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RV Polarstern on its way to East Siberian Sea
Date:8/21/2008

gravity corer, which only shows layers about 1 million years old. Both sediment cores and sediment profiles shall be used to further a proposal for future Arctic depth drilling. Within the framework of the International Ocean Drilling Program (IODP), a long drilling core shall be gained which is anticipated by researchers worldwide. It will give new insights into Arctic geological history of the last 100 million years.

Furthermore, there are areas with a high rate of sedimentation in the East Siberian Sea. If the researchers manage to retrieve cores from these sediments, it will help to conclude climate history of the younger geological past. For example, the rate of organic carbon in sediment cores hints at biological activity, and researchers can reconstruct temperature and ice cover up to one million years ago.

Presently, organic carbon reaches the Arctic Ocean via rivers as well. For this reason oceanographers are interested in the East Siberian Sea. Similar to former cruise stages, they sample water and monitor temperature, salinity and depth. Additionally, they specify the concentration of terrestrial carbon in the water, by which they are able to calculate from which river the examined water originates and how long it has been on its way. These data shall help to understand climate relevant systems of currents in the Arctic Ocean.

Changes to marine currents also affect the biotic environment. This is why biologists investigate the species assemblage in samples of various regions and depths and compare them with measurements taken in the 1990ies. This way they can deduce, for instance, whether a changing ice cover affects the system's biological productivity. The copepod Oithona similes which lives both in the Arctic and Antarctic Ocean and also in the North Sea will be investigated in more detail. The researchers want to conduct experiments on board to see how they successfully reproduce in these different climatic zones.

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Contact: Folke Mehrtens
Folke.Mehrtens@awi.de
49-047-148-312-007
Helmholtz Association of German Research Centres
Source:Eurekalert  

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RV Polarstern on its way to East Siberian Sea
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