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Council of Science and Humanities recommends building of Polarstern II
Date:11/19/2010

The Alfred Wegener Institute for Polar and Marine Research welcomes the recommendation of the Council of Science and Humanities to build a new research icebreaker, Polarstern II. The body announced the result of its last session in Berlin. The new vessel could go into operation in 2016 and replace the research vessel Polarstern in the medium term. The estimated costs are approx. 450 million euros. "We are very pleased that the project was assessed positively," states Prof. Karin Lochte, Director of the Alfred Wegener Institute in the Helmholtz Association, which operates the RV Polarstern.

"The Polarstern is the Alfred Wegener Institute's most important instrument. We need a reliable research platform so we can continue our work in the polar regions. The recommendation for a new research icebreaker comes at just the right time as climate change has an exceptionally pronounced impact in the Arctic and Antarctica," adds Lochte. The present Polarstern will be over 30 years old when it is replaced.

The scientific coordinator for RV Polarstern, Dr. Eberhard Fahrbach from the Alfred Wegener Institute, describes the great need for vessel time in the Arctic and Antarctica: "For many expeditions there are applications from two to three times more researchers than we can accommodate." In addition, by supplying Neumayer Station III and other Antarctic stations, the Polarstern performs important logistics tasks that have to be included in voyage planning.

In the next step the Alfred Wegener Institute will submit an application to the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research to be able to draw up documents suitable as invitations to tender. "There are already design studies on Polarstern II considering the logistic and scientific aspects," says Dr. Uwe Nixdorf, head of the Logistics Department at the Alfred Wegener Institute. Scientific and shipbuilding-oriented working groups composed of researchers, nautical experts and technicians from
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Contact: Margarete Pauls
medien@awi.de
Helmholtz Association of German Research Centres
Source:Eurekalert

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