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 Upwards with the “bubble shuttle”: How sea floor microbes get involved with methane reduction in the water column
27.05.2020 | Leibniz-Institut für Ostseeforschung Warnemünde

nachricht An international team including scientists from MARUM discovered ongoing and future tropical diversity decline
26.05.2020 | MARUM - Zentrum für Marine Umweltwissenschaften an der Universität Bremen

All articles from Earth Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: Biotechnology: Triggered by light, a novel way to switch on an enzyme

In living cells, enzymes drive biochemical metabolic processes enabling reactions to take place efficiently. It is this very ability which allows them to be used as catalysts in biotechnology, for example to create chemical products such as pharmaceutics. Researchers now identified an enzyme that, when illuminated with blue light, becomes catalytically active and initiates a reaction that was previously unknown in enzymatics. The study was published in "Nature Communications".

Enzymes: they are the central drivers for biochemical metabolic processes in every living cell, enabling reactions to take place efficiently. It is this very...

Im Focus: New double-contrast technique picks up small tumors on MRI

Early detection of tumors is extremely important in treating cancer. A new technique developed by researchers at the University of California, Davis offers a significant advance in using magnetic resonance imaging to pick out even very small tumors from normal tissue. The work is published May 25 in the journal Nature Nanotechnology.

researchers at the University of California, Davis offers a significant advance in using magnetic resonance imaging to pick out even very small tumors from...

Im Focus: I-call - When microimplants communicate with each other / Innovation driver digitization - "Smart Health“

Microelectronics as a key technology enables numerous innovations in the field of intelligent medical technology. The Fraunhofer Institute for Biomedical Engineering IBMT coordinates the BMBF cooperative project "I-call" realizing the first electronic system for ultrasound-based, safe and interference-resistant data transmission between implants in the human body.

When microelectronic systems are used for medical applications, they have to meet high requirements in terms of biocompatibility, reliability, energy...

Im Focus: When predictions of theoretical chemists become reality

Thomas Heine, Professor of Theoretical Chemistry at TU Dresden, together with his team, first predicted a topological 2D polymer in 2019. Only one year later, an international team led by Italian researchers was able to synthesize these materials and experimentally prove their topological properties. For the renowned journal Nature Materials, this was the occasion to invite Thomas Heine to a News and Views article, which was published this week. Under the title "Making 2D Topological Polymers a reality" Prof. Heine describes how his theory became a reality.

Ultrathin materials are extremely interesting as building blocks for next generation nano electronic devices, as it is much easier to make circuits and other...

Im Focus: Rolling into the deep

Scientists took a leukocyte as the blueprint and developed a microrobot that has the size, shape and moving capabilities of a white blood cell. Simulating a blood vessel in a laboratory setting, they succeeded in magnetically navigating the ball-shaped microroller through this dynamic and dense environment. The drug-delivery vehicle withstood the simulated blood flow, pushing the developments in targeted drug delivery a step further: inside the body, there is no better access route to all tissues and organs than the circulatory system. A robot that could actually travel through this finely woven web would revolutionize the minimally-invasive treatment of illnesses.

A team of scientists from the Max Planck Institute for Intelligent Systems (MPI-IS) in Stuttgart invented a tiny microrobot that resembles a white blood cell...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

Dresden Nexus Conference 2020: Same Time, Virtual Format, Registration Opened

19.05.2020 | Event News

Aachen Machine Tool Colloquium AWK'21 will take place on June 10 and 11, 2021

07.04.2020 | Event News

International Coral Reef Symposium in Bremen Postponed by a Year

06.04.2020 | Event News

 
Latest News

New 5G switch provides 50 times more energy efficiency than currently exists

27.05.2020 | Information Technology

Return of the Blob: Surprise link found to edge turbulence in fusion plasma

27.05.2020 | Physics and Astronomy

Upwards with the “bubble shuttle”: How sea floor microbes get involved with methane reduction in the water column

27.05.2020 | Earth Sciences

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>