Air-sea interaction

Given the oceans extension, marine aerosol constitutes one of the most important natural aerosol systems at the global level, contributing significantly to the Earth’s radiative budget and to biogeochemical cycling, with impacts on ecosystems and regional air quality.

Although there is plenty of evidence that marine aerosol can be highly enriched in organic matter over oceanic regions characterized by intense biological activity, the formation mechanisms of marine organic aerosols are still largely unknown. This knowledge gap limits our understanding of the role of marine aerosols in the climate system. Since 2002, STOPPER is investigating chemical composition, climate relevant properties and formation processes of marine organic aerosols and their relation with the marine biological activity, through measurements performed in the North Atlantic Ocean, the Mediterranean Sea and the Southern Ocean and through laboratory experiments.

Recently, the interaction of pollutants with biogenic organic matter in seawater and the consequences in terms of the sea-to-air transfer of harmful substances in coastal areas has also become the subject of investigation within STOPPER.