Tag: Alfred Wegener Institute

Plastic pollution is increasing in the Arctic Ocean

Plastic debris is increasing in the Fram Strait, east of Greenland. @bberwyn photo.

Study documents rising amount of sea-bottom debris

Staff Report

There’s more direct evidence that plastic pollution is increasing rapidly in the remote Arctic Ocean, according to German scientists, who have tracking sea-bottom litter at two research stations since 2002. The Hausgarten deep-sea observatory network includes a total of 21 stations in the Fram Strait, between Greenland and Svalbard.

The Alfred Wegener Institute’s Mine Tekman,  lead author of a new study published in the scientific journal Deep-Sea Research I, said the long-term monitoring confirms that the amount of plastic litter has increased rapidly in the past 15 years.  Other scientists with the AWI have also documented evidence of a floating garbage patch starting to form in the Barents Sea region of the Arctic Ocean. Plastic has already been reported from stomachs of resident seabirds and Greenland sharks. Continue reading “Plastic pollution is increasing in the Arctic Ocean”


Study tracks rapid ice age climate shifts

A cyclonic storm spins over the center of the Arctic Ocean. Photo courtesy NASA Earth Observatory
A cyclonic storm spins over the center of the Arctic Ocean. Photo courtesy NASA Earth Observatory.

Findings show delicate balance of ice sheets, winds and ocean currents

Staff Report

FRISCO — The superstorm depicted in “The Day After Tomorrow” may be completely implausible, but that doesn’t mean the Earth’s climate system is always as stable as it seems now.

New research by a team of scientists at the Alfred Wegener Institute shows how there may have been significant shifts in ocean circulation and wind patterns that happened in the span of just a few decades — not even the blink of an eye by geological time standards. Continue reading “Study tracks rapid ice age climate shifts”

Shrinking sea ice affecting Arctic Ocean top to bottom

Researchers find less thick, multi-year ice and show that the dwindling ice pack will have impacts deep in the sea, and not just at the surface

The Polarstern in the central Arctic. Photo courtesy Stefan Hendricks, Alfred-Wegener-Institut.

By Summit Voice

SUMMIT COUNTY — Researchers aboard the Polarstern say findings from their two-month Arctic cruise helps confirm satellite data showing that Arctic sea ice is not only shrinking, but quickly growing thinner.

The research also helps show how the seasonal changes in Arctic ice extent are not restricted to the visible surface, but have impacts to Arctic Ocean biological communities all the way to the sea floor. Continue reading “Shrinking sea ice affecting Arctic Ocean top to bottom”