Weddell Sea and Dronning Maud Land Working Group



The Weddell Sea including the ocean off Dronning Maud Land is regionally representative for the high latitude Southern Ocean, due to its pronounced seasonality and circum-polar currents and it is unique for its deep-water formation and multi-year sea-ice cover. In addition, the Weddell Gyre connects water masses at the northern margin of the Southern Ocean (SO) in the Antarctic Circumpolar Current (ACC) with those shaped by the large ice shelves and sea ice formation in the southern Weddell Sea. This hydrodynamic regime affects additional physical, geochemical and biological processes. A smaller proportion of the region in the western Weddell Sea is under climate-change stress, experiencing the disintegration of ice shelves and enhanced freshening due to ocean warming and changes in wind stress patterns. In the eastern part, however, the environment is relatively stable until recently but is still predicted to experience significant warming, sea-ice melting and loss of ice-shelf until the end of the century. The recent re-emergence of the Weddell Polynya in this region, for unknown reasons and with potentially significant impact to regional watermasses underscores the importance of observing and understanding this region.

The Weddell Sea and Dronning Maud Land (WS-DML) Working Group (WG) will facilitate coordinated and standardized observational studies of major physical, chemical and biological variables including their drivers and interactions. This refers to a regional but also a circum-Antarctic approach. The WS-DML WG will contribute to an increase in quality of the science output, and strengthen the awareness of the relevance of research in the WS-DML sector of the Southern Ocean through international projects contributing to the SOOS.

The WS-DML WG is open for involvement to anyone working in the WS-DML region. Contact Sebastien Moreau, Julian Gutt, Laura de Steur or Markus Janout to register your interest.


Current WG Activities

Information coming soon


The SOOS WS-DML WG aims to fulfill the following terms of reference:

  1. Develop and enable regional-scale observing using SOOS best practice for observing systems, including areas from which data sets already exist, to detect long-term changes.
  2. Identify physical, geochemical and biological key processes and their coupling in areas of the WS-DML region under climate change as well as in presently stable areas expected to experience warming and melting of sea-ice in the future.
  3. Identify and assemble key legacy data sets and sampling techniques.
  4. Provide best practice sampling protocols to enable the standardization of measurements.
  5. Based on the experience in the region, identify data gaps and bottlenecks in the observation systems that hinder a comprehensive understanding of the physical, geochemical and biological systems.
  6. Facilitate coordinated and, where possible, multi-disciplinary observations.
  7. Make plans of operations available on the SOOS website to increase collaboration amongst the international community.
  8. Facilitate procedures to achieve data availability across the science community according to SOOS data policy, which includes the publication of data and meta-data.
  9. Convene focussed sessions at international meetings, including SCAR, SCOR and their scientific initiatives, and facilitate synthesis products, to increase the awareness of the science community to the importance of the Weddell Sea – Dronning Maud Land region. Also joint events with the International Arctic Science Committee (IASC) on polar comparative observations and analysis as well as should be supported.
  10. Provide support to the International Program Office (IPO) by providing short reports to be available at the SOOS SSC annual meeting, as well as providing content for the IPO website/newsletters on the activities and outcome.
  11. Contribute to international initiatives assessing the state of the SO, especially with reference to climate change, pollution and the exploitation of natural resources.
  12. Support stakeholders with scientific information, especially the initiative to develop an MPA; support the MPA management plan after its endorsement.


This WG is open to all interested participants, please contact the Co-Chairs if you wish to be involved. This working group is currently building membership

Name Affiliation Nationality Expertise WG Role
Julian Gutt Alfred Wegener Institute Germany Oceanography Co-Chair
Markus Janout Alfred Wegener Institute Germany Oceanography Co-Chair
Sebastien Moreau Norwegian Polar Institute Norway Biological oceanography Co-Chair
Laura de Steur Norwegian Polar Institute Norway Physical Oceangraphy Co-Chair
Andrew Meijers British Antarctic Survey U.K.  Physical Oceangraphy SSC liaison
Jean-Baptiste Sallée Laboratoire d'Océanographie et du Climat France   Member
Louise Biddle University of Gothenburg Sweden   Member
Sarah Fawcett University of Capetown South Africa   Member
Mia Wege  University of Pretoria South Africa   APECS representative
Uwe Nixdorf Alfred Wegener Institute Germany   COMNAP representative
Odd Aksel Bergstad Institute of Marine Research Norway   Natural resources and conservation expert



Contributing Field and Modeling Activities

Active Projects

Wapiti Wapiti Dronning Maud Land Ecosystem Cruise 
Dates Project Principal Investigator
Long term The Hybrid Antarctic Float Observing System (HAFOS)  
2016-2021 Ocean Regulation of Climate through Heat and Carbon Sequestration and Transports (ORCHESTRA) M. Meredith
2019 The Weddell Sea Expedition 2019  
 2019 Dronning Maud Land Ecosystem Cruise  


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