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Voyage to Southern Ocean aims to study air-sea fluxes of greenhouse gases
Date:2/26/2008

of the time, and waves can routinely top 30 feet. The conditions are a little grim, but its ideal for study, said Ho. He said that higher wind speeds correlate with faster exchange of gases, but there have been few studies aimed at directly measuring these exchanges under real-world conditions. The scientists say that wind speed itself probably does not drive gas exchange; the drivers are hard-to-observe phenomena driven by the wind, including turbulence and bubbles created by cresting waves. Another factor is the amount of phytoplankton taking CO2 from the water, which is usually measured by color. To figure out what is going on, the crew will dangle arrays of complicated instruments just above the water surface, and in the water column. That will be a challenge, since the bow will be plunging off those big waves, noted Sabine.

NASAs ongoing effort to understand the global carbon cycle will benefit from the data this cruise will produce, said Paula Bontempi, manager of NASAs ocean biology and biogeochemistry research program. "NASA's global satellite observations of ocean color will be improved, as we validate what our space-based sensors see with direct measurements taken at sea."


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Contact: Kevin Krajick
kkrajick@ei.columbia.edu
212-854-9729
The Earth Institute at Columbia University
Source:Eurekalert  

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