Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:


Research plane Polar 5 on Arctic campaign

The research aircraft Polar 5 belongs to the Alfred Wegener Institute. It will start on Monday March 30th at 10 o'clock from the regional airport Bremerhaven on an Arctic measurement campaign which will last about four weeks.

Measurements of sea ice thickness and atmospheric variables in an area between Spitsbergen, Greenland, northern Canada and Alaska are at the centre of the project PAM-ARCMIP (Pan-Arctic Measurements and Arctic Climate Model Inter comparison Project).

Up to twenty German and international researchers will carry out investigations in those areas of the Arctic where no data are yet available. Six research institutes from Germany (Alfred Wegener Institute), Canada (Environment Canada, University of Alberta, York University), the USA (NOAA) and Italy (ISAC Bologna) are involved in the project.

The extent of Arctic sea ice has declined stronger than predicted by climate models. However, little is known about changes of its thickness. Sea ice is in constant movement and it can become thicker by deformation than by freezing. Therefore, not only the areal extent of the ice is an important variable in the Arctic climate system, but also its thickness.

"We hope to gain an appraisal of the whole Arctic ice volume for the first time ever in order to be able to compare the changes in the different regions", says Dr. Andreas Herber, physicist and in charge of the research aircrafts of the Alfred Wegener Institute. The operation of the research aircraft Polar 5 will allow for the first time to carry out large scale ice thickness measurements in Arctic key areas which could hitherto not be reached by the German research vessel Polarstern.

The joint sea ice team of the Alfred Wegener Institute for Polar and Marine Research in the Helmholtz Association and the University of Alberta are the only researchers worldwide who have carried out Arctic ice thickness measurements recently. Their results show a strong decrease of ice thickness in the central Arctic which was sporadically surveyed from RV Polarstern. However, nothing is known about changes in other regions.

This project breaks new ground in many ways. An ice thickness probe, the so-called EM-Bird, which is usually dragged below a helicopter, is now operated for the first time by a fixed-wing aircraft. The EM-Bird is towed under the hull of the aircraft by means of a winch for take-off and landing. For the surveys, the probe is towed on an 80 m long rope twenty metres above the ice surface. More extensive areas can now be investigated due to the longer range of the aircraft in comparison to a helicopter.

Further measurements of the vertical distribution of meteorological parameters like wind, temperature and humidity are carried out during the campaign by means of so-called drop probes sondes. The sondes are dropped from an altitude of five kilometres. "We will considerably improve regional Arctic climate models with our investigations", explains Prof. Dr. Klaus Dethloff, physicist at the research unit Potsdam and scientific head of the project at the Alfred Wegener Institute.

In total, 30 people from four nations - six research institutes and logistic institutions (like EAI Oshawa, Arctic Kingdom Toronto) from Germany, Canada, the USA and Italy - are involved in the project. The campaign ends April 27th in Oshawa, Canada, where Polar 5 will regularly be maintained and inspected. The logistically demanding campaign with residence in four neighbouring states of the Arctic is only possible due to the close international collaboration between the partners.

The Alfred Wegener Institute carries out research in the Arctic and Antarctic as well as in the high and mid latitude oceans. The institute coordinates German polar research and provides international science with important infrastructure, e.g. the research icebreaker Polarstern and research stations in the Arctic and Antarctic. The Alfred Wegener Institute is one of 15 research centres within the Helmholtz Association, Germany's largest scientific organization.

Margarete Pauls | idw
Further information:

More articles from Earth Sciences:

nachricht UCI and NASA document accelerated glacier melting in West Antarctica
26.10.2016 | University of California - Irvine

nachricht Ice shelf vibrations cause unusual waves in Antarctic atmosphere
25.10.2016 | American Geophysical Union

All articles from Earth Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: Etching Microstructures with Lasers

Ultrafast lasers have introduced new possibilities in engraving ultrafine structures, and scientists are now also investigating how to use them to etch microstructures into thin glass. There are possible applications in analytics (lab on a chip) and especially in electronics and the consumer sector, where great interest has been shown.

This new method was born of a surprising phenomenon: irradiating glass in a particular way with an ultrafast laser has the effect of making the glass up to a...

Im Focus: Light-driven atomic rotations excite magnetic waves

Terahertz excitation of selected crystal vibrations leads to an effective magnetic field that drives coherent spin motion

Controlling functional properties by light is one of the grand goals in modern condensed matter physics and materials science. A new study now demonstrates how...

Im Focus: New 3-D wiring technique brings scalable quantum computers closer to reality

Researchers from the Institute for Quantum Computing (IQC) at the University of Waterloo led the development of a new extensible wiring technique capable of controlling superconducting quantum bits, representing a significant step towards to the realization of a scalable quantum computer.

"The quantum socket is a wiring method that uses three-dimensional wires based on spring-loaded pins to address individual qubits," said Jeremy Béjanin, a PhD...

Im Focus: Scientists develop a semiconductor nanocomposite material that moves in response to light

In a paper in Scientific Reports, a research team at Worcester Polytechnic Institute describes a novel light-activated phenomenon that could become the basis for applications as diverse as microscopic robotic grippers and more efficient solar cells.

A research team at Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) has developed a revolutionary, light-activated semiconductor nanocomposite material that can be used...

Im Focus: Diamonds aren't forever: Sandia, Harvard team create first quantum computer bridge

By forcefully embedding two silicon atoms in a diamond matrix, Sandia researchers have demonstrated for the first time on a single chip all the components needed to create a quantum bridge to link quantum computers together.

"People have already built small quantum computers," says Sandia researcher Ryan Camacho. "Maybe the first useful one won't be a single giant quantum computer...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>



Event News

#IC2S2: When Social Science meets Computer Science - GESIS will host the IC2S2 conference 2017

14.10.2016 | Event News

Agricultural Trade Developments and Potentials in Central Asia and the South Caucasus

14.10.2016 | Event News

World Health Summit – Day Three: A Call to Action

12.10.2016 | Event News

Latest News

How nanoscience will improve our health and lives in the coming years

27.10.2016 | Materials Sciences

OU-led team discovers rare, newborn tri-star system using ALMA

27.10.2016 | Physics and Astronomy

'Neighbor maps' reveal the genome's 3-D shape

27.10.2016 | Life Sciences

More VideoLinks >>>