Sea ice expeditions
Scientific expeditions in the polar regions are of crucial importance in sea ice research. With international teams, polar researchers investigate the properties of sea ice as well as its interactions with atmosphere and ocean. Measuring sea ice and snow thickness, establishing ice mass balances, determining the structure of ice and snow cover and exploring the ecosystem in and below the ice – measuring again and again, with state of the art methods and the latest scientific equipment, taking samples, observing: during expeditions, work is done almost around the clock with the aim of understanding the fundamental physical processes of sea ice and their effects on the ecosystem better. The obtained data is used on site for first insights that are integrated into the scientific work of each expedition. They are also needed and used for the development and validation of sea ice models and analysis methods used for the evaluation of satellite data. Only this way it is possible to better predict the distribution of sea ice and its future development on large time and spatial scales. The expeditions of the Alfred-Wegener-Institute, Helmholtz Centre for polar and marine research, use various research platforms for the investigation of sea ice. These include plane campaigns with helicopters or polar planes, expeditions with ships, especially with the research icebreaker „Polarstern“ as well as campaigns conducted by the research stations of both polar regions (Neumayer III in Antarctica, German-French Arctic Station AWIPEV on Spitsbergen).