Project Laptev-Sea Transdrift (2013-2016)

This is a joint project funded by the German Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) that the University of Trier conducts in collaboration with the IFM-Geomar in Kiel and the Alfred-Wegener-Institute for Polar- and Marine Research (AWI) in Bremerhaven.

Extent and pace of Arctic climate change are observed with significant concern. The sea-ice area in the Arctic Ocean has shrunk drastically during the summer months and sea ice volume has retreated by about 75% during the last 30 years. Sea ice has become fragile and many open water areas are observed. Especially striking are these changes in the region of the transpolar drift, where sea ice is advected from the Siberian coasts over the north pole to the Fram Strait between Greenland an Svalbard. Here, the presence of multiyear pack ice is continuously ceasing and the average drift speed has doubled during recent years.

The joint Russian-German research network “System Laptev Sea” and in the framework of the Transdrift project (approved by the German Ministry for Education and Research BMBF, 2013-2016) adresses how climate change affects the sensitive Arctic environment and also in how far climate in Europe could be directly influenced. The bi-lateral project sets focus on the subsequent superior research subjects:

  • The role of sea-ice and ocean dynamics in the Laptev Sea for the transpolar drift system
  • Changes in the Arctic halocline, water mass formation and matter transport in the transpolar drift
  • Ecological consequences of climate change in key regions of the transpolar drift
  • Regional changes of the atmosphere/sea-ice/ocean system in the Arctic
  • Stability of the Arctic climate system: History of the transpolar drift