Air-sea gas exchange

The transport of gases between the ocean and atmosphere has profound implications for our environment and the Earth's climate. This is because the oceans are a major sink for atmospheric carbon dioxide and are also a source or sink for many other climatically active gases. There are many complex processes involved in air-sea gas exchange and understanding them is critical to future climate change scenarios.

Our research focuses on gases that exchange between the ocean and atmosphere. These include carbon dioxide, methane, nitrous oxide, dimethyl sulphide 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 the sun’s radiation away from the Earth’s surface.

We also study a range of volatile organic compounds such as methanol and acetone, which influence the atmosphere’s ability to process and remove pollutants. These gases are present at extremely low concentrations and we have pioneered methodologies and analytical techniques to accurately measure their concentration and flux.

We use a combination of coastal and open ocean field experiments and laboratory studies to identify and quantify the mechanisms controlling the production and consumption of gases within the surface ocean. We recently established the Penlee Point Atmospheric Observatory at the entrance to Plymouth Sound. The observatory is an ideal platform for us to develop new monitoring techniques and to study the interactions between the ocean and the atmosphere.

Making a difference

Our work helps to improve understanding of the role that the oceans play in the Earth system. We use our data 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 us if you are interested in working or studying within the group, forinfo@pml.ac.uk.

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

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...

|< <  1 2   > >|

You may be interested in...

News

Studying gas exchanges and zooplankton in the Arctic

A research team, including scientists from PML, recently set off on a scientific cruise to the Arctic Ocean this weekend in a bid to understand the behaviour of tiny organisms that are key to the food chain.

News

New buoy a swell solution

PML’s new Near Surface Ocean Profiling Buoy enables scientists to gain accurate measurements from the top few metres of the ocean.

News

Ocean heat and plankton patterns

A closer look at 5 decades of marine observations throws light on the trigger for plankton blooms.

|< <  1 2 3   > >|

Related recent publications

  1. Dall’Osto, M; Airs, RL; Beale, R; Cree, C; Fitzsimons, MF; Beddows, D; Harrison, RM; Ceburnis, D; O’Dowd, C; Rinaldi, M; Paglione, M; Nenes, A; Decesari, S; Simó, R. 2019 Simultaneous Detection of Alkylamines in the Surface Ocean and Atmosphere of the Antarctic Sympagic Environment. ACS Earth and Space Chemistry. https://doi.org/10.1021/acsearthspacechem.9b00028
    View publication

  2. Behrenfeld, MJ; Moore, RH; Hostetler, CA; Graff, J; Gaube, P; Russell, LM; Chen, G; Doney, SC; Giovannoni, S; Liu, H; Proctor, C; Bolaños, LM; Baetge, N; Davie-Martin, C; Westberry, TK; Bates, TS; Bell, TG; Bidle, KD; Boss, ES; Brooks, SD; Cairns, B; Carlson, C; Halsey, K; Harvey, EL; Hu, C; Karp-Boss, L; Kleb, M; Menden-Deuer, S; Morison, F; Quinn, PK; Scarino, AJ; Anderson, B; Chowdhary, J; Crosbie, E; Ferrare, R; Hair, JW; Hu, Y; Janz, S; Redemann, J; Saltzman, E; Shook, M; Siegel, DA; Wisthaler, A; Martin, MY; Ziemba, L. 2019 The North Atlantic Aerosol and Marine Ecosystem Study (NAAMES): Science Motive and Mission Overview. Frontiers in Marine Science, 6. https://doi.org/10.3389/fmars.2019.00122
    View publication

  3. Yang, M; Bell, TG; Brown, IJ; Fishwick, J; Kitidis, V; Nightingale, PD; Rees, AP; Smyth, TJ. 2019 Insights from year-long measurements of air–water CH4 and CO2 exchange in a coastal environment. Biogeosciences, 16 (5). 961-978. https://doi.org/10.5194/bg-16-961-2019
    View publication

  4. Yang, M; Fleming, ZL. 2019 Estimation of atmospheric total organic carbon (TOC) – paving the path towards carbon budget closure. Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics, 19 (1). 459-471. https://doi.org/10.5194/acp-19-459-2019
    View publication

  5. Procter, J; Hopkins, FE; Fileman, ES; Lindeque, PK. 2019 Smells good enough to eat: Dimethyl sulfide (DMS) enhances copepod ingestion of microplastics. Marine Pollution Bulletin, 138. 1-6. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.marpolbul.2018.11.014
    View publication

View more publications