iCRAG Funded Investigator Dr Brian Ward of NUIG is currently aboard the SA Aghulas II on a research cruise to Antarctica as part of the H2020 SO-CHIC project (Southern Ocean Carbon and Heat Impact on Climate).
The Southern Ocean regulates the global climate by controlling heat and carbon exchanges between the atmosphere and the ocean. Rates of climate change on decadal time scales ultimately depend on oceanic processes taking place in the Southern Ocean, yet too little is known about the underlying processes. Limitations come both from the lack of observations in this extreme environment and its inherent sensitivity to intermittent small-scale processes that are not captured in current Earth system models.
To contribute to reducing uncertainties in climate change predictions, the overall objective of SO-CHIC is to understand and quantify variability of heat and carbon budgets in the Southern Ocean through an investigation of the key processes controlling exchanges between the atmosphere, ocean and sea ice using a combination of observational and modelling approaches.
Brian's team is deploying the Air-Sea Interaction Profiler (ASIP), an instrument Dr Ward invented to study the interaction between the ocean and atmosphere. The ASIP - pictured below - is an autonomous vertical profiler. It studies the upper ocean from undisturbed profiles of the water column from a maximum of 100m depth up to the very surface.
To keep up with Brian's cruise follow @airseanuig on Twitter or iCRAG social media.