So wunderbar ist der Arbeitsplatz Arktis | Polarstern

So wunderbar ist der Arbeitsplatz Arktis

Von Ida und Michael

Letzte Woche fanden in Lindau die 65. Nobelpreistagungen statt. Sechs Tage lang schraubten 650 der weltbesten Nachwuchswissenschaftler und gestandene Nobelpreisträger den IQ der schönen Bodensee-Stadt noch mal signifikant nach oben. Wir sind stolz während der Zeit, die renommierte Wissenschaftlerin Anais J. Orsi in der Polarstern-Family beherbergt zu haben. Anais untersucht klimatische Veränderungen anhand von Schneeschichten in der Arktis. Wenn man eine Wissenschaftlerin mit dem Zeug zur Nobelpreisträgerin zu Besuch hat, brennen einem natürlich Fragen zur Arbeit im Eis wie Eis auf der Zunge. Vor allem bei dieser Hitze. 

Is there any key experience that made you want to research on climate change and energy?

ANAIS I grew up hiking and mountaineering in the alps. We would read the accounts of famous routes written in the 1970's but realised many times that some routes are nowadays unpractical as early as June because of crevasses. Hiking in the alps and watching glaciers shrink is a clear sign of climate change. I've always been interested in science, and doing research on climate change is for me the perfect combination of adventure, intellectual challenge, and a meaningful contribution to society.

How does it feel to work in the untouched wild nature? Lonely or free?

ANAIS It feels free. It's not lonely at all. We are there in a team, and we work together, night and day, to do our best. We have a very small connection to the outside world, and have time to learn about each other and develop deep friendships. We are in a place with no laws, no rules. The only law is not to hurt or be hurt. If something happens, or we break something, it's up to us to fix it. It could feel stressful, but overcoming obstacles is very rewarding, and having a "can do" attitude makes you feel like everything is possible. So yes, we feel free...

How visible are the signs of climatic change in the arctic?

ANAIS This is a tricky question : to see climate *change* you first have to see the "normal" climate, so a casual visitor would not really notice something special if he hasn't been there before. Nevertheless, for a scientist, there are a lot of clear signs. First, the surface temperature in Greenland is clearly warming. I have measured it at NEEM in North West Greenland, and found a 2.6°C warming trend in the last 30 years. It's a lot. Second, there is a very strong reduction of the arctic sea ice cover, and a shift from old ("multi-year") ice to young ("first year") ice. Third, Greenland has been loosing mass, through accelerating glaciers falling into the ocean. However, each of these signs are a mixture of natural climate change, and man-made climate change. It's actually quite difficult to separate the two because the "normal" climate is a moving target. But we suspect that some of these changes are man-made by comparing past changes over several hundred years with the current changes. Greenland is warmer than it has been for at least 300 years for instance. So we have good reasons to suspect that something unusual is going on.

What can each of us at home do to protect the arctic ice?

ANAIS You cannot protect the arctic ice directly, but you can do two things about climate change in general.

1) Be aware that the climate is changing :

Listen to what is going on in the region where you live. Where does the water come from, is there a risk for drought if there is rain instead of snow in winter? Are you at risk of flooding? Ask questions to your local governement, and make sure that there is a plan to address the risks in your region.

Pick a day of the year, and your favorite natural place (perhaps your backyard, or nearby park). Take a picture of it once a year, on exactly the same day, and start a gallery in your home. Perhaps slowly, you'll notice things changing. I can guarantee you that the first thing you'll notice is that climate is variable, and from one year to the next, one day to the next, things can be quite different, but eventually, a trend will emerge, and it will be your own personal story about climate change, that you'll be able to tell your children and friends about.

This sort of project makes sure that we don't forget what the world used to look like...

2) Help prevent more greenhouse warming.

We are adding carbon dioxide (CO2) in the atmosphere, and carbon dioxide traps heat, so it warms the Earth. Nobody can deny that, it's basic physics. What people argue about is how much warming can come from the increase of CO2. It's complicated because most of the CO2 goes into the ocean, and because the heat also goes partially into the ocean, and partially gets spent on other aspects of climate, like evaporating and condensing water.

What we know for sure is that 1) we see warming, and 2) CO2 warms the earth. So to reduce the risk of too much warming, it's reasonable to limit the CO2 emissions. CO2 comes from burning fuel, and in order to reduce our fuel consumption, we need to spend less energy. There are many ways to do this, and you can learn about it online, and find the ways that works the best for you. We have not found a solution to climate change yet because the solutions proposed are impractical, or too difficult. We need your intelligence. If you learn a bit about ways to spend less energy, you can come up with something that works for you as a person, and be an example for your community.

Thank You, Anais!


Wer mehr über die Arbeit von Anais J. Orsi wissen möchte: Der Blog zur Polarmission in Norwegen ist wirklich lesenswert. Ebenso die wissenschaftlichen Aufsätze von Anais. Und natürlich beginnt Klimaschutz zu Hause. Mit Wirklich Ökostrom aus 100 % deutscher Wasserkraft und Wirklich Ökogas aus 100 % organischen Reststoffen verhinderst du tonnenweise CO2 im Jahr. 

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