Summer School “Climate and Ocean” on RV Polarstern
(WK-intern) – 25 scholars from 20 countries are exploring the Atlantic from north to south
On Saturday, November 12th, the research vessel Polarstern will set off for a one-month expedition towards Cape Town from Bremerhaven.
On board there are 25 outstanding young scientists from the marine research, who together with twelve teachers explore the interactions between the ocean and the atmosphere.
On the journey across the Atlantic Ocean from north to south, the young scientists are to investigate how the physical conditions for life in the sea – such as temperature, carbon dioxide content or turbidity of the water – differ in the different climatic zones. They get to know the biological communities and work together in several projects with experts for physical processes and models, atmospheric measurements, remote sensing as well as physical, chemical and biological oceanography.
“We are running this program for the second time after the launch in 2015. This year, our international team of teachers is not just made up of natural scientists. For example, we have Lionel Playford on board, a representative of the visual arts”, says Prof. Dr. Karen Wiltshire, biologist and deputy director of the Alfred Wegener Institute, Helmholtz Centre for Polar and Marine Research (AWI) and Chief Scientist of the expedition. The artistic exploration of natural sciences is intended to encourage the participants to observe nature and the sciences from a different angle, and to critically question themselves and their work.
The lawyer Prof. Dr. Sabine Schlacke, a member of the German Advisory Council on Global Change (WBGU) and Director of the Institute for Environmental and Planning Law at the University of Münster, is in charge of one of a total of five projects, which will involve all of the young scientists. The program is rounded off by co-operation with pupils on Heligoland and in Ireland. They have prepared questions concerning the expedition and the marine research, which are to be answered from the ship.
The Summer School is a cooperation of the Alfred Wegener Institute with the Japanese Nippon Foundation, the Partnership for Observation of the Global Oceans (POGO), the Strategic Marine Alliance for Research and Training (SMART) and the Helmholtz Alliance REKLIM. A total of 212 young scientists applied for a place on the training course. The participants come from Ireland, Nigeria, the Philippines, Germany, Mexico, Portugal, South Africa, Ethiopia, Russia, Austria, Brazil, Kenya, Egypt, Bangladesh, Argentina and the UK and work partly abroad, so that China, France, Belgium or Norway have become their second home.
After a short port stay in Cape Town, Polarstern starts on its Antarctic season. Oceanographic long-term studies and the supply of the Neumayer Station III are the focus of an expedition from mid-December to early February. After starting from Punta Arenas, Chile, geoscientists are to investigate the glaciation history of the Amundsen Sea. In the middle of March Polarstern will sail back across the Atlantic to Bremerhaven, where the ship is to return on 20th April 2017. Within the framework of the “Science Year 2016*17 Seas and Oceans”, the public is then given the opportunity to visit the vessel: The Alfred Wegener Institute is organizing an OPEN SHIP event on 22nd and 23rd April 2017.
PM: Alfred-Wegener-Institut, Helmholtz-Zentrum für Polar- und Meeresforschung
RV Polarstern in the South Atlantic / Photo: Alfred-Wegener-Institut / F. Mehrtens