(October 18, 2001, Gazette)
by Chris Hammond
Moire Wadleigh (L) and Richard Rivkin
Bounded by three oceans, Canada has a vital interest in the impact of
changing ocean processes on weather patterns, resources and transportation.
Memorial University investigators are playing key roles in the development
and implementation of a new international climate-change initiative aimed
at understanding the interactions between the oceans and the atmosphere,
and the implications of those interactions for global climatic change.
Memorials Dr. Richard Rivkin, Ocean Sciences Centre, and Dr. Moire
Wadleigh, Earth Science, are two of the Canadian scientists working on
the Canadian Surface Ocean Lower Atmosphere Study (SOLAS) Research Network.
SOLAS is a new program within the International Geosphere- Biosphere Program
(IGBP) and the Canadian SOLAS, the first national program to be funded.
NSERC and Canadian Foundation for Climate and Atmospheric Sciences (CFCAS)
will contribute almost $9 million directly to the new research network.
Fisheries and Oceans Canada (and other federal government and private
sector partners) willcontribute over $1.5 million in ship time and other
in-kind and cash support. Memorial researchers will receive about $1.2
million over five years for their role in the network.
This is the first time there has been such a close collaboration
between those studying the surface layer of the ocean and the lower atmosphere,
said Dr. Wadleigh. The network will be asking questions about how the
production and cycling of climatically-active gases influence various
aspects of atmospheric processes and contribute to global warming and
The SOLAS Network consists of 15 individual research projects that are
organized into three research modules; the cycling of gases in the upper
water column, their cycling in the atmosphere, and modelling of ocean
and atmosphere interactions.
Dr. Rivkins group will be examining the cycling of inorganic (CO2)
and organic carbon in the upper ocean.
Cycling of the carbon its transfer to the ocean interior
and rates and patterns of return to the surface and eventual reequilibration
back into the atmosphere are very important processes to understand
and constrain in order to predict changes in atmosphere concentrations
of greenhouse gasses and therefore global warming, explained Dr.
Dr. Wadleighs team will examine sulphur containing compounds in
the lower atmosphere. Sulphur also has a biological connection.
Algae living in the surface ocean layer produce a volatile gas, dimethyl
sulphide (DMS), which is transferred to the atmosphere, said Dr.
The SOLAS Network involves 43 Canadian researchers in oceanographic and
atmospheric science from nine universities and government agencies, as
well as international industry partners.
This network is not simply a collection of investigators doing their
own thing side by side on a ship, there is a high degree of
interaction in both planning as well as implementation stages of this
research. It is the only way we can hope to answer some of these complex
questions, said Dr. Rivkin.