Press Releases

Mooring

The end of the International Polar Year 2007/2008: Scientists from all over Germany draw a positive conclusion

27. February 2009
The International Polar Year 2007/2008 nears its end. Today, about 120 people celebrate two years of intense and internationally coordinated scientific campaigns in earth’s two Polar Regions in the Klimahaus Bremerhaven. During the German closing event of the International Polar Year 2007/2008, they did not only look back upon new insights and successful German contributions. The researchers from all over Germany emphasized the future importance of Polar research.
To press release: The end of the Internationale Polar Year 2007/2008...

Inauguration Neumayer-Station III

The Federal Minister of Education and Research inaugurates new German Antarctic station

February 20, 2009

The Federal Minister for Education and Research, Dr Annette Schavan, inaugurated Neumayer Station III today at noontime. The new German research facility thereby starts its scientific operation. It is located 6.5 km south of the old Neumayer Station on the Ekström ice shelf in Dronning Maud Land in the Antarctic. The station serves as a base for scientific observatories as well as logistic centre for inland expeditions and polar aircraft.

To press release: Federal Minister inaugurates new German Antarctic station


Neumayer Station III

Outer shell of the Neumayer Station III completely assembled

Bremerhaven, January 17, 2009

The new German research base Neumayer Station III can be seen in its final form for the very first time. A new milestone in the construction of the station is reached after the successful completion of the outer shell.

To press release: Outer shell of the Neumayer Station III completely assembled...

RV Polarstern

Research around the North Pole - RV Polarstern returns home after its expedition through the Northeast and Northwest Passages

17. October 2008

The German research vessel Polarstern has returned today to Bremerhaven from the Arctic Sea. It has cruised as the first research vessel ever both the Northeast and the Northwest Passages and thereby circled the North Pole.

To press release: Research around the North Pole

Sunburned algea

Even seaweeds get sunburned

It is red, it burns and itches: a sunburn on our skin. However, too much sun is not only bad for humans. Many plants react very sensitive to an exposure to ultraviolet radiation, too. Yet they are dependent on sunlight. With the help of pigments absorbing solar energy and light, plants produce their cellular components by means of photosynthesis. However, this has its limits: too much sun means an over-abundance of energy and thus the destruction of the sensitive pigments. The results are black spots, pale leaves and rotten parts.
To press release: Even seaweeds get sunburned

Arctic Landscape

RV Polarstern on its way to measurements in the East Siberian Sea

19. August 2008
German research vessel Polarstern, operated by the Alfred Wegener Institute for Polar and Marine Research in the Helmholtz Association, transits the Northwest Passage for the first time. Polarstern left the port of Reykjavik on August 12th, sailed around Greenland on a southern course and is located right now at the beginning of the Northwest Passage. Its destination is the East Siberian Sea where geoscientific measurements at the junction between the Mendeleev Ridge and the East Siberian Shelf are at the focus of the participants of this expedition.
To press release: RV Polarstern on its way to measurements in the East Siberian Sea

sediment cores

Abrupt climate changes during the last Ice Age – a phenomenon of extreme winters?

8. August 2008
Vast seasonal differences in climate history challenge modellers The severe climate oscillations in the North Atlantic area during the last glacial period were a phenomenon of extreme winters - the summers were only slightly affected. This is the result of the examinations of research teams from the Netherlands, the Alfred Wegener Institute for Polar and Marine Research in the Helmholtz Association, Bremerhaven, and the Leibniz Institute of Marine Sciences, Kiel. It has now been published in the periodical “Nature Geoscience”.
To press release: Abrupt climate changes during the last Ice Age

Recovery of a mooring

Successful series of measurements in Arctic sea ice – RV Polarstern completes work in the Fram Strait and enters port in Reykjavik

7. July 2008
The German Research Vessel Polarstern had to prove its ice breaking capabilities in Arctic waters to gain data on two series of long-term research measurements. After working in regions up to latitude 82° N, Polarstern of the Alfred Wegener Institute for Polar and Marine Research in the Helmholtz Association will enter port in Reykjavik (Iceland) on August 10th.

To press release: Successful series of measurements in Arctic sea ice

Polarstern (Photo: Alfred Wegener-Institute)

How will the Arctic sea ice cover develop this summer?

4. July 2008

The ice cover in the Arctic Ocean at the end of summer 2008 will lie, with almost 100 per cent probability, below that of the year 2005 – the year with the second lowest sea ice extent ever measured. Chances of an equally low value as in the extreme conditions of the year 2007 lie around eight per cent. Climate scientists from the Alfred Wegener Institute for Polar and Marine Research in the Helmholtz Association come to this conclusion in a recent model calculation.

