Germany to rebuild Antarctic base

27th July 2004, Comments 0 comments

27 July 2004, BREMEN - With Germany's 13-year-old Antarctic research base gradually becoming covered by snow, Berlin announced Monday it will rebuild the site a couple of kilometres away.

27 July 2004

BREMEN - With Germany's 13-year-old Antarctic research base gradually becoming covered by snow, Berlin announced Monday it will rebuild the site a couple of kilometres away.

Science Minister Edelgard Bulmahn made the announcement on the opening day of the 28th International Antarctic Conference in the German port city of Bremen. More than 800 experts were at the meeting organised by the Scientific Committee on Antarctic Research (SCAR).

Under the 1959 Antarctic Treaty, which demilitarised the continent, only nations conducting research there can have a voice in Antarctica's management. There are currently 27 such nations.

Georg von Neumayer Station, on the Atlantic coast, was set up in 1981, and had to be replaced in the southern summer of 1991-1992. The new facility, dubbed Neumayer III, will cost EUR 26 million.

Joern Thiede, director of Germany's Bremenhaven-based polar research agency, the Alfred Wegener Institute, said the current site would survive till 2007. "After that it will probably be unusable," he said.

To avoid constant replacement, the new base, two kilometres further south, will be erected on top of the ice and have jacks built in so that it can be regularly raised clear of accumulating snow.

"Polar research is vital to understanding the earth as a system," said Bulmahn. "Without basic science about the complex interactions between the ocean, ice and atmosphere, we can't develop effective strategies to protect the climate and environment," she added.

The meeting in Bremen, with attendance from 39 countries, is the first SCAR conference to be held in Germany.

Pointing out how important Antarctica is to the planet, John Turner of the University of Cambridge said 90 percent of the world's entire supply of non-saline water was there. Minor changes in temperature could have massive effects on the ice.

DPA

Subject: German news

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