Over 200 scientists and technicians from research institutions in 14 countries will take part in the five expedition legs.
RV Polarstern in Antartica.
Photo: Simon and Simon / Alfred Wegener Institute
They will examine a wide variety of topics: oceanography and marine chemistry, atmospheric research and the biology of bacteria, tiny algae and animals all the way to crustaceans, fish and whales. Moreover, the Polarstern will supply Neumayer Station III in Antarctica with material, provisions and personnel.
The first leg of the expedition will take the vessel from Bremerhaven to Cape Town. On the way from the temperate latitudes through the subtropics and tropics researchers will investigate the material flows between ocean and atmosphere in the various climate zones. They want to find out more about how, for example, varying air humidity, cloud cover and temperature influence one another and how much radiation energy reaches the Earth’s and the ocean surface. The incident radiation energy is the driving force for most physical processes in the Earth’s climate system. On this leg, furthermore, technical scientific equipment (hydroacoustic, IT and communication systems, etc.) will be tried out, calibrated and tested. This is a major prerequisite for meeting the high demands placed on the measured data gained in this way.
Whales are a subject of study for the Oceanic Acoustics team at the Alfred Wegener Institute for Polar and Marine Research in the Helmholtz Association. Last year researchers for the first time put out a recorder that records whale songs around 700 kilometres off the coast of Namibia. Since visual observations of whales in the enormous oceans are rare, the bioacoustics experts wish to collect information on which species occur when in areas only presumed to be the mating grounds of blue and fin whales up to now. Since the behaviour-specific calls, such as during mating, are known, the researchers can also tell whether the whales are just passing through or really reproducing there. In this way they want to make a major contribution to learning more about the seasonal occurrence and reproduction behaviour of these baleen whales. This first leg of the expedition ends on 1 December 2011 in Cape Town, South Africa.
From there Polarstern will then head for Neumayer Station III in the Antarctic for supply and disposal purposes and then return to Cape Town from there. The following legs of the expedition in the Southern Ocean as of the beginning of 2012 will involve studies on the global carbon cycle. Interdisciplinary research teams will examine the physical, chemical and biological processes that drive the carbon pumps in the Southern Ocean and particularly in the numerous gyre systems there. Among other things, the focus will be on the role of microorganisms that play a significant role in carbon turnover. The investigations will also look at species diversity, distribution and frequency of animals and plants in the Antarctic deep sea. Additional calls at Punta Arenas (Chile) are planned before the Polarstern returns to its home port of Bremerhaven in May 2012.
The Alfred Wegener Institute conducts research in the Arctic, Antarctic and oceans of the high and middle 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 seventeen research centres of the Helmholtz Association, the largest scientific organisation in Germany.
Ralf Röchert | idw
Northern oceans pumped CO2 into the atmosphere
27.03.2017 | CAGE - Center for Arctic Gas Hydrate, Climate and Environment
Weather extremes: Humans likely influence giant airstreams
27.03.2017 | Potsdam-Institut für Klimafolgenforschung
Astronomers from Bonn and Tautenburg in Thuringia (Germany) used the 100-m radio telescope at Effelsberg to observe several galaxy clusters. At the edges of these large accumulations of dark matter, stellar systems (galaxies), hot gas, and charged particles, they found magnetic fields that are exceptionally ordered over distances of many million light years. This makes them the most extended magnetic fields in the universe known so far.
The results will be published on March 22 in the journal „Astronomy & Astrophysics“.
Galaxy clusters are the largest gravitationally bound structures in the universe. With a typical extent of about 10 million light years, i.e. 100 times the...
Researchers at the Goethe University Frankfurt, together with partners from the University of Tübingen in Germany and Queen Mary University as well as Francis Crick Institute from London (UK) have developed a novel technology to decipher the secret ubiquitin code.
Ubiquitin is a small protein that can be linked to other cellular proteins, thereby controlling and modulating their functions. The attachment occurs in many...
In the eternal search for next generation high-efficiency solar cells and LEDs, scientists at Los Alamos National Laboratory and their partners are creating...
Silicon nanosheets are thin, two-dimensional layers with exceptional optoelectronic properties very similar to those of graphene. Albeit, the nanosheets are less stable. Now researchers at the Technical University of Munich (TUM) have, for the first time ever, produced a composite material combining silicon nanosheets and a polymer that is both UV-resistant and easy to process. This brings the scientists a significant step closer to industrial applications like flexible displays and photosensors.
Silicon nanosheets are thin, two-dimensional layers with exceptional optoelectronic properties very similar to those of graphene. Albeit, the nanosheets are...
Enzymes behave differently in a test tube compared with the molecular scrum of a living cell. Chemists from the University of Basel have now been able to simulate these confined natural conditions in artificial vesicles for the first time. As reported in the academic journal Small, the results are offering better insight into the development of nanoreactors and artificial organelles.
Enzymes behave differently in a test tube compared with the molecular scrum of a living cell. Chemists from the University of Basel have now been able to...
20.03.2017 | Event News
14.03.2017 | Event News
07.03.2017 | Event News
27.03.2017 | Earth Sciences
27.03.2017 | Life Sciences
27.03.2017 | Life Sciences