More Baffled German Scientists – Expedition To Find Out “Why Antarctic Sea Ice Is Expanding”

AWI Polar SternFor a science claimed to have been settled already years ago, there sure are lots of new, profound questions popping up. For example: Why has global warming stopped? or Why are European winters getting bitter cold? or Why have the models been so wrong? or Where are the hurricanes!

Now there’s another question that has been unsettling scientists as of late: Why is Antarctic sea ice expanding?

Anatarctic Sea Ice growth

Antarctica sea ice anomaly. Source:

This is one question a German research institute now aims to answer. Antarctica has long been a painful thorn in the warmists’ side. Hopefully a real answer will be found, and not some concocted plausible-sounding explanation of the sort we’ve been getting lately.

Germany’s polar research center Alfred Wegener Institute located in Bremerhaven has issued a press release about its upcoming expedition to Antarctica.

Below I’ve highlighted the part describing one of the purposes of the expedition:

Bremerhaven, 6 June 2013. A group of researchers from the Alfred Wegener Institute, Helmholtz Centre for Polar and Marine Research is flying to South Africa today. However this trip south is no summer holiday, but rather the start of a special journey: on Saturday, 8 June 2013 the research vessel Polarstern will be embarking on an expedition to the Antarctic winter. 49 researchers from institutes in twelve countries together with 44 crew members will spend a good two months in the Southern Ocean. They will be exploring the sea ice, the atmosphere and the ocean, until the expedition comes to an end on 12 August in Punta Arenas, Chile.

The research ice-breaker Polarstern is one of the few ships in the world that is able to navigate the Antarctic Ocean in the winter. At this time of the year the Weddell Sea, which is the destination of the expedition, is covered by sea ice, and the members of the expedition team will face temperatures of around minus 30 degrees Celsius and the polar night with only a few hours of twilight. These special conditions have meant that not enough research has been carried out into several physical, chemical and biological processes in the Antarctic winter. The Antarctic plays a key role in the Earth System: It is where the so-called deep water, which drives global ocean currents, is formed.

Chief scientist Prof. Dr. Peter Lemke from the Alfred Wegener Institute has assembled an international team and is taking the most modern research equipment on the expedition in order to obtain baseline data in the wintery Antarctic. On the Greenwich Meridian through to the Antarctic coast the team plans to investigate, for example, the fundamental question of why Antarctic sea ice is expanding slightly whilst the sea ice cover in the Arctic is steadily shrinking.

The second half of the expedition then moves on to the incipient spring: the planned route takes the Polarstern from the Antarctic coast in a north-westerly direction, away from the polar night and into the rising sun. The second central question addressed by the research programme looks at which mechanisms permit the ecosystem of the Southern Ocean to come back to life after the long, cold and dark winter. You can also follow the route of the Polarstern live here:”

Photo: Polarstern research vessel of the Alfred Wegener Institute. Source: Alfred Wegener Institute.


17 responses to “More Baffled German Scientists – Expedition To Find Out “Why Antarctic Sea Ice Is Expanding””

  1. Juergen Uhlemann

    The amazing thing is that they have just a bit over the magic 30 years of data, but they didn’t wait for 30 years to claim that the poles are melting. Now they have to find something to explain why the trend goes in the wrong direction.

    Mr. Schellnhuber is waiting for an another El Niño to release the amazing heat stored in the deep sea. Mr. Schellnhuber claims the flood in Germany on the Jetstream.

    I wonder what “natural” effect is the cause of the ice increase that will magically proof the warming.

    I looked for a connection to Mr. Schellnhuber and found it. Mr. Peter Lemke, Head of Climate Sciences at the Alfred-Wegener-Institut for Polar and Marine Research in Bremerhaven, is also in the government advisory council.

    The “climate science” world is so small.

  2. Ed Caryl

    I hope they are taking a thermometer.

    1. alex

      Of course not, that would give a very simple answer. Instead they’re taking lots of copies of The Guardian as references.

      1. goldminor

        Of course they will also take some very good computer models with them, to help them pass the time

        It does sound like a great adventure though. It will be interesting to see what this winter will bring. I read a piece recently that said something about very low to record low temps over portions of Antartica about a week ago. First class thermal underwear would be a top priority.

  3. Edward.

    Sea ice in the Antarctic…… expanding, and the ice cap won’t be melting any epoch soon.

