The Surface Ocean Lower Atmosphere Study (SOLAS) is an international research initiative aiming to achieve quantitative understanding of the key biogeochemical-physical interactions and feedbacks between the ocean and atmosphere, in order to understand and quantify the role that ocean-atmosphere interactions play in the regulation of climate and global change. The initiative is coordinated at the international level and has set up a networking group to work on carbon research topics in cooperation with the project Integrated Marine Biogeochemistry and Ecosystem Research (IMBER) and the International Ocean Carbon Coordination Project (IOCCP). In addition, the project team is collaborating with scientific organisations on short and limited term topical projects, such as CarboChange.
The scientific community involved in this research initiative is composed of scientists from many disciplines, such as oceanography, ecology, biogeochemistry, physics, chemistry and atmospheric sciences. The research is related to three focus areas:
- Biogeochemical interactions and feedbacks between ocean and atmosphere
The objective in this focus area is to quantify feedback mechanisms involving biogeochemical coupling across the air-sea interface, which can only be achieved by studying the ocean and atmosphere interactions. These couplings include emissions of trace gases and particles and their reactions of importance in atmospheric chemistry and climate, and deposition of nutrients that control marine biological activity and carbon uptake.
- Exchange processes at the Air-Sea interface and the role of transport and transformation in the atmospheric and oceanic boundary layers
The objective of this area is to develop a quantitative understanding of processes responsible for air-sea exchange of mass, momentum and energy to permit accurate calculation of regional and global fluxes. This requires establishing the dependence of these interfacial transfer mechanisms on physical, biological and chemical factors within the boundary layers.
- Air-Sea flux of CO2 and other long-lived radiate gases
The air-sea CO2 flux is a key inter-reservoir exchange within the global carbon cycle. The oceans also play an important role in the global budgets of other long-lived radiate gases, including N2O and to some extent CH4. The objective of this area is to characterise the air-sea flux of these gases and the mechanisms that drive them, identifying and assessing their sensitivity to variations in environmental forcing.
SOLAS International Project Office : The Surface Ocean - Lower Atmosphere Study, Science plan and implementation strategy. IGBP report 50, 2004.