Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Research vessel Polarstern ends 25th Arctic expedition

13.10.2010
Successful research in marine regions between Spitsbergen, Greenland and Canada

The research vessel Polarstern returned to Bremerhaven from a four-month expedition on Saturday, 9 October. On its 25th mission in the Arctic the ship covered a total of around 16,620 nautical miles (corresponding to about 30,780 kilometres). The focus of the three legs was on oceanographic, biological and geoscientific studies. Over 120 scientists and technicians from institutes in six nations took part in the expedition.

The Polarstern launched its journey from Bremerhaven on 10 June, heading for the Greenland Sea. This is an important area for the formation of deep water that thus ensures thorough mixing of the ocean and drives global marine currents. The crew under chief scientist Dr. Gereon Budéus from the Alfred Wegener Institute for Polar and Marine Research in the Helmholtz Association picked up instruments that were installed 3.7 kilometres deep in the central Greenland Sea. The measuring devices at these moorings recorded the temperature and salinity of the water for more than a year. “This hydrographic work forms a major piece of the puzzle with regard to our long-term series of tests over a period of ten years, which are indispensable for climate-related research,” explains Budéus.

After a brief change in staff in Longyearbyen (Spitsbergen) the vessel headed to the Fram Strait, the marine region between Spitzbergen and Greenland, and to the so-called HAUSGARTEN, a deep-sea long-term observatory on the continental slope west of Spitsbergen run by the Alfred Wegener Institute for over ten years now. There chief scientist Dr. Thomas Soltwedel and his team documented how changing climate conditions influence the marine Arctic ecosystem. Biologists and oceanographers examined over 160 stations altogether, both here and in the expedition’s second area of study, a hydrographic transect across the Fram Strait. A chain of moorings across the Fram Strait that has been monitoring the exchange between the North Atlantic and the Arctic Ocean for 15 years was replaced so that the changes in temperature and salinity can continue to be followed next year. A highlight of the second leg was the first under-ice mission for the autonomous underwater vehicle (AUV) of the AWI deep-sea group. The unmanned AUV is equipped with various sensor systems and sampling devices. It supplies valuable information on physical, chemical and biological parameters in the ecologically important transition zone between the ice-covered ocean and its ice-free margins.

The third leg focused on geoscientific topics. Due to an internal Canadian conflict involving the procedure for research approval, the work had to be restricted to Greenland waters. The Polarstern sailed north beyond the 80th degree of latitude for this purpose. The team under chief scientist Dr. Volkmar Damm from the Federal Institute for Geosciences and Natural Resources was able to research areas in the Nares Strait, in which the available database has been very fragmentary up to now due to sea ice conditions. “The currently available results show the Greenland portion of Baffin Bay to be a typical passive continental margin with perturbations towards the sea and deep basin structures with thick sediment strata,” reports Damm. The geophysicists reveal new findings on the structures of the deeper subsoil of Baffin Bay and the characteristics of the sediments and their content of microbial communities. On this basis, researchers can better reconstruct the geological past of Baffin Bay and the deposition history of the sediments in this Arctic marginal sea. The results are important, among other things, for an understanding of palaeological changes and the microbial decomposition of organic material under polar conditions. For Captain Uwe Pahl sailing through Nares Strait and Smith Sound was a highlight of the expedition. “The relatively narrow strait between northeast Canada and Greenland’s westernmost point requires concentrated navigation to use all scientific equipment securely.”

Even though the scientific questions and thus the technical requirements of the three legs varied greatly, all chief scientists agreed on one point: the working conditions onboard Polarstern are outstanding because of the optimal cooperation between the crew and scientists.

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 Antarctic. The Alfred Wegener Institute is one of the sixteen research centres of the Helmholtz Association, the largest scientific organisation in Germany.

Margarete Pauls | idw
Further information:
http://www.awi.de

More articles from Earth Sciences:

nachricht A promising target in the quest for a 1-million-year-old Antarctic ice core
24.05.2018 | University of Washington

nachricht Tropical Peat Swamps: Restoration of Endangered Carbon Reservoirs
24.05.2018 | Leibniz-Zentrum für Marine Tropenforschung (ZMT)

All articles from Earth Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: Powerful IT security for the car of the future – research alliance develops new approaches

The more electronics steer, accelerate and brake cars, the more important it is to protect them against cyber-attacks. That is why 15 partners from industry and academia will work together over the next three years on new approaches to IT security in self-driving cars. The joint project goes by the name Security For Connected, Autonomous Cars (SecForCARs) and has funding of €7.2 million from the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research. Infineon is leading the project.

Vehicles already offer diverse communication interfaces and more and more automated functions, such as distance and lane-keeping assist systems. At the same...

Im Focus: Molecular switch will facilitate the development of pioneering electro-optical devices

A research team led by physicists at the Technical University of Munich (TUM) has developed molecular nanoswitches that can be toggled between two structurally different states using an applied voltage. They can serve as the basis for a pioneering class of devices that could replace silicon-based components with organic molecules.

The development of new electronic technologies drives the incessant reduction of functional component sizes. In the context of an international collaborative...

Im Focus: LZH showcases laser material processing of tomorrow at the LASYS 2018

At the LASYS 2018, from June 5th to 7th, the Laser Zentrum Hannover e.V. (LZH) will be showcasing processes for the laser material processing of tomorrow in hall 4 at stand 4E75. With blown bomb shells the LZH will present first results of a research project on civil security.

At this year's LASYS, the LZH will exhibit light-based processes such as cutting, welding, ablation and structuring as well as additive manufacturing for...

Im Focus: Self-illuminating pixels for a new display generation

There are videos on the internet that can make one marvel at technology. For example, a smartphone is casually bent around the arm or a thin-film display is rolled in all directions and with almost every diameter. From the user's point of view, this looks fantastic. From a professional point of view, however, the question arises: Is that already possible?

At Display Week 2018, scientists from the Fraunhofer Institute for Applied Polymer Research IAP will be demonstrating today’s technological possibilities and...

Im Focus: Explanation for puzzling quantum oscillations has been found

So-called quantum many-body scars allow quantum systems to stay out of equilibrium much longer, explaining experiment | Study published in Nature Physics

Recently, researchers from Harvard and MIT succeeded in trapping a record 53 atoms and individually controlling their quantum state, realizing what is called a...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

In focus: Climate adapted plants

25.05.2018 | Event News

Save the date: Forum European Neuroscience – 07-11 July 2018 in Berlin, Germany

02.05.2018 | Event News

Invitation to the upcoming "Current Topics in Bioinformatics: Big Data in Genomics and Medicine"

13.04.2018 | Event News

 
Latest News

In focus: Climate adapted plants

25.05.2018 | Event News

Flow probes from the 3D printer

25.05.2018 | Machine Engineering

Less is more? Gene switch for healthy aging found

25.05.2018 | Life Sciences

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>