    Thus, Global warming – of the man made variety is once more trumped but we know that. Now, an expedition exploring the polar seas, seeking to compound the original misapprehensions, a futile exercise [another one] to prove the total untenability of the alarmist groupthink.

    Winter coming on in the Antarctic, until September you won’t find much global warming down there lads.

    It’s time to bin the old suppositions and to get real – man made warming is what it always was – a myth cooked up by politicians.

    Sending scientific expeditions to the Austral polar ocean in the southern winter months to “observe the refreeze” – is slightly bonkers verging on dangerous – because the climate in the roaring forties+furious fifties is dreadful – there being no land to block the path of aeolian forces power.

    An Icebreaker, will be tossed around to roll like the tub that it is, have the ‘lads’ of Alfred Wegener Institute, Helmholtz Centre for Polar and Marine Research – got some sturdy sea legs and strong stomachs, they’ll find out soon enough.

    Bon voyage.

  4. Ric Werme

    I’d be happier if they sent some curious scientists instead of baffled ones. Maybe they’ll lose their preconceived notions in the first storm.

  5. thebiggreenlie

    We could save this institute a lot of travel time and costs associated with their “study”.
    Reason for ice expansion: “Cold Weather”.

  6. stephen richards

    Hopefully a real answer will be found, and not some concocted plausible-sounding explanation of the sort we’ve been getting lately.

    On past evidence it will be the latter.

  7. DirkH

    O/T The DLR (German society for avionics and spaceflight) has measured cosmic rays during measurement flights and compared current measurements during our weak solar maximum now with measurements they made in 2007 during the minimum, and detected a 10% difference (10% weaker now). They mention that cosmic rays lead to formation of particles which they can observe.

    The article does not mention CLOUD, Svensmark or climate change. As usual, real scientists have to tread carefully when threatening the dogma of CO2AGW.

    1. goldminor

      That is very interesting. Recently, I had noticed a potential correllation between the neutron monitor graph and the surface sst graph. Starting in the late 70s to the present the peak highs and lows align closely. Currently the neutron count has been dropping. I made a forecast that by spring of next year it will drop below the 40 count line. Perhaps as low as 37. It has already moved 5 points down from this the last peak, and ten more points would take it to 37. The last 3 lows of the neutron monitor correspond to 3 significant Earth events, El Chichon Pinatubo and The Great Sumatran Quake and Tsunami… 1982, 1991, and 2004

  8. Kurt in Switzerland

    Sounds like an adventurous undertaking. Nothing like a couple months of cold and darkness to appreciate a bit of warmth and light when it’s all over!

    I would be curious to hear what they expect to find during the expedition which could help answer the question of why the Antarctic Sea Ice is growing. Up till now, the pat answer has been “It’s due to wind” (whereas Arctic Sea Ice shrinkage is due to anthropogenic CO2)…

    Are there expected temperature / pressure profiles which need to be compared with reality?


    Of course they’ll be running the expedition entirely on renewable energy, to set an example for the planet, like all good German citizens are encouraged to do.

    \sarc off.

    Kurt in Switzerland

    P.S. should be “wintry” not wintery.

  9. stephen richards

    I hope they learn the one important lesson. Sea water around the Poles is frigging cold.

  10. Mindert Eiting

    Reminds me of a Dutch expedition to the Antarctic about which I saw something on TV half a year ago. They went to that peninsula with rising temperatures but the reporter said bluntly that the temperatures were rising on the whole Antarctic. It was one of those scary programs the Dutch TV tries to make. Some people were strolling around in the mud but nobody talked about AGW because they were too busy with their boy-scout things. One of the few scientists in the club said that everything was fine with the fish he had studied. Not very scary.

  11. alex

    I do not see any reason why so much money must be spent on expeditions to find the answer to expanding sea ice cover in that continent that Al Gore had predicited that it would be the only livable continent on planet Gore, I mean Earth. The answer is very simple. It is due to Anthropogenic Global Warming. All climatic anomalies that occured since 1988 are due to global warming. My cat died last year after 18 years of living like a queen and the cause was also due to global warming. (sarc off, of course).

    AGW is a trougher’s delight. Troughers gravitate towards subsidies and grants paid out of our hard-earned taxes.

  12. Jimbo

    We have been given 2 reasons for the expanding ice. Melting ice and changing wind patterns. Didn’t they also implicate the Ozone Hole once? 🙂 Now this German expedition might give us yet another reason!!! Why not that it’s just so damn cold out there. Climate voodoo at its finest.

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