Theme 2: Air-sea interface and fluxes of mass and energy


Ocean-atmosphere fluxes play a critical role in the regulation of climate. We therefore need to come to a mechanistic understanding of physical, chemical and biological processes affecting exchange of gases, mass, and energy across the air-sea interface from nanometer to global scales.

files/solas-int/content/downloads/Resources/Figures & Conceptual Diagrams/Theme 2.gif

Figure 2: Dominant processes controlling air-sea fluxes of mass and energy in the open ocean.

Theme 2 Team

Team leaders:
Anja Engel (Germany,
Peter Minnett (United States,
Anna Rutgersson (Sweden,
Hiroshi Tanimoto (Japan,

Team members:
Susannah Burrows (United States)
Haibing Ding (China,
Robert Upstill-Goddard (United Kingdom,

Research questions

Key questions to be addressed within this theme are:

  • What are the biogeochemical mechanisms that influence fluxes of gas, mass, and energy at the surface ocean boundary layer?
  • How can the turbulence-controlling processes be incorporated into parameterisation schemes describing the air-sea fluxes of mass and energy?
  • What are the feedbacks between processes governing air-sea fluxes and climate?


Coordinated measurements
We should support joint coordinated measurement efforts of fluxes as a basis to compare methods, instruments, and processes. This can be either achieved with existing stationary stations, where instruments are attached to buoys, or with ongoing and planned cruises. Remote sensing is an important tool to determine features of sampling sites prior to  studies.

Station and cruise lists
We should provide a list of air-sea flux time series stations and cruises on the webpage.

Time Series Station
In addition, we should establish a SOLAS Time Series Station (SLIC – Surface ocean Lower atmosphere International/Integrated Campaign/Center) with long-term observing systems to combine methods and conduct intercomparisons. We propose to establish this station at the Cape Verde observatory. An initial working group to pursue this initiative includes Prof. Anja Engel ( and Prof. Christa Marandino (

Planned activities

There are several ongoing national/international projects of relevance, information concerning these projects and their outcomes should be distributed to the community (Milan, Peacetime, Integral). The list of ongoing and new projects is being regularly updated on this SOLAS webpage, with links to individual projects.
In addition, joint international projects focusing the Theme 2 science questions (EU, NSF, SCOR, COST) should be initiated.
We are working on setting up joint international collaborations focusing the Theme 2 science questions, for example:  
  • SOLAS Time Series Station (SLIC) at the Cape Verde Observatory. An initial working group, including Prof. Anja Engel ( and Prof. Christa Marandino (, has been set up for this.
  • Setting up benchmark measurements for model validations (a SCOR project to combine modelers and observationalists for defining relevant parameters and identify existing and new data sets).
  • Structured and broad method evaluation of flux measurements or surfactant analysis (
  • Remote sensing. Contact person is Peter Minnett (

Joint meetings and workshops
For an active development of the science and the community it is needed to organise joint activities including:
  • Sessions at major international meetings (AGU, EGU, Gordon Research Conference)
  • Contribution to the SOLAS Summer School 2018
  • Coordinate publication efforts (e.g. Research TOPIC in Frontiers)
  • Update SOLAS website on activities, publications, cruises etc.

- last update April 2018 -