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New Research Unit Scan Arctic Sea Floor

Once again, the research ship Polarstern runs test: on this Monday evening the ice-breaker “Bremerhaven” stings in Lake. The aim is the AWI House Garden in Norway, a deep-sea long-term Observatory from Spitsbergen. There are three new devices, which will provide better data from the Arctic deep sea on board.

There are many expressed interests on the arctic ocean. Especially since science discover many civilizations used to live on our earth since millions of years.

AWI Research Unit
Photo: AWI Research Unit

And here we have a deep-sea long-term observatory. It is located in the Fram Strait, the sea route between the Atlantic and the Arctic Ocean. The garden is now 21 stations in water depths from 300 m to 5500 m. Since 1999 the Polarstern is a regular there in the summer months again.

It is no vacation trip, but is a business trip, when the Polaris breaks up next Monday with the flooding of the evening at 19: 00 from Bremerhaven (DE) out towards Spitsbergen (DE): target is the garden of the Alfred Wegener Institute (AWI).

Hitchhiking remains a whole year on the seabed

The North Star brings several newly developed autonomous instruments this time. You will complement the long-term measurements in the transition zone between the northern North Atlantic and the Central Arctic Ocean seabed, in the water column and in the air.

AWI Research Unit
Photo: AWI Research Unit

With the new technology, the AWI scientists of the Helmholtz Centre for Polar and marine research with higher temporal and spatial resolution want to analyze the climate change in the Arctic and their impact on the world spot.

For the underwater robot will be Hitchhikers for a whole year on the seabed of the Arctic.

“The newly developed device to measure oxygen along depth gradients there weekly. “So we want to quantify how the sediment-dwelling marine organisms break down the biomass on the sea floor and again release as nutrients”, explains Dr. Thomas Soltwedel. The deep sea ecologist of the AWI is the Polarstern expedition leaders of this year’s summer expedition.

One-week hibernation follows on each measurement

The robot submarine is not on a high speed or a long distance, but on a possible energy saving operation. “Tramper moves with a speed of maximum 13 metres per minute, a speed which already produces an unwanted cloud of sediment,” says AWI engineer Johannes Lemburg. Independently and without remote control goes a short distance each Hitchhiker, photographed the measuring point and runs the oxygen profile measurements. Afterwards hitchhiking in a week-long deep sleep falls, before repeating the slow procedure.

AWI Research Unit
Photo: AWI Research Unit

Paul swims about hitchhiking across

Hitchhikers on the sea floor will scan Arctic floor when mother ship tirelessly draws his circles above him. The autonomous underwater vehicle (AUV) named Paul floats on a fixed course through the Arctic water and diligently collects samples from which the scientists on board the Polarstern filter the microorganisms of the plankton and determine.

Paul is a small laboratory: it measures the water temperature, salinity, the nitrate concentration, chlorophyll and oxygen as well as various organic substances and the intensity of photosynthetically active radiation. A built-in acoustic doppler current investigates the physical properties along the border of melt water in the ice of the Arctic Ocean margin.

Support Gets the AUV called Paul by so-called UAV, unmanned autonomous aerial vehicles. This unmanned aerial vehicle to record the thickness of the snow cover next to the ice. So, it can be settled is how much of the sunlight as the energy in the ocean under the ice.

A UAV will place GPS transmitters on the sea ice to gather the drift of the sea ice. The data collected by the drones be used to program the route from Paul. The coordinated use of three new instruments supplemented the long-term measurements, carrying out the scientist in the AWI,House Garden between Spitsbergen and Greenland.