On June 18, 2016, a research team under the lead of the Leibniz Institute for Baltic Sea Research Warnemünde (IOW) set out from Rostock port aboard the research vessel ELISABETH MANN BORGESE for a 9-day cruise into a sea area south of Bornholm island. The expedition focuses on the oceanographic analysis of eddy structures in the surface layer of the Baltic Sea and their impact on marine currents as well as microorganisms. IOW’s expedition contributes to the project “Clockwork Ocean” of the Helmholtz-Zentrum Geesthacht – Centre for Materials and Coastal Research (HZG), which for the first time employs a manned zeppelin that cooperates with research vessels for the study of marine eddies.
Marine currents consist of a great number of eddies that vary in dimension from a few millimetres to several hundred kilometres. Even the smallest of them can influence huge ocean currents like the Gulf Stream along a causal chain and thereby can noticeably impact our climate. Details of the underlying mechanisms, however, are only poorly understood. The current expedition of the ELISABETH MANN BORGESE aims at contributing to our understanding of ocean eddies in general and their role as climate impact factors in particular.
Participates in the big hunt for tiny turbulences on the Baltic Sea: the IOW research vessel ELISABETH MANN BORGESE
IOW / S. Kube
“The Baltic Sea is an ideal research area, because it is much easier to study these processes in great detail in an inland sea than under the harsh conditions of the open ocean,” explains IOW physicist and cruise chief scientist Lars Umlauf, who coordinates the expedition’s international 12-person research team.
Together with HZG colleagues, the IOW team focuses on eddy structures in the sea’s surface layer. There, the eddies are in constant contact with the atmosphere. This is why it is presumed that they have a significant influence on the thermal exchange between the atmosphere and the ocean and on how much of the greenhouse gas CO2 the latter can absorb.
Therefore, the researchers will analyse the structure of the water column in the top 30 to 40 metres very thoroughly by measuring standard parameters such as temperature and salinity as well as by employing specialized probes that register tiny turbulences in the size range of millimetres and centimetres. These probes are mounted on two ocean gliders, which cruise autonomously through the water like underwater sailplanes, and on a measuring platform that is attached to a mooring on the seafloor and ascends and descends through the water column at predefined intervals.
The collected data will be used for the development of models, which will allow for a better understanding of mixing processes in the water and exchange processes between the atmosphere and the sea.
“For us, the expedition is a kick-off for our work within the collaborative research center ‘Energy Transfers in Atmosphere and Ocean’, which is funded by the German Research Association (DFG) with 9 million Euros in total. It officially starts on July 1 and is intended to ultimately improve the predictive accuracy of our climate models,” says so Lars Umlauf.
Scientists from the Alfred-Wegener-Institute, Helmholtz Centre for Polar and Marine Research (AWI), who also participate in the current expedition of the ELISABETH MANN BORGESE, will take water samples to analyse by means of molecular biological methods, whether the eddies provide a suitable habitat for certain microorganisms.
IOW’s research cruise is integrated into the extensive measuring campaign “Clockwork Ocean”, which takes place simultaneously and is coordinated by the HZG. As a premiere in marine research, a manned zeppelin is used to constantly provide highly precise infrared camera aerial photos of surface eddies to the scientists on board of the ELISABETH MANN BORGESE and several other, smaller research vessels. Therefore, smooth team work between the various working groups will be as crucial to the expedition’s success as the employed technology: “For us, HZG’s big ‘Clockwork Ocean’ initiative is very important. The zeppelin will help us to quickly identify and reach interesting eddy structures within the research area. In turn, the zeppelin’s infrared measurements, which only analyse the top millimetres of the water column, are very well supplemented by our measurements which cover the whole depth of the surface layer. By pooling their resources, all participating institutions have gained a lot more than what they would have achieved on their own,” Lars Umlauf concludes.
Dr. Lars Umlauf | email@example.com
*Further information on the HZG project “Clockwork Ocean”:
*Press and Public Relations at IOW:
Dr. Kristin Beck | Phone: +49 (0)381 – 5197 135 | firstname.lastname@example.org
Dr. Barbara Hentzsch | Phone: +49 (0)381 – 5197 102 | email@example.com
The IOW is a member of the Leibniz Association with currently 88 research institutes and scientific infrastructure facilities. The focus of the Leibniz Institutes ranges from natural, engineering and environmental sciences to economic, social and space sciences as well as to the humanities. The institutes are jointly financed at the state and national levels. The Leibniz Institutes employ a total of 18.100 people, of whom 9.200 are scientists. The total budget of the institutes is 1.6 billion Euros. (http://www.leibniz-association.eu)
Dr. Kristin Beck | idw - Informationsdienst Wissenschaft
Global study of world's beaches shows threat to protected areas
19.07.2018 | NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center
NSF-supported researchers to present new results on hurricanes and other extreme events
19.07.2018 | National Science Foundation
A new manufacturing technique uses a process similar to newspaper printing to form smoother and more flexible metals for making ultrafast electronic devices.
The low-cost process, developed by Purdue University researchers, combines tools already used in industry for manufacturing metals on a large scale, but uses...
For the first time ever, scientists have determined the cosmic origin of highest-energy neutrinos. A research group led by IceCube scientist Elisa Resconi, spokesperson of the Collaborative Research Center SFB1258 at the Technical University of Munich (TUM), provides an important piece of evidence that the particles detected by the IceCube neutrino telescope at the South Pole originate from a galaxy four billion light-years away from Earth.
To rule out other origins with certainty, the team led by neutrino physicist Elisa Resconi from the Technical University of Munich and multi-wavelength...
For the first time a team of researchers have discovered two different phases of magnetic skyrmions in a single material. Physicists of the Technical Universities of Munich and Dresden and the University of Cologne can now better study and understand the properties of these magnetic structures, which are important for both basic research and applications.
Whirlpools are an everyday experience in a bath tub: When the water is drained a circular vortex is formed. Typically, such whirls are rather stable. Similar...
Physicists working with Roland Wester at the University of Innsbruck have investigated if and how chemical reactions can be influenced by targeted vibrational excitation of the reactants. They were able to demonstrate that excitation with a laser beam does not affect the efficiency of a chemical exchange reaction and that the excited molecular group acts only as a spectator in the reaction.
A frequently used reaction in organic chemistry is nucleophilic substitution. It plays, for example, an important role in in the synthesis of new chemical...
Optical spectroscopy allows investigating the energy structure and dynamic properties of complex quantum systems. Researchers from the University of Würzburg present two new approaches of coherent two-dimensional spectroscopy.
"Put an excitation into the system and observe how it evolves." According to physicist Professor Tobias Brixner, this is the credo of optical spectroscopy....
13.07.2018 | Event News
12.07.2018 | Event News
03.07.2018 | Event News
20.07.2018 | Power and Electrical Engineering
20.07.2018 | Information Technology
20.07.2018 | Materials Sciences