Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Research vessel Polarstern embarks on its 27th Arctic expedition

14.06.2012
This Thursday, 14 June 2012, the research vessel Polarstern will leave Bremerhaven on course for the Arctic.

44 expedition participants from institutions from Germany, Belgium, USA and the United Kingdom will spend around one month at sea. Their main study area is the Fram Strait between Spitsbergen and Greenland where they will conduct long-term oceanographic measurements.

At the end of June the second part of the expedition will travel to the “AWI Hausgarten” for two weeks with a biological focus. In August the research icebreaker will then travel to the Central Arctic after which it is expected back in Bremerhaven at the beginning of October.

The Fram Strait is the only deep sea water connection between the Arctic Ocean and the Atlantic. How much water is exchanged between these two seas and what heat and salt transport is associated with this? How is the water in the Arctic Ocean altered which flows in the East to the North and in the West to the South? Which masses of water flow how quickly through the Fram Strait? To record these basic parameters, temperature, salinity and oxygen content are determined precisely with sensitive sensors.

“The aim of our research is to quantify the water masses and heat exchange between the North Polar Sea and the Northern Atlantic and circulation in the Fram Strait“, says Dr. Agnieszka Beszczynska-Möller. The oceanographer at the Alfred Wegener Institute for Polar and Marine Research in the Helmholtz Association will be leading this first part of the expedition. The measurements are an important puzzle piece for understanding the complex correlations between ocean, sea ice and atmosphere in the Arctic. Other research groups from the Alfred Wegener Institute also use the long-term data for their disciplines such as for models on sea ice development.

The Polar Regions play a decisive role in the global ocean circulation, thereby influencing the global climate. Warm, high saline water flows from the Atlantic to the North. By contrast, cold, low saline surface water flows from the Arctic Ocean to the North Atlantic and on to the South. Low saline, cold deep-sea water also flows from the North Polar Sea and feeds the so-called thermohaline circulation. The flows may alter as a result of global warming which is why the researchers have been observing this region for 15 years by accurately recording the conditions in the Fram Strait and the changes from on board the Polarstern.

In addition to this annual inventory in summer, the researchers measure the flow conditions and different environmental parameters also in their absence using so-called moorings: anchor stones are placed on the sea bed to which lines are attached which are held up several hundred to thousand metres with the assistance of floats. Sensors are attached at defined water depths, which record data throughout the entire year. Variations throughout the seasons can also be recorded accurately in this way and be considered in the overall analysis. This work is embedded in an international observation network. Sea gliders supplement the measurements; these are free floating vehicles, which determine their course in open water via satellites and are orientated by acoustic signals in the case of ice cover. They therefore supplement the stationary mooring assemblies.

The two final parts of the Polarstern expedition also address questions of long-term changes in the Arctic. To the west of Spitsbergen biologists under the lead of Dr. Thomas Soltwedel primarily investigate the marine environment in the deep sea. After a stopover in Norwegian Tromsö an international team under the lead of deep-sea researcher Prof. Dr. Antje Boetius will leave for the Central Arctic around the North Pole.

After its return to Bremerhaven in October 2012, Polarstern will be got ready for the forthcoming Antarctic expedition. At the end of October the ship will then set out for one and a half year’s in the South: for the fourth time in its history, Polarstern will also be travelling Antarctic waters during polar night. On the way to the Neumayer Station III, on 9 December 2012, the German research icebreaker will be celebrating the 30th anniversary of its commissioning.

The weekly reports of the expedition will appear soon at http://www.awi.de/en/infrastructure/ships/polarstern/weekly_reports/.

Further information on the oceanographic measurement devices is available at http://www.awi.de/en/research/research_divisions/climate_science/
observational_oceanography/instruments/gliders/.

Notes for Editors: Printable images are available at http://www.awi.de/en/news/press_releases/. Your contact partner in the Communications and Media Department of the Alfred Wegener Institute is Dr. Folke Mehrtens (phone: +49 (0)471 4831-2007; E-Mail: Folke.Mehrtens@awi.de).

The Alfred Wegener Institute conducts research in the Arctic and Antarctic and in the high and mid-latitude oceans. The Institute coordinates German polar research and provides important infrastructure such as the research icebreaker Polarstern and research stations in the Arctic and Antarctic to the national and international scientific world. The Alfred Wegener Institute is one of the 18 research centres of the Helmholtz Association, the largest scientific organisation in Germany.

Ralf Röchert | idw
Further information:
http://www.awi.de

More articles from Earth Sciences:

nachricht Six-decade-old space mystery solved with shoebox-sized satellite called a CubeSat
15.12.2017 | National Science Foundation

nachricht NSF-funded researchers find that ice sheet is dynamic and has repeatedly grown and shrunk
15.12.2017 | National Science Foundation

All articles from Earth Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: First-of-its-kind chemical oscillator offers new level of molecular control

DNA molecules that follow specific instructions could offer more precise molecular control of synthetic chemical systems, a discovery that opens the door for engineers to create molecular machines with new and complex behaviors.

Researchers have created chemical amplifiers and a chemical oscillator using a systematic method that has the potential to embed sophisticated circuit...

Im Focus: Long-lived storage of a photonic qubit for worldwide teleportation

MPQ scientists achieve long storage times for photonic quantum bits which break the lower bound for direct teleportation in a global quantum network.

Concerning the development of quantum memories for the realization of global quantum networks, scientists of the Quantum Dynamics Division led by Professor...

Im Focus: Electromagnetic water cloak eliminates drag and wake

Detailed calculations show water cloaks are feasible with today's technology

Researchers have developed a water cloaking concept based on electromagnetic forces that could eliminate an object's wake, greatly reducing its drag while...

Im Focus: Scientists channel graphene to understand filtration and ion transport into cells

Tiny pores at a cell's entryway act as miniature bouncers, letting in some electrically charged atoms--ions--but blocking others. Operating as exquisitely sensitive filters, these "ion channels" play a critical role in biological functions such as muscle contraction and the firing of brain cells.

To rapidly transport the right ions through the cell membrane, the tiny channels rely on a complex interplay between the ions and surrounding molecules,...

Im Focus: Towards data storage at the single molecule level

The miniaturization of the current technology of storage media is hindered by fundamental limits of quantum mechanics. A new approach consists in using so-called spin-crossover molecules as the smallest possible storage unit. Similar to normal hard drives, these special molecules can save information via their magnetic state. A research team from Kiel University has now managed to successfully place a new class of spin-crossover molecules onto a surface and to improve the molecule’s storage capacity. The storage density of conventional hard drives could therefore theoretically be increased by more than one hundred fold. The study has been published in the scientific journal Nano Letters.

Over the past few years, the building blocks of storage media have gotten ever smaller. But further miniaturization of the current technology is hindered by...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

See, understand and experience the work of the future

11.12.2017 | Event News

Innovative strategies to tackle parasitic worms

08.12.2017 | Event News

AKL’18: The opportunities and challenges of digitalization in the laser industry

07.12.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Engineers program tiny robots to move, think like insects

15.12.2017 | Power and Electrical Engineering

One in 5 materials chemistry papers may be wrong, study suggests

15.12.2017 | Materials Sciences

New antbird species discovered in Peru by LSU ornithologists

15.12.2017 | Life Sciences

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>