Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

RV Polarstern returns from the Arctic after a five-month journey

16.10.2015

Experts from all marine research disciplines investigate the Arctic in transition

On Wednesday, 14 October 2015 the research icebreaker Polarstern from the Alfred-Wegener Institute, Helmholtz Centre for Polar and Marine Research (AWI), entered its homeport in Bremerhaven.


The German Research Vessel Polarstern

Photo: St. Arndt / Alfred Wegener Institute

Since mid-May, over 200 biologists, physicists, chemists, ice physicists, oceanographers and geoscientists have taken part in a total of four expeditions, with changes of personnel in Longyearbyen (Spitsbergen) and Tromsø (Norway). In the course of these five months, RV Polarstern covered over 16,000 nautical miles (more than 30,000 kilometres).

Climate change is proceeding especially rapidly and intensively in the Arctic. Over the past few decades, the mean temperature in the High North has risen twice as fast as the global average. In order to investigate how the environment is reacting to this change, researchers from the Alfred Wegener Institute make regular forays into the higher latitudes, where they maintain e.g. a deep-sea observatory – the AWI “Hausgarten” – and a long-term time series based on oceanographic buoys. Over the last few months, the scientists gathered data there and replaced a number of instruments.

This summer, the three- to eight-week expeditions took AWI researchers to the Fram Strait between Svalbard and Greenland, and to the central Arctic. On 7 September 2015 Polarstern reached the North Pole, which the ship had first visited together with the Swedish icebreaker Oden in 1991, then with the American icebreaker Healy in 2001, and on its own in 2011 and 2014. This year the ship happened upon the Healy – a chance meeting the researchers took advantage of by conducting comparative chemical tests, and through mutual visits to exchange notes.

To better understand the changes at work in the Arctic, the national and international teams that participated in the four expeditions included experts from all marine research disciplines. The teams investigated changes in temperature and freshwater, and in ice-ocean circulation; they also measured the thickness of the sea ice and analysed micropollutants and microscopic algae (phytoplankton) and animals (zooplankton) suspended in seawater, as well as various plants, animals and bacteria that live in and on the seafloor and in sea ice.

In addition to conventional measuring instruments like nets, water samplers, sensors and buoys, the expedition teams also employed remote-controlled and autonomous underwater robots. Measuring systems for determining sea-ice thickness and snow cover, meteorological parameters, and the temperature, salinity and bio-optical properties of the ocean were installed on ice floes, where they will transmit their data back to the researchers by satellite throughout the year as they drift through the Arctic. Further, a new multicopter took off on its maiden flight in the Arctic, navigating a preprogrammed course that brought it safely back to its developers. In the future, it will help to better monitor the drift of sea ice.

RV Polarstern is expected to arrive in Bremerhaven at high tide Wednesday afternoon. Over the next two weeks it will undergo routine maintenance and repairs in the Lloyd shipyard, before leaving port for the Antarctic season on 29 October 2015.

You can find further reading and a wealth of additional photos from the expeditions in the weekly reports (http://www.awi.de/nc/en/expedition/ships/polarstern/weekly-reports.html) and in the Polarstern blog (http://blogs.helmholtz.de/polarstern/).

Notes for Editors:
Printable images can be found in the online version of this press release at: http://www.awi.de/index.php?id=1242

Your contact partner at the Department of Communications and Media Relations is Dr Folke Mehrtens (Tel: ++49 471 4831-2007; e-mail: Folke.Mehrtens@awi.de).

Follow the Alfred Wegener Institute on Twitter (https://twitter.com/AWI_Media) and Facebook (http://www.facebook.com/AlfredWegenerInstitute).

The Alfred Wegener Institute, Helmholtz Centre for Polar and Marine Research (AWI) 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 Antarctica. The Alfred Wegener Institute is one of the 18 research centres of the Helmholtz Association, the largest scientific organisation in Germany.

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

More articles from Earth Sciences:

nachricht Live from the ocean research vessel Atlantis
13.12.2018 | National Science Foundation

nachricht NSF-supported scientists present new research results on Earth's critical zone
13.12.2018 | 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: Data use draining your battery? Tiny device to speed up memory while also saving power

The more objects we make "smart," from watches to entire buildings, the greater the need for these devices to store and retrieve massive amounts of data quickly without consuming too much power.

Millions of new memory cells could be part of a computer chip and provide that speed and energy savings, thanks to the discovery of a previously unobserved...

Im Focus: An energy-efficient way to stay warm: Sew high-tech heating patches to your clothes

Personal patches could reduce energy waste in buildings, Rutgers-led study says

What if, instead of turning up the thermostat, you could warm up with high-tech, flexible patches sewn into your clothes - while significantly reducing your...

Im Focus: Lethal combination: Drug cocktail turns off the juice to cancer cells

A widely used diabetes medication combined with an antihypertensive drug specifically inhibits tumor growth – this was discovered by researchers from the University of Basel’s Biozentrum two years ago. In a follow-up study, recently published in “Cell Reports”, the scientists report that this drug cocktail induces cancer cell death by switching off their energy supply.

The widely used anti-diabetes drug metformin not only reduces blood sugar but also has an anti-cancer effect. However, the metformin dose commonly used in the...

Im Focus: New Foldable Drone Flies through Narrow Holes in Rescue Missions

A research team from the University of Zurich has developed a new drone that can retract its propeller arms in flight and make itself small to fit through narrow gaps and holes. This is particularly useful when searching for victims of natural disasters.

Inspecting a damaged building after an earthquake or during a fire is exactly the kind of job that human rescuers would like drones to do for them. A flying...

Im Focus: Topological material switched off and on for the first time

Key advance for future topological transistors

Over the last decade, there has been much excitement about the discovery, recognised by the Nobel Prize in Physics only two years ago, that there are two types...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

ICTM Conference 2019: Digitization emerges as an engineering trend for turbomachinery construction

12.12.2018 | Event News

New Plastics Economy Investor Forum - Meeting Point for Innovations

10.12.2018 | Event News

EGU 2019 meeting: Media registration now open

06.12.2018 | Event News

 
Latest News

Data use draining your battery? Tiny device to speed up memory while also saving power

14.12.2018 | Power and Electrical Engineering

Tangled magnetic fields power cosmic particle accelerators

14.12.2018 | Physics and Astronomy

In search of missing worlds, Hubble finds a fast evaporating exoplanet

14.12.2018 | Physics and Astronomy

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>