RV Polarstern arrives in Cape Town after five weeks at sea. | POGO

RV Polarstern arrives in Cape Town after five weeks at sea.

01/12/2015  - Team of Young Scientists takes the Vital Signs of the Atlantic Ocean.

The research vessel RV Polarstern will arrive in Cape Town on Tuesday 1st December after a 5 week voyage from Germany during which 32 international young scientists were trained in how to observe and measure the vital signs of the Atlantic Ocean. These young people from 19 different countries from Europe, Africa, Asia and America (including three students from South Africa, 6 students from Germany and 8 students from Ireland), were sponsored by the Alfred Wegener Institute Helmholtz Center for Polar and Marine Research (AWI), the Nippon Foundation, the Partnership for Observation of the Global Ocean (POGO) and the Strategic Marine Alliance for Research and Training (SMART) in a concerted effort to increase ocean going training and build capacity for marine research .

The Atlantic Ocean with its definite biogeographical gradients in temperature and salinity as well as its zones of upwelling is an integral part of our Planet´s acclimatization system. With the backdrop of climate change and an increasing El Niño signature it is imperative to know how our ocean functions.  We therefore need the ships, the instrumentation and, most importantly, well-educated scientists all over the world to secure the ocean’s future for our planet.

On a dreary foggy day at the end of October the RV Polarstern left the Northern Hemisphere on a quest to train 32 young scientists in oceanographic measurements and sampling at sea.


 “We as young scientists need as much practical experience as possible, and ship board training on a professional vessel like the RV Polarstern is the perfect training method”, says Eleni from Greece.


Seán from Ireland- who has experience from all over the world adds: “This is an innovative ocean learning experience which includes team building, supervised by professionals. This will serve to increase the overall professionality of future ocean-going scientists”.


While all scientists are looking forward to being on land again and to bringing home their new found expertise in handling large bodies of ocean data from endless instrument casts into the deep, they also are really sad to leave the RV Polarstern and the vast ocean realm.

Amy from Cape Town looking at the Cape, as the Grande Dame of the World´s research fleet, Polarstern, steams into port and says: “This was an awesome experience where I could put my University knowledge to good practical use, along with 31 other young scientists. I will never forget what I learnt on this cruise and we are all grateful to the crew and teachers for their time and patience”.

Thirty two young ocean scientists from all corners of the Earth will return home to their countries with new gained experiences. All will have contributed to the ocean data base required for Global Ocean Observation and advancement of climate modelling, securing our planet’s future.



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