Air-sea gas exchange

The transport of gases between the ocean and atmosphere has profound implications for our environment and the Earth's climate. 

The Air-Sea Exchange (ASE) group focuses on the processes that control gas and particle exchange between the ocean and atmosphere, which has profound implications for our environment and the Earth's climate. There are many complex processes involved in air-sea gas exchange and understanding them is critical to future climate change scenarios.

Air-sea exchange is important for the cycling of gases such as carbon dioxide, methane, nitrous oxide, dimethylsulfide and ammonia. These compounds are important for our climate because they are either greenhouse gases or influence the production and growth of particles in the atmosphere that reflect solar radiation away from the Earth’s surface.

We also study the air-sea exchange processes relevant to ozone, particles and volatile organic compounds, all of which are relevant to our understanding of how the ocean influences atmospheric processing and air pollution.

We established the Penlee Point Atmospheric Observatory, an ideal platform for us to study the interactions between the ocean and the atmosphere.

Our big research questions are:

  • What are the processes at the ocean/atmosphere interface that control the air-sea transfer of gases and particles?
  • What are the key biological and chemical processes in the surface ocean that control the concentrations of climate- and pollution-relevant trace gases?
  • How are the atmospheric emissions from ships and the regulation of these emissions influencing the marine environment?

     

Making a difference

Our work helps to improve understanding of the role that the oceans play in the Earth system. Our data is used within models to understand how the air-sea fluxes of gases might change in response to various future scenarios including changes in marine biota, ocean acidification, warming and other stressors. 
 

Further information

Please feel free to contact Dr Tom Bell or other members of the group if you are interested in working or studying within the group.

 

Events

PML is hosting the 8th International Symposium on Gas Transfer at Water Surfaces, 18-21 May 2021. See https://www.pml.ac.uk/GTWS2020 for further information.

Projects

ESA-SOLAS - OceanFlux Greenhouse Gases
Completed

ESA-SOLAS - OceanFlux Greenhouse Gases

Contact: Professor Philip Nightingale

Transport of gases between the ocean and the atmosphere, known as ‘air-sea gas exchange’, have profound implications for our...

Radiatively Active Gases from the North Atlantic RegiOn and Climate Change (RAGNARoCC)
Completed

Radiatively Active Gases from the North Atlantic RegiOn and Climate Change (RAGNARoCC)

Contact: Dr Vassilis Kitidis

The exchange of natural and man-made gases between the ocean and the atmosphere has profound implications for our environment. The speed of the gas...

AMT4OceanSatFlux
Completed

Atlantic Meridional Transect Ocean Flux from Satellite Campaign (AMT4OceanSatFlux)

Contact: Dr Gavin Tilstone

The AMT4OceanSatFlux project will measure the flux of carbon dioxide (CO2) between the atmosphere and the ocean utilising a state-of-the-art eddy...

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Other recent news articles

News

First direct measurement of air-sea methanol exchange

A new study by PML scientists has been published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS) describing the first direct measurement of air-sea methanol exchange over the open ocean, along a north-south transect of the Atlantic.

News

Acidifying oceans may threaten crucial links in Earth climate cycles

A review of more than two hundred studies highlights where research needs to focus if we are to understand vital oceanic processes that can alter the Earth’s climate.

News

Campaign underway to measure carbon dioxide in the Atlantic Ocean

A group of scientists are currently travelling the length of the Atlantic as part of an exciting new project to measure the flux of carbon dioxide (CO 2 ) between the atmosphere and ocean.

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Related recent publications

  1. Rodríguez‐Ros, P; Gali, M; Cortés, P; Robinson, CM; Antoine, D; Wohl, C; Yang, M; Simo, R. 2020 Remote sensing retrieval of isoprene concentrations in the Southern Ocean. Geophysical Research Letters. https://doi.org/10.1029/2020GL087888
    View publication

  2. Lawson, SJ; Law, CS; Harvey, MJ; Bell, TG; Walker, CF; de Bruyn, WJ; Saltzman, ES. 2020 Methanethiol, dimethyl sulfide and acetone over biologically productive waters in the southwest Pacific Ocean. Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics, 20 (5). 3061-3078. https://doi.org/10.5194/acp-20-3061-2020
    View publication

  3. Yang, M; Buxmann, JCE; Delbarre, H; Fourmentin, M; Smyth, TJ. 2020 Temporal and spatial trends in aerosols near the English Channel – An air quality success story?. Atmospheric Environment: X, 6. 100074. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.aeaoa.2020.100074
    View publication

  4. Yang, M; Norris, SJ; Bell, TG; Brooks, IM. 2019 Sea spray fluxes from the southwest coast of the United Kingdom &#8211; dependence on wind speed and wave height. Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics, 19 (24). 15271-15284. https://doi.org/10.5194/acp-19-15271-2019
    View publication

  5. Hopkins, FE; Suntharalingam, P; Gehlen, M; Andrews, O; Archer, SD; Bopp, L; Buitenhuis, E; Dadou, I; Duce, R; Goris, N; Jickells, TD; Johnson, M; Keng, F; Law, CS; Lee, K; Liss, PS; Lizotte, M; Malin, G; Murrell, JC; Naik, H; Rees, AP; Schwinger, J; Williamson, P. 2020 The impacts of ocean acidification on marine trace gases and the implications for atmospheric chemistry and climate. Proceedings of the Royal Society A: Mathematical, Physical and Engineering Sciences, 476 (2237). 20190769. https://doi.org/10.1098/rspa.2019.0769
    View publication

View our recent publications