To press release: How will the Arctic sea ice cover develop this summer?

Vulkanische Asche

Fire under the ice - International expedition discovers gigantic volcanic eruption in the Arctic Ocean

Bremerhaven, June 25th, 2008

For the first time an international team of researchers was able to provide evidence of explosive volcanism in the depths of the ice-covered Arctic Ocean .

To press release: Fire under the ice

EPOCA logo

EPOCA: Ocean Acidification and its Consequences on Ecosystems

26. June 2008

The European Project on Ocean Acidification (EPOCA) will be launched on 10 June 2008. Its goal is to document ocean acidification, investigate its impact on biological processes, predict its consequences over the next 100 years, and advise policy-makers on potential thresholds or tipping points that should not be exceeded.

To press release: EPOCA: Ocean Acidification and its Consequences on Ecosystems

Moorings

The Antarctic deep sea gets colder - RV Polarstern finished first Antarctic field season within the International Polar Year

21. April 2008

The Antarctic deep sea gets colder, which might stimulate the circulation of the oceanic water masses. This is the first result of the Polarstern expedition of the Alfred Wegener Institute for Polar and Marine Research in the Helmholtz Association that has just ended in Punta Arenas/Chile.

To press release: The Antarctic deep sea gets colder

Methane sources over the last 30,000 years – New insights into natural changes in atmospheric methane concentrations

16. April 2008

Using novel isotopic studies, scientists from the European Project for Ice Coring In Antarctica (EPICA) were now able to identify the most important processes responsible for changes in natural methane concentrations over the transition from the last ice age into our warm period.

To press release: Methane sources over the last 30,000 years

Juergen Graeser with research balloon

Seven Months on a Drifting Ice Floe - Drift Expedition NP 35 has Produced Unique Data about the Hibernal Atmosphere above the Central Arctic

14. April 2008

For the first time, a German has taken part in a Russian drift expedition. Jürgen Graeser, a 49-year-old scientific technician of the Potsdam Research Unit of the Alfred Wegener Institute, has spent seven months on an ice floe and gained observational data from a region, which is normally inaccessible during the Arctic winter.

To press release: Seven Months on a Drifting Ice Floe

Phytoplankton bloom off the coast of Ireland

The response of marine algae to climate change: Young scientist at the Alfred Wegener Institute gets EU funding in the amount of 1.4 million Euros

25. March 2008

A new project at the Alfred Wegener Institute dealing with the impact of climate change on marine phytoplankton will be funded by the European Research Council ERC with 1.4 million Euros. With his project "PhytoChange" Dr. Björn Rost was among the 3% of successful applicants for the Independent Investigator Grant and succeeded against more than 9,000 competitors from all over Europe.

Zur Pressemitteilung: The response of marine algae to climate change

Prof. Heinrich Miller

European ice core project EPICA receives the European Union Descartes Prize for Collaborative, Transnational Research

12. March 2008

The research project EPICA (European Project for Ice Coring in Antarctica) is one of this year’s winners of the Descartes Prize for Research awarded by the European Union on the 12th of March in Brussels.

To press release: European ice core project EPICA receives the Descartes Prize

Simulation

Stratospheric ozone chemistry plays an important role for atmospheric airflow patterns

8. March 2008

Still too much uncertainty in today’s climate models

To press release: Stratospheric ozone chemistry plays an important role

Polarstern Eiskante

Polarstern has broken the ice - Landing site is ready for unloading of new Antarctic research station Neumayer III

16. January 2008

At 2.20 am local time, the research icebreaker Polarstern reached the landing spot at the edge of the Ekstrom Ice Shelf in the Antarctic. After several days of ice breaking, a newly created navigation channel through the compact sea ice finally allowed access to a suitable docking location for the freighter Naja Arctica.

To press release: Polarstern has broken the ice

Traverses for transports in 1930

IPY day focussing on ice sheets

December 5th, 2007

On December 13th, 2007, the International Polar Year (IPY) will launch its second "International Polar Day", focussing on Ice Sheets and Traverses. In preparation for this, a special webpage, has been prepared with information for Press and Educators, details of current projects and expeditions, contact details for scientists around the world, including in the polar regions, images, background information and useful links and resources.

