re:publica 17 - sub:marine

Together with our partner Science Year 2016*17, we are initiating the “sub:marine” track at re:publica 2017 which will focus on exciting questions regarding ocean habitats and the sustainable use of our natural resources. We'll be looking at fascinating technologies being implemented in our planet's seas and discuss topics of Open Sea Data and the Internet of Things of the Ocean. We'll also focus on how we can make science even more exciting and aesthetically accessible.



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Smart Arctic

Martina Loebl

Zwischen Grönland, Spitzbergen und der Zentral-Arktis liegt die Fram-Straße. Sie ist das Tor zur Arktis - nicht nur für den Menschen, sondern auch für die warmen Wassermassen des Atlantiks. Der Klimawandel verändert diese schwer zugängliche Region gerade massiv. Um die Folgen in der Fram-Straße und der Zentral-Arktis beobachten zu können, errichtet das Alfred-Wegener-Institut das modulare Arktis Observatorium FRAM. Modernste Messplattformen, Tiefsee-Robotik sowie neueste IT-Infrastuktur und Open Data policy öffnen das Tor zur Arktis nun auch für die Digitale Gesellschaft. Es wird bald möglich sein z.T. in Echtzeit zu verfolgen, wie sich die Umwelt in der Arktis verändert, auf dem Eis, unter dem Eis, im Wasser und am Meeresboden. 

Antarctica unplugged – climate change, ice dynamics and sea-level rise

Ricarda Winkelmann

Colder, windier, drier than anywhere else on the globe - Antarctica is a continent of superlatives. It is covered by a massive ice-sheet, storing water equivalent to more than 50 meters of global sea-level rise. The ice is constantly moving, flowing from the continent’s interior towards the ocean - forming, melting, re-freezing, breaking. To this day, these complex dynamics of the Antarctic Ice Sheet are the key challenge for projections of future sea-level rise under climate change. Recent observations show that part of the West Antarctic Ice Sheet is rapidly retreating, and that this retreat is likely irreversible on human timescales. Other regions are currently protected by so-called ice plugs, small volumes of ice which hinder the onset of a dynamic instability. However, man-made climate change increases the risk of triggering persistent ice discharge from the adjacent basins into the ocean. We will review the processes behind these dynamic (in)stabilities and explore the implications for future sea-level rise. Burning all of the world’s available fossil-fuel resources could eventually result in the complete melting of the Antarctic Ice Sheet and cause long-term global sea-level rise unprecedented in human history.

Aquatocene / Subaquatic quest for serenity (en)

Robertina Sebjanic

The audio compositions of Aquatocene / The subaquatic quest for serenit encourage us to reflect upon the anthropogenic sonic impact on the underwater habitat and marine life, as well as illuminate awareness and underscore the importance of maintaining safe sound environments for animals living in the world’s oceans, seas, lakes and rivers. 
Over the last few years the artist had made a number of recordings using hydrophones in different locations around the globe. Underwater noise effects a great number of marine life forms which depend on the sub-aquatic sonic environment to survive. Despite the broad availability of popular aquatic sounds, we aren’t really aware that the underwater soundscape is as rich as the one heard by terrestrial creatures above water. Aside from lacking experience in terms of the fascinating diversity of marine sound, we are also not aware that sonic pollution caused by humans is already changing the soundscape of the waters and even the communication of its inhabitants.
When we look up to the sky, look into space and wonder about what is up there we sometimes forget that there is still a lot left for us to explore on the planet we live on. We know more about space than we know about the world’s seas and oceans, especially when it comes to sound perception underwater. Technological interventions into the ocean soundscape by ships, sonars and sound cannons (used in oil exploration) can create huge disturbances in fragile marine habitats and have been connected to a number of effects ranging from the beaching of whales to the »Lombard effect« where certain species themselves become louder to overcome background noise, thereby gradually increasing the intensity of the entire habitat.
Water habitats cover over 70% of the Earth’s surface. 97% of the world’s water is saltwater, 2% is fresh water in the form of ice and only the remaining 1% is drinking water, which is distributed around the planet very unevenly. The exploration of an ecosystem requires detailed study and observation. The ocean is the most complex, challenging, and harsh environment on Earth and accessing it requires specially designed tools and technology. The technological advances have finally reached the point 50 years ago that enables us to examine the ocean in a systematic, scientific, and non invasive way. Our ability to observe the ocean’s environment and its resident creatures has finally caught up with our imaginations and helped us to understand it in ways we could not even envision them before. 

Küstenmeere im Stress - Das globale Klima und seine lokalen Auswirkungen

Ulrich Bathmann

Forschung liefert das Grundlagenwissen, um diese und weitere Fragen
beantworten zu können. Es werden allerdings keine einfachen Antworten
sein, denn zuvor müssen Forscherinnen und Forscher das System Meer
begreifen, um die wissenschaftliche Grundlage für eine nachhaltige
Nutzung der Meere und Ozeane bereitzustellen.
Politische Entscheidungen sollten immer noch evidenzbasiert getroffen
werden. Von daher werden einige abgesicherte Fakten präsentiert,
die als Diskussionsgrundlage dienen können.