Southern Ocean GasEx Blog

Dispatches from the Southern Ocean Gas Exchange Experiment

Ozone’s in da house!

Posted by sogasex on March 6, 2008

By Ludovic Bariteau, CIRES/NOAA PSD

Yesterday we arrived on the study site approximately located at 50°S and 38°W. And all the fun begins here! After some sunny days at sea with a calm ocean, we started to be gently rocked. Although today is calm sea with a heavy fog, we expect more choppy seas for the next few days. My stomach was a bit upset the past morning and my lunch has been light. But everything is back to normal now and the surveillance of the sensors keeps going.

I’m part of the air-sea interaction team from NOAA PSD at Boulder, and I am operating the flux system which contains various sensors to measure momentum, sensible heat, latent heat, ozone and carbon dioxide turbulent fluxes between the atmosphere and ocean. All these atmospheric measurements will help us understand the different processes involved in the air-sea gas exchange in this high wind region. The goal is to improve our gas transfer velocity parameterization. For that purpose, we are working in collaboration with other teams from Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory, University of Connecticut and University of Hawaii in order to measure an important panel of processes between the air and ocean.

As a lot has been already said about carbon dioxide, I’m going to talk briefly about ozone. This project is in collaboration with INSTAAR laboratory from University of Colorado. Ozone is also a gas that contributes to greenhouse warming. The interesting thing about ozone is that it can be supportive or harmful for life. In the stratosphere, the ozone layer protects living organisms from dangerous ultraviolet radiation, whereas in the troposphere it becomes an air pollutant that can cause health problems. Like carbon dioxide, it is important to have a good understanding of the global ozone atmospheric budget. One significant term in this budget is the deposition to the oceans, but direct observations from ships are quite rare. Thus this is a great opportunity to do such measurements onboard this ship. If you want to learn more about this exciting project, click here.

As I am writing, we’re currently surveying the study site as David explained earlier (see David’s post from Mar 4). So there is more news to come!

PS: Visit also my weekly postings at CIRES

uh-van-scaled.jpg

View of the ozone sensor inside the University of Hawaii’s van.

bow-jackstaff-scaled.jpg

The flux sensors deployed on the mast located at the ship’s bow

sunset-scaled.jpg

Sunset observed from the Ronald H. Brown when the sky was nice and the sea quiet.

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