To press release: IPY day focussing on ice sheets (PDF 292KB)

 

Polarstern in Antarctica

25 years of research in polar seas aboard the research vessel Polarstern

Bremerhaven, November 22, 2007

On December 9, 2007, the research vessel Polarstern will celebrate her 25th anniversary of service: since 1982, the world´s most powerful polar research vessel has been venturing to the Arctic and Antarctic on behalf of the Alfred Wegener Institute for Polar and Marine Research, part of the Helmholtz Association.

To press release: 25 years of research in polar seas aboard the research vessel Polarstern

PACT deployment

Tsunami-recording in the deep sea - Data transfer for tsunami early warning system successfully tested

Bremerhaven, November 15, 2007

In order to extend alert times and avoid false alarms, a new seafloor pressure recording system has been designed to detect tsunamis shortly after their development in the open ocean. The project is directed by scientists of the working group "Marine Observation Systems" at the Alfred Wegener Institute for Polar and Marine Research, part of the Helmholtz Association.

To press release: Tsunami-recording in the deep sea

Ursula Schauer

The sea-ice is getting thinner - A closer look at the climate and ecosystem of the Arctic Ocean

Bremerhaven, September 13, 2007

Large areas of the Arctic sea-ice are only one metre thick this year, equating to an approximate 50 percent thinning as compared to the year 2001. These are the initial results from the latest Alfred-Wegener-Institute for Polar and Marine Research in the Helmholtz Association lead expedition to the North Polar Sea.

To press release: The sea-ice is getting thinner

Construction of Neumayer Station III

Unique opportunity for polar enthusiasts

At September 8th, the new German Antarctic research station will be displayed to the public in Bremerhaven.

The new research station Neumayer Station III of the Alfred Wegener Institute for Polar and Marine Research in the Helmholtz Association is currently under construction by the consortium J.H. Kramer Stahlbau and Kaefer Isoliertechnik in Bremerhaven. Named by the German polar researcher Georg von Neumayer (1826-1909), Neumayer Station III will allow continuing German research in the Antarctic for the next 25 to 30 years.

To press release: Unique opportunity for polar enthusiasts

Jürgen Graeser in Ny-Ålesund

By ice floe to the North Pole

Bremerhaven, July 18, 2007

An eight-month voyage through the Arctic Ocean, without ship or travel route: the North Pole drifting station NP-35 represents an unusual project of the International Polar Year

To press release: By ice floe to the North Pole

Polarstern in seaice (Foto: G. Chapelle)

Departure to cold water corals and other "hot spots"

Bremerhaven, 24. May 2007
On May 29 the research vessel Polarstern will leave Bremerhaven for its 22nd Arctic expedition with a new shine, to begin its first work in the International Polar Year.
To press release: Departure to cold water corals and other "hot spots"

From Beneath Antarctica's Ross Sea, Scientists Retrieve Pristine Record of the Continent's Climate Cycles

DeKalb, Illinois,  April 16, 2007

Presence of fossilized one-celled creatures surprises scientists, confirms climate fluctuation.

To press release on the drilling project...

The research aircraft Polar 2 of the Alfred Wegener Institute.

ASTAR 2007 - Alfred Wegener Institute and German Aerospace Center send aircraft on Arctic mission

Bremerhaven, April 11, 2007
Arctic atmosphere very clean this year: Under the direction of two of the Helmholtz Centres, i.e. the Alfred Wegener Institute for Polar and Marine Research and the German Aerospace Center, an international research group is currently investigating the Arctic atmosphere above Spitsbergen.

To press release: ASTAR 2007

Photo composition of the airship "Dirigeable", carrying the EM-Bird. The zeppelin is currently built in Moscow. Copyright: Total

By airship to the North Pole - Zeppelin expedition will survey sea ice in the Arctic

Bremerhaven, April 5, 2007

In 2008, scientists will, for the very first time, create a continual profile of ice thickness in the Arctic, extending from the Canadian coast across the North Pole to Siberia. At the core of the project lies the crossing of the North Pole by zeppelin.

To press release: By airship to the North Pole

Thin ice cover at Storfjord, Spitsbergen, in March 2007

Warm winter also in the Arctic

Bremerhaven, March 29, 2007

Research aircrafts observe further decline of ice cover. Central Europe is not the only place where the past, warm winter has caused record temperatures. Unusually mild temperatures also prevented ice formation in the Arctic, specifically in the region around Spitsbergen.
To press release on warm winter in the Arctic...

