CliSAP successfully finished in 2018. Climate research continues in the Cluster of Excellence "CLICCS".

With the FerryBox to Namibia - KlimaCampus researchers investigate coastal upwelling system


What are the relationships between climate change, nutrient cycles and climate-relevant gases? The goal of a recent expedition of the research vessel METEOR to the continental shelf off Namibia was to help answer this question. From the 17th of May to the 4th of June scientists from the KlimaCampus Hamburg, the Max Planck Institute for Marine Microbiology Bremen and the Institute for Baltic Sea Research Warnemünde focussed on the northern Benguela upwelling region. With this cruise, the interdisciplinary project GENUS, which will be funded by the Federal Research Ministry from 2009, starts its work.

The ecological and economical importance of coastal and shelf seas is immense. Around 25% of global biological productivity and about 90% of the world´s fish harvest originate in these regions. Global climate change will, however, cause profound changes in them. The coastal upwelling system off Namibia has been shown to be very sensitive to climate change. For example, a change in the physical forcing by the trade winds changes the water circulation and, subsequently, the oxygen conditions. The oxygen concentration of the water, in turn, influences the nutrient cycles and thus the entire ecosystem.

The central objective of the investigations was to detect and to quantify these interrelationships. Using the so-called FerryBox, an instrument originally developed for environmental monitoring purposes by the Institute for Coastal Research of the GKSS, the scientists detected low oxygen concentrations near the coast and simultaneously high CO2 partial pressures (pCO2) and nutrients in the water. These new results document extreme temporal and spatial variability in the oxygen availability - ideal conditions for determining the dependency of the nutrient cycles on the oxygen concentrations at depth. This is one of the central objectives of the GENUS project.

Ute Kreis
KlimaCampus Hamburg, Outreach
Tel: +49 (0) 40 42838 4523

Professor Dr. Kay-Christian Emeis
Institute for Biogeochemistry and Marine Chemistry, University of Hamburg
Tel: +49 (0) 40 42838 4992
E-Mail: Emeis(at)