Marine & Environmental Sciences Faculty Articles

Document Type

Article

Publication Date

5-30-2017

Publication Title

Frontiers in Marine Science

Keywords

sea surface microlayer, air-sea exchange, neuston, aerosols, surface films, gas exchange, review

ISSN

2296-7745

Volume

4

Issue/No.

Article 165

First Page

1

Last Page

14

Abstract

Despite the huge extent of the ocean's surface, until now relatively little attention has been paid to the sea surface microlayer (SML) as the ultimate interface where heat, momentum and mass exchange between the ocean and the atmosphere takes place. Via the SML, large-scale environmental changes in the ocean such as warming, acidification, deoxygenation, and eutrophication potentially influence cloud formation, precipitation, and the global radiation balance. Due to the deep connectivity between biological, chemical, and physical processes, studies of the SML may reveal multiple sensitivities to global and regional changes. Understanding the processes at the ocean's surface, in particular involving the SML as an important and determinant interface, could therefore provide an essential contribution to the reduction of uncertainties regarding ocean-climate feedbacks. This review identifies gaps in our current knowledge of the SML and highlights a need to develop a holistic and mechanistic understanding of the diverse biological, chemical, and physical processes occurring at the ocean-atmosphere interface. We advocate the development of strong interdisciplinary expertise and collaboration in order to bridge between ocean and atmospheric sciences. Although this will pose significant methodological challenges, such an initiative would represent a new role model for interdisciplinary research in Earth System sciences.

Comments

© 2017 Engel, Bange, Cunliffe, Burrows, Friedrichs, Galgani, Herrmann, Hertkorn, Johnson, Liss, Quinn, Schartau, Soloviev, Stolle, Upstill-Goddard, van Pinxteren and Zäncker. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY). The use, distribution or reproduction in other forums is permitted, provided the original author(s) or licensor are credited and that the original publication in this journal is cited, in accordance with accepted academic practice. No use, distribution or reproduction is permitted which does not comply with these terms.

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

ORCID ID

0000-0001-6519-1547

DOI

https://doi.org/10.3389/fmars.2017.00165

Peer Reviewed

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