Graphic of the new planned research vessel Aurora Borealis

A new milestone for polar and marine research

Bremerhaven, March 27, 2007

German Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) approves technical development work for research icebreaker and drilling vessel AURORA BOREALIS. The Alfred Wegener Institute for Polar and Marine Research (AWI) is receiving more than 5 million Euro from the Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF). The funds will be dedicated to continue technical development of the new European research icebreaker AURORA BOREALIS, together with the Department of Naval Architecture at the University of Applied Sciences in Bremen.
To press release on Aurora Borealis...

Exploring Polar regions, understanding climate: The International Polar Year 2007/08 begins on 1 March.

Bremerhaven, January 26, 2007

When more than 50,000 scientists, working in the remotest areas of the world unite, it is an important event, that demands attention all over the world. More than 60 nations are joining forces, with research into ice and snow, in order to investigate climate.

More about the Polar Year...

Photo: Julian Gutt / Alfred Wegener Institut

Antarcitc Marine Explorers Reveal First Hints of Biological Change after Ice Shelf Collapse

Bremerhaven, January 25,  2007

10-week Voyage Yields Likely New Species, Insights into Polar Ecology;
Intrigued Scientists Find: Herds of Sea Cucumbers on the Move,
Fields of Colonizing Sea Squirts, Whales Approach Coast;
Deep-Sea Species at Unusually Shallow Depths on Uncapped Seabed

More...

Remotely operated vehicle (Photo: Gautier Chapelle, Cousteau Society)

ROV discovers Antarctic seafloor

Bremerhaven, January 18, 2007

Remotely Operated Vehicles (ROV) remain an efficient technology to uncover the secrets of Antarctic seafloor fauna. As a precursor to the International Polar Year 2007/2008, the current Polarstern expedition conducted by the Alfred Wegener Institute for polar and marine research releases short seafloor video clips taken by ROV only a few hours after the robot has been recovered.

Read more about the ROV...

The eelpout Zoarces viviparus. Photo: Alfred-Wegener-Institut

How fish species suffer as a result of warmer waters

Bremerhaven, January 5, 2007

Ongoing global climate change causes changes in the species composition of marine ecosystems, especially in shallow coastal oceans. This applies also to fish populations. A new investigation, just published in the scientific journal Science, reveals that a warming induced deficiency in oxygen uptake and supply to tissues is the key factor limiting the stock size of a fish species under heat stress.

Read more about science article...

Marmorbarsch (Notothenia rossii)

Polarstern catches five tons of Marbled Antarctic Cod

Bremerhaven, Dezember 27, 2006

Polarstern's biggest fish catch in 24 years of research in Antarctic waters. New hope for commercial fisheries? Quite the opposite, a good catch doesn't necessarily mean that depleted stocks have recovered.

Read more about the remarkable catch of cod...

Südliche Schnabelwale, Foto: Chapelle/Gutt/Alfred-Wegener-Institut

Four Arnoux's Beaked Whales observed from Polarstern expedition

Bremerhaven, December 22, 2006

On the 17th of December, scientists on board of Polarstern made a remarkable sighting: They observed four Arnoux's Beaked Whales.

Read more about the unusual whale sighting...

The research aircraft Polar 2. Photo: Alfred Wegener Institute

Antarctic research within the International Polar Year IPY 2007/2008

Bremerhaven, December 20, 2006

The 27th research campaign of Bremerhaven’s Alfred Wegener Institute for Polar and Marine Research marks the beginning of the summer research season in the Antarctic. The institute collaborates with 20 research institutions and ten logistics organisations from 14 countries. Neumayer Station will serve as the logistical base for extensive measurements using aircraft.

Read more about the Antarctic summer campaign...

Ice fish; right lower corner: sea-cucumbers especially adapted for life on spines of a pencl sea urchin.

Polarstern to explore uncharted seafloor

Bremerhaven, November 24,2006

Atmospheric global warming has resulted in significant environmental changes on the Antarctic Peninsula and throughout Western Antarctica. Glaciers are melting and the Larsen ice shelves are collapsing. An interesting consequence: areas which were previously covered by ice shelves several hundred meters thick are now accessible to researchers!

Read more about the expedition...


Dr. Hubertus Fischer sawing an ice core.

Ocean current links northern and southern hemisphere in ice age

Bremerhaven, November 9, 2006

Even if climate records from Greenland and Antarctic ice cores show different patterns climate of Arctic and Antartica are connected directly. Recent investigations on an Antarctic ice core now published in nature indicate a general connection between both hemispheres by a 'bipolar seesaw'. Even short and weak temperature changes in the south are connected to fast changes in temperature in the north by change of currents in the Atlantic ocean.

More about the nature article...