As the Helmholtz Centre for Polar and Marine Research, the Alfred Wegener Institute is primarily active in the cold and temperate regions of the world. Working together with numerous national and international partners, we are actively involved in unravelling the complex processes at work in the “Earth System”. Our planet is undergoing fundamental climate change; the polar regions and the oceans, which play central roles in the global climate system, are in flux. How will planet Earth evolve? Do the phenomena we’re observing represent short-term fluctuations or long-term trends? Polar and marine research has always been a fascinating scientific challenge; today it is also research into the future.