Field Observations of Sea Spray, Gas Fluxes and Whitecaps: SEASAW

Sea spray aerosol particles, generated primarily by the action of the wind on the ocean surface, make a major contribution to the atmospheric aerosol over the global oceans. Their ability to participate in heterogeneous atmospheric chemical processes and especially their activity as cloud condensation nuclei make them very important in global climate processes. Similarly, the air-sea fluxes of trace gases, are influenced by wind speed and whitecap processes. The flux of carbon dioxide between atmosphere and ocean is a controlling factor on the concentration of CO2 in the atmosphere, but there are large uncertainties in the size of the flux as a function of wind speed; and the effects of factors such as wave breaking, surfacants, etc are almost entirely unknown. This project will measure these fluxes by direct eddy-covariance methods and other techniques in order to determine their dependence upon environmental factors.

The project is led by Dr Ian Brooks, along with Prof. Michael Smith, and Dr Jim McQuaid at Leeds University and in collaboration with Dr Margaret Yelland, Dr Ben Moat, and Dr Meric Srokosz at the National Oceanography Centre in Southamption, and Dr David Woolf, now at the University of the Highland and Islands, Scotland.

A 6-week research cruise (D313) on the RRS Discovery took place in the north-east Atlantic during November-December 2006. This was a joint cruise with the closely related Deep Ocean Gas Exchange Experiment (DOGEE) project lead by Prof. Rob Upstill-Goddard from the University of Newcastle, and Dr Phil Nightingale at the Plymouth Marine Laboratory. A combination of extremely bad weather and problems with the ship meant very little science was achieved on this cruise. A second SEASAW cruise (D317) took place between March 21 and April 12 2007 (see the D317 cruise diary) - we had much better luck this time, and obtained a great data set.

SEASAW Publications

Details of all SEASAW papers, conference abstracts etc. can be found on the SEASAW publications page. Extended abstracts from the 15th AMS conference on air-sea interaction, August 2007 are available.

SEASAW is funded by NERC as part of the UK SOLAS programme.


SEASAW publications list | Cruise Report

School of Earth & Environment | Institute for Atmospheric Science