The 2022 – 2023 RV Polarstern expedition PS134 itinerary

This year, Gerlien, Meltse and Matthias will be part of the RV Polarstern expedition PS134 titled “West Antarctic Ice Sheet history and Processes in the Bellingshausen Sea sector” conducted by the Alfred Wegener Institute Helmholtz-Centre for Polar and Marine research (AWI) in Bremerhaven, Germany. The expedition, led by Prof. Karsten Gohl, will begin in Cape Town (South Africa) on December 23rd 2022 and end in Punta Arenas (Chile) on March 6th 2023 after an 11-week cruise to Antarctica and along its coast.

The expedition begins with the transit across the Atlantic sector of the Southern Ocean. Next, the expedition will head to the German Neumayer Station III in western Dronning Maud Land for a 3-day resupply mission. Arrival at Neumayer Station is estimated for January 2nd or 3rd. After, the expedition will transit across the Weddell Sea and around the Antarctic Peninsula, before reaching the Bellingshausen Sea. This transit will take about 9 – 10 days, depending on ice conditions. This leaves a 42 – 45 day window for surveying and sampling in the Bellingshausen and Amundsen seas, before the final 5 – 6 day return transit to Punta Arenas.

In the main research area of the Bellingshausen Sea and eastern Amundsen Sea, the scientific groups of expedition PS134 will collect geophysical, geological and biological data and samples. The geoscientific research purpose is to reconstruct the dynamics of the West Antarctic Ice Sheet in particular from warm times in the geological past that are considered an analogue to modern climate change. Biological research will be undertaken to understand the evolution and ecology of Antarctic jellyfish. A large part of the research activities will be conducted in the area where the Belgica of Adrien de Gerlache and his crew and scientists got stuck in ice 125 years ago.

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