Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Research aircraft Polar 5 returned from spring measurements in the high Arctic

16.05.2011
The research aircraft Polar 5 of the Alfred Wegener Institute for Polar and Marine Research in the Helmholtz Association returned to Bremerhaven from a six-week expedition in the high Arctic on May 6. Joint flights with aircraft of the European and American space agencies (ESA and NASA) were a novelty in sea ice research.

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
Further information:
http://www.awi.de

Further reports about: Arctic CryoSat-2 ESA Marine science NASA Polar Day ice thickness polar research sea ice trace gases

More articles from Earth Sciences:

nachricht Sediment from Himalayas may have made 2004 Indian Ocean earthquake more severe
26.05.2017 | Oregon State University

nachricht Devils Hole: Ancient Traces of Climate History
24.05.2017 | Universität Innsbruck

All articles from Earth Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: Can the immune system be boosted against Staphylococcus aureus by delivery of messenger RNA?

Staphylococcus aureus is a feared pathogen (MRSA, multi-resistant S. aureus) due to frequent resistances against many antibiotics, especially in hospital infections. Researchers at the Paul-Ehrlich-Institut have identified immunological processes that prevent a successful immune response directed against the pathogenic agent. The delivery of bacterial proteins with RNA adjuvant or messenger RNA (mRNA) into immune cells allows the re-direction of the immune response towards an active defense against S. aureus. This could be of significant importance for the development of an effective vaccine. PLOS Pathogens has published these research results online on 25 May 2017.

Staphylococcus aureus (S. aureus) is a bacterium that colonizes by far more than half of the skin and the mucosa of adults, usually without causing infections....

Im Focus: A quantum walk of photons

Physicists from the University of Würzburg are capable of generating identical looking single light particles at the push of a button. Two new studies now demonstrate the potential this method holds.

The quantum computer has fuelled the imagination of scientists for decades: It is based on fundamentally different phenomena than a conventional computer....

Im Focus: Turmoil in sluggish electrons’ existence

An international team of physicists has monitored the scattering behaviour of electrons in a non-conducting material in real-time. Their insights could be beneficial for radiotherapy.

We can refer to electrons in non-conducting materials as ‘sluggish’. Typically, they remain fixed in a location, deep inside an atomic composite. It is hence...

Im Focus: Wafer-thin Magnetic Materials Developed for Future Quantum Technologies

Two-dimensional magnetic structures are regarded as a promising material for new types of data storage, since the magnetic properties of individual molecular building blocks can be investigated and modified. For the first time, researchers have now produced a wafer-thin ferrimagnet, in which molecules with different magnetic centers arrange themselves on a gold surface to form a checkerboard pattern. Scientists at the Swiss Nanoscience Institute at the University of Basel and the Paul Scherrer Institute published their findings in the journal Nature Communications.

Ferrimagnets are composed of two centers which are magnetized at different strengths and point in opposing directions. Two-dimensional, quasi-flat ferrimagnets...

Im Focus: World's thinnest hologram paves path to new 3-D world

Nano-hologram paves way for integration of 3-D holography into everyday electronics

An Australian-Chinese research team has created the world's thinnest hologram, paving the way towards the integration of 3D holography into everyday...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Marine Conservation: IASS Contributes to UN Ocean Conference in New York on 5-9 June

24.05.2017 | Event News

AWK Aachen Machine Tool Colloquium 2017: Internet of Production for Agile Enterprises

23.05.2017 | Event News

Dortmund MST Conference presents Individualized Healthcare Solutions with micro and nanotechnology

22.05.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

How herpesviruses win the footrace against the immune system

26.05.2017 | Life Sciences

Water forms 'spine of hydration' around DNA, group finds

26.05.2017 | Life Sciences

First Juno science results supported by University of Leicester's Jupiter 'forecast'

26.05.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>