An icebreaker belonging to Germany’s Alfred Wegener Institute (AWI) returned to Germany Monday with what the scientists on board say is proof of a dying Arctic Ocean and warnings of ice-free summers, after a more than yearlong expedition that included time at the North Pole.
Expedition leader Markus Rex said the team collected a wealth of data that will be used to improve scientific models of global warming to predict climate change in the decades to come, especially in the Arctic, where changes have come faster than elsewhere on Earth.
Rex, an atmospheric scientist at AWI for Polar and Ocean Research that organized the expedition, said that scientists witnessed firsthand the dramatic effects of global warming on ice in the Arctic Circle, considered "the epicenter of climate change.”
The RV Polarstern arrived in the North Sea port of Bremerhaven, 389 days after it set off on its mission.
More than 300 scientists from 20 countries, including the United States, Britain, France, Russia and China participated in the $177-million expedition.