15 November 2010: Germany’s Wissenschaftsrat (science council) confirms urgency of Arctic research
Today’s report of the German Wissenschaftsrat, the highest science advisory board for the German government, focuses on the future development of the German marine research fleet1. Therein, a special emphasis is placed on the urgently required Arctic and Antarctic research.
In 2006, the Wissenschaftsrat recommended building the AURORA BOREALIS (with certain restrictions).
The new report refers to the increased construction and running costs during the planning phase and also to the unsettled financing of this international project. The authors suggest a national, fast and temporary solution in order to wait no longer for the lengthy negotiations of an international consortium: an icebreaking research vessel stays in services and the follow-up vessel will work in parallel, thus both Poles will be investigated for a limited time period. The follow-up vessel should use technologies and concepts similar to the AURORA BOREALIS, e.g. year-round research at both Poles, the dynamic positioning system and the long drilling cores.
Currently, experts of the ERICON project are working on a business plan that suggests various financial participation models for the polar-researching consortium partners (see website). The final decision to build the benchmark-setting research icebreaker AURORA BOREALIS will take place early 2012 on an international level. Members of the ERICON stakeholder council are for example Norway and Russia.
In order to address the most pressing climatological issues the suggested rather minor drilling depths of the future follow-up vessel would result in numerous insights, for further questions like how the Arctic oceans evolved the designated equipment will not be able to provide sufficient data. Deep-sea drilling in the Arctic oceans can deliver unexpected results, e.g. concerning the ice cover, as shown by the Arctic Coring Expedition (ACEX) in 20042. The start of operation of the AURORA BOREALIS is scheduled for 2016.
26 November 2010: Grant for Jörn Thiede to establish new lab in St. Petersburg
Marine geologist Jörn Thiede, former director of the AWI Alfred Wegener Institute
for Polar and Marine Sciences and current president of the ERICON council,
is one of two winners of grants from the Russian Ministry of Education and Science.
These projects are aimed at attracting eminent scientists from all over the world
Prof. Jörn Thiede is going to establish a new interdisciplinary laboratory. He will
be responsible for a laboratory “Paleogeography and geomorphology of polar
countries and the World Ocean”, aimed at paleogeographical, geological,
geomorphological and geochronological studies of relief and various types of
sediments. The new laboratory will also be a centre of education in the above
mentioned fi elds of science.
In total, 512 scientists and 179 Russian Universities took part in the announcement.
Jörn Thiedes project is funded with approx. 1,2 million Euro.