Country for PR: United Kingdom
Contributor: PR Newswire Europe
Friday, November 08 2019 - 06:51
The Polar Regions – The End of the Eternal Ice
HAMBURG and KIEL, Germany, Nov. 8, 2019 /PRNewswire-Asianet/ --

The new 'World Ocean Review 6', published by mare in cooperation with the 
German Marine Research Consortium and the Future Ocean Network in Kiel, focuses 
on the dramatic climate-induced changes in the Arctic and Antarctic and their 
far-reaching consequences for humans and the environment

The polar regions play an exceptional role in the Earth's climate system. The 
almost endless snow and ice surfaces of the Arctic and Antarctic act like a 
gigantic mirror and radiate up to 90 percent of incident sunlight back into 
space. Because of this, they not only slow down the warming of the Earth, but 
also create large temperature differences between the cold polar regions and 
the warm tropics. This disparity, in turn, drives the global wind and ocean 
currents and contributes significantly to the fact that the heat stored in the 
sea and in the atmosphere is distributed over large areas of the globe and that 
people, animals and plants find reliable living conditions everywhere in the 
world. What happens in the remote polar regions is therefore of concern to each 
and every one of us. Numerous demonstrations not only by climate activists and 
worldwide Fridays for Future protests in recent months have impressively 
pointed out that such reliable living conditions are not self-evident but can 
only be understood as the result of a forward-looking, intergenerational and 
environmentally conscious policy. 

The sixth volume of the publication 'World Ocean Review' (WOR), published with 
the support of the International Ocean Institute (IOI), is therefore entitled 
'The Arctic and Antarctic – extreme, climatically crucial and in crisis'. It is 
edited by climate and polar researchers from the German Marine Research 
Consortium (KDM), the Future Ocean research network in Kiel and the magazine 
mare, who are responsible for the overall concept and preparing the scientific 
contents in a way that is comprehensible to the public. As a bundling of the 
expertise of German marine research, the new issue is dedicated to these two 
extreme and highly contrasting regions of the Earth. The issue provides 
profound information on their origin and significance for life on Earth, as 
well as on the observed climatic changes and their dramatic consequences, some 
of which extend far beyond the borders of the polar regions. 

"Until a few years ago, the Arctic and Antarctic realms were destinations of 
historical expeditions such as those of Scott or Amundsen and home to polar 
bears or penguins," says Nikolaus Gelpke, editor of 'WOR', founder of the 
magazine mare and board member of the International Ocean Institute (IOI). 
"Since the new IPCC special report 'Ocean and Cryosphere in Climate Change', 
however, we have known about the outstanding importance of the polar regions 
for our climate future. The observed changes are symbols for the consequences 
of our industrial development, the melting of the formerly eternal ice stands 
for the loss of control of our actions. Our 'WOR', as an excellent complement 
to the IPCC special report, can hopefully help to deepen our understanding of 
cause-and-effect relationships."

The Arctic is warming more than twice as fast as the rest of the world and is 
now showing a whole new face. Last summer alone, the world witnessed the 
widespread burning of dried out tundra areas in Alaska and Siberia, the melting 
of the Greenlandic ice sheet on its surface during a heat wave, and the 
shrinking of the Arctic Ocean's sea ice cover to the second smallest residual 
area since satellite measurements began. In the Antarctic, heat comes mainly 
from the sea. Warm currents increasingly penetrate under the floating ice 
tongues of West and East Antarctica and melt these so-called ice shelves from 
below. As a result, not only do more icebergs calve, the glaciers now also 
transport more ice from the interior of Antarctica to the sea, so that their 
contribution to global sea-level rise increases and the ice sheets of West and 
East Antarctica thin out overall.

But what consequences do these and other climatic changes have for the highly 
adapted flora and fauna of the Arctic and Antarctic? What are the chances of 
survival for polar bears, walruses, polar cod, krill and all other sea dwellers 
who depend on sea ice for their foraging and breeding? How does the vegetation 
change on land? 'WOR 6' explains the unique adaptation strategies of polar 
flora and fauna and the extent to which polar species are likely to be able to 
adapt to rising air and water temperatures, dwindling food sources and 
migratory competitors.

But where glaciers and sea ice are disappearing, people also gain access to 
previously hidden resources and raw material deposits. The Arctic states in 
particular therefore see climate change as an opportunity to develop their 
northern territories economically. One focus is on the expansion of tourist 
infrastructures such as airports and berths for cruise ships, because the 
worldwide demand for trips to the polar regions is increasing – grotesquely, 
above all, because many nature lovers and adventure tourists have come to the 
conclusion that now is the last chance to see the ice landscapes of the Arctic 
and Antarctic with their own eyes. At the same time, mining and oil companies 
are currently investing large sums in the exploration and extraction of raw 
material deposits in the Arctic, above all in Russia. 'WOR 6' shows which 
expectations are attached to this industrialization, which risks and dangers go 
along with it and which protection precautions are taken. 

"The developments in the polar regions illustrate one of the challenges for 
ocean research to develop solutions across disciplines. The coming decade of 
marine sciences for sustainable development, which aims to combine, increase 
and make available knowledge in order to enable clever development paths in 
human-ocean relations, gives us hope," says Prof. Dr. Nele Matz-Lück, 
spokesperson for the Future Ocean Network in Kiel and maritime law expert at 
the Walther Schücking Institute for International Law at Kiel University.

Germany is one of the leading polar research nations in the world and operates 
research stations, observatories and long-term measurement series in both the 
Arctic and Antarctic. At the time of WOR publication, the ground-breaking 
international Arctic expedition MOSAiC on the German polar research vessel 
Polarstern is also in full swing. The icebreaker will be frozen in the sea ice 
and drift through the central Arctic for about a year. In the meantime, 
researchers from 17 nations are collecting urgently needed data on the 
interactions between atmosphere, ice, ocean and polar ecosystem. 

"Polar research is climate research at the pulse of time, and once again German 
polar, marine and coastal research is proving to be a signpost in the 
international context," says Prof. Dr. Ulrich Bathmann, Director of the 
Leibnitz Institute for Baltic Sea Research Warnemünde (IOW) and Chairman of the 
German Marine Research Consortium. 

The 'World Ocean Review 6' was presented on 7th November 2019 at the 
Schleswig-Holstein representation in Berlin during an evening event with guests 
from politics, business, science, media and education.

Picture is available at AP Images (


maribus gGmbH was founded in 2008 by mare publisher Nikolaus Gelpke. It serves 
as a non-profit organisation for the purpose of sensitising the public to 
marine science and contributing to more effective marine conservation. To date, 
about 170,000 printed copies of the 'WOR' in German and English have been 
ordered and distributed worldwide, in addition to countless online downloads.

'WOR 6' is being published with a total circulation of 20,000 copies. The 
publication is not sold, but given away for free. There is no profit-making 
intent. It is available at At the same time as the 
printed edition, the entire publication will also be published online. In 
addition to the German version, an English edition will also be available 

'World Ocean Review 6 – The Arctic and Antarctic – extreme, climatically 
crucial and in crisis', edited by maribus gGmbH, Hamburg 2019, 332 pages, with 
numerous graphics and photographs, paperback. 


maribus gGmbH 
Bettina Wittich 
Press and Public 
Phone: +49-40-368076-22 

Friederike Balzereit
Kiel University 
Kiel Marine Science (KMS) /
Future Ocean Network
Public Relations 
Phone: +49-431-880-3032 

SOURCE: maribus gGmbH