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From research conducted at the Alfred Wegener Institute for Polar and Marine Research (AWI)

The great meltdown - a challenge for the research community, society and political leaders

The summer ice cap over the Arctic Ocean has been shrinking for over thirty years. AWI researchers led by Professor Rüdiger Gerdes regularly measure the extent and thickness of sea ice and use the data to create models to better predict the role ice plays in the global climate system and to assess the chances and risks associated with the changes in northern regions.

Messgerät EM-Methode
Mit der elektromagnetischen Eisdickenmessung (EM) können große Eisdickenprofile über mehrere km Länge erstellt werden . Die Genauigkeit der EM-Methode wurde durch den Vergleich gleichzeitiger Bohrungen und EM-Messungen evaluiert. Photo/Graphic: S. Hendricks.
Schiff Eisdeckenmessung
Die Polarstern beim Eisdickenmessen mit dem SIMS (Sea Ice Monitoring System). Photo/Graphic: S. Hendricks.

 One thing is clear: the affect are not confined to the polar region alone. Changing atmospheric and oceanic circulations affect the climate worldwide, new sea routes that are open a larger part of the year play a key role in shipping, and arctic oil and gas are of great importance for industry. Furthermore, people in northern Canada, Alaska and Siberia will be forced to change their lifestyles in a process that will be difficult and perhaps even painful. This makes reliable predictions all the more important.

Cornelia Reichert