Surface-Ocean / Lower Atmosphere Study (SOLAS)

Programme overview

The UK Surface-Ocean / Lower Atmosphere Study (UK SOLAS) programme studied interactions between the atmosphere and oceans, focusing on chemical exchanges that affect marine productivity, atmospheric composition, and climate.

Background & objectives

The aim of this research was to improve our ability to predict climate change, giving insights into the natural marine production and fate of important trace gases and to show whether these processes are sensitive to other environmental factors.

The main aims of the SOLAS programme were:

  • to identify important trace gas production and loss processes in the surface ocean;
  • to determine the impact of dynamic physical, chemical and biological processes on trace gas production and breakdown in the marine environment, with particular emphasis on the microbial loop;
  • to improve understanding of the atmospheric transport, cycling and deposition of dust and nutrients;
  • to assess the importance of marine sources of aerosols and influences on their dynamics;
  • to determine the role of trace gas emissions in modifying the oxidising capacity of the atmosphere;
  • to reduce the existing uncertainty in the air-sea fluxes of trace gases;
  • to determine the role of the sea surface microlayer in regulating material fluxes to the atmosphere.

Reports & key findings

The UK SOLAS final report below has details of the programme's main findings:

UK SOLAS final report (PDF, 1.5MB)

Case studies

The following case study is linked to this research programme.

Understanding complex interactions between ocean and atmosphere (PDF, 84KB)
Synopsis: Sea and air interact in many different ways, exchanging, for example, heat, CO2 and momentum. Continuous and sustained measurements of these 'fluxes' are being taken at sea, providing a more detailed understanding of the Earth's climate.