The first implementation strategy of SOLAS (2003) had a major focus on the science that underlies ocean iron fertilisation, and the oceanic and atmospheric feedbacks (such as the release of dimethyl sulfide, and the drawdown of carbon dioxide) to this perturbation. This research informed policy, via the Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission guide to policymakers, and international legislation (International Maritime Organisation 2013 amendment to the London Convention (LC) and London Protocol (LP)).

files/solas-int/content/downloads/Resources/Figures & Conceptual Diagrams/G.eng.gifFigure 6: The five core themes of phase two of SOLAS. Each overlaid with specific physico-chemical and biogeochemical observations, process studies, and modelling that will together provide detailed insights into the challenges and benefits of using negative emission techniques (NETs) to intervene in global climate. Their combined impact will be to enhance the ability of international researchers to conduct independent assessment of the efficacy of a range of atmospheric and oceanic geoengineering approaches, which is a key requirement for governance.

Geoengineering Team

Team members:
Phil Boyd (Australia,
Cliff Law (New Zealand,


Provide knowledge

A multi-disciplinary focus on the interface between the ocean and atmosphere places SOLAS in an ideal position to provide Future Earth, and organisations such as SCOR, with fundamental knowledge (Figure 6) that will inform assessment of the two primary forms of geoengineering (Carbon Dioxide Removal (CDR); and Solar Radiation Management (SRM)).

Extend previous research

The second SOLAS science plan comprises five distinct themes each of which have multiple strands with the potential to provide insights into physical, chemical, biological, and ecological facets of geoengineering. Hence in the second phase of SOLAS each of the five themes will broaden previous research to assess oceanic and atmospheric responses to perturbation of the boundary layer (such as foams to modify albedo); lower atmosphere (such as marine cloud brightening) and upper ocean (such as ocean alkalisation).


This joint focus will involve lab experiments, observations, natural analogues, and modelling, for assessment of feedbacks between the Surface Ocean and Lower Atmosphere (Figure 6). Importantly, these approaches will not contravene existing codes of conduct or regulation (such as the United Nations Convention on Biological Diversity moratorium, or the LC/LP convention), but will provide detailed information on a suite of unaddressed questions. As was the case in the first phase of SOLAS, the implementation of this science will go hand in hand with the translation of the science into policy and environmental legislation. 

Planned activities

Each of the steps below are essential to develop and co-ordinate the proposed research areas identified in Figure 6, and their uptake by Future Earth.

  • Prepare a 4-5 page working document that will be used to structure the subsequent cross theme workshop.
  • Co-ordinate and run a cross-theme SOLAS workshop to bring together observationalists and modellers to assess where and how SOLAS Science can best inform negative emission techniques (NETs).
  • Assess broader (Earth System) NETs approaches & requirements with scientists from other programmes within Future Earth, including socio-economists.
  • Foster an “umbrella” organisation (perhaps a Knowledge Action Network) for governance and/or guidelines for scientists to independently carry out NETs-related activities.

- last update April 2018 -