Pauls | idw
The Wadden Sea and the Elbe Studied with Zeppelin, Drones and Research Ships
19.09.2017 | Helmholtz-Zentrum Geesthacht - Zentrum für Material- und Küstenforschung
FotoQuest GO: Citizen science campaign targets land-use change in Austria
19.09.2017 | International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis (IIASA)
Whispering gallery mode (WGM) resonators are used to make tiny micro-lasers, sensors, switches, routers and other devices. These tiny structures rely on a...
Using ultrafast flashes of laser and x-ray radiation, scientists at the Max Planck Institute of Quantum Optics (Garching, Germany) took snapshots of the briefest electron motion inside a solid material to date. The electron motion lasted only 750 billionths of the billionth of a second before it fainted, setting a new record of human capability to capture ultrafast processes inside solids!
When x-rays shine onto solid materials or large molecules, an electron is pushed away from its original place near the nucleus of the atom, leaving a hole...
For the first time, physicists have successfully imaged spiral magnetic ordering in a multiferroic material. These materials are considered highly promising candidates for future data storage media. The researchers were able to prove their findings using unique quantum sensors that were developed at Basel University and that can analyze electromagnetic fields on the nanometer scale. The results – obtained by scientists from the University of Basel’s Department of Physics, the Swiss Nanoscience Institute, the University of Montpellier and several laboratories from University Paris-Saclay – were recently published in the journal Nature.
Multiferroics are materials that simultaneously react to electric and magnetic fields. These two properties are rarely found together, and their combined...
MBM ScienceBridge GmbH successfully negotiated a license agreement between University Medical Center Göttingen (UMG) and the biotech company Tissue Systems Holding GmbH about commercial use of a multi-well tissue plate for automated and reliable tissue engineering & drug testing.
MBM ScienceBridge GmbH successfully negotiated a license agreement between University Medical Center Göttingen (UMG) and the biotech company Tissue Systems...
Pathogenic bacteria are becoming resistant to common antibiotics to an ever increasing degree. One of the most difficult germs is Pseudomonas aeruginosa, a...
19.09.2017 | Event News
12.09.2017 | Event News
06.09.2017 | Event News
20.09.2017 | Life Sciences
20.09.2017 | Power and Electrical Engineering
20.09.2017 | Physics and Astronomy