Bremerhaven, March 24th 2009. The research aircraft Polar 5 belongs to the Alfred Wegener Institute. It will start on Monday March 30th at 10 o'clock from the regional airport Bremerhaven on an Arctic measurement campaign which will last about four weeks. Measurements of sea ice thickness and atmospheric variables in an area between Spitsbergen, Greenland, northern Canada and Alaska are at the centre of the project PAM-ARCMIP (Pan-Arctic Measurements and Arctic Climate Model Inter comparison Project). Up to twenty German and international researchers will carry out investigations in those areas of the Arctic where no data are yet available. Six research institutes from Germany (Alfred Wegener Institute), Canada (Environment Canada, University of Alberta, York University), the USA (NOAA) and Italy (ISAC Bologna) are involved in the project.
The extent of Arctic sea ice has declined stronger than predicted by climate models. However, little is known about changes of its thickness. Sea ice is in constant movement and it can become thicker by deformation than by freezing. Therefore, not only the areal extent of the ice is an important variable in the Arctic climate system, but also its thickness. "We hope to gain an appraisal of the whole Arctic ice volume for the first time ever in order to be able to compare the changes in the different regions", says Dr. Andreas Herber, physicist and in charge of the research aircrafts of the Alfred Wegener Institute. The operation of the research aircraft Polar 5 will allow for the first time to carry out large scale ice thickness measurements in Arctic key areas which could hitherto not be reached by the German research vessel Polarstern.
The joint sea ice team of the Alfred Wegener Institute for Polar and Marine Research in the Helmholtz Association and the University of Alberta are the only researchers worldwide who have carried out Arctic ice thickness measurements recently. Their results show a strong de
|Contact: Dr. Andreas Herber|
Helmholtz Association of German Research Centres