CAICE: How does ocean chemistry and biology affect marine aerosols in ways important to understanding our climate?

Can changes in the chemical and biological content of the ocean change the chemical and physical properties of sea-spray aerosols?  Members of the Prather Research Group are working within the Center for Aerosol Impacts on Climate and the Environment to further understand this question more fully, using a mesocosm experiment at SIO.  Over the past 10 days, we have been using a glass wave channel, which has been modified to study air-sea interactions.  The measurement team has been gathering some exciting results, had some very productive conversations amongst themselves, along with the many and varied opportunities to share our experiment and preliminary thoughts with excited visitors to our setup in the SIO Hydraulics Lab.  We will continue to make major perturbations to the chemical and biological conditions of the seawater, including innoculation with phytoplankton and bacterial cultures, and major additions of organic carbon.  We'll be monitoring many physical and chemical parameters, not only of the aerosols, but also of the seawater in the chamber.

A time sequence of a breaking wave using 'beach mode' in our ocean-atmosphere chamber, where wave pulses break on an artificial shoal about every 2 seconds.  This is the most environmenally representative and reproductible method of making sea spray aerosol in a controlled laboratory setting, and is a facility unique to the Center for Aerosol Impacts on Climate and the Environment (CAICE). [Image Credit: M. Dale Stokes]