The great meltdown - a challenge for the research community, society and political leadersFrom research conducted at the Alfred Wegener Institute for Polar and Marine Research (AWI)
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.
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.
Media about the subject
- Will the North pole be ice-free in Summer? (English translation of German audio statement, Prof. Dr. Rüdiger Gerdes, AWI)
- Should changes in the polar regions be of interest to us? (English translation of German audio statement, Prof. Dr. Karin Lochte, AWI)