Surface Ocean - Lower Atmosphere Study (SOLAS) Project Integration

Discussion Session Summary

Prepared by Meike Vogt (UEA)

In this discussion session, SOLAS Project Integrator Tom Bell introduced the SOLAS community to a new 3-year project, which will involve the assimilation of observational data for SOLAS-relevant gases and particles and the derivation of global air-sea flux maps from this data. Among other applications, these flux and concentration fields may be used for Earth System and Atmospheric Modelling. The components are divided into three different groups, according to their relevance for SOLAS and climate-related issues. Groups contain, amongst others CO2, CH4, DMS, isoprene, aerosols and selected organohalogens. As an example of a previous data assimilation effort, Jamie Kettle presented his experiences during the collection of data for the widely used Kettle database on DMS. A lively discussion followed between modellers and experimentalists, which evolved around the following topics

  1. Project Approach

    The success of this project depends on the dialogue between the Project Integration team and the SOLAS community, and the willingness of people to submit data. The Project Integration Team presented the proposed principle that every data submission would lead to co-authorship on any publication resulting from the work. Those present agreed with this concept. Gwen Moincoiffé suggested that people should be encouraged to submit recently-collected data promptly, so that errors in the derived quantities can be identified.

  2. Priorities for data collection

    Several compounds and their data availability were discussed. Claire Hughes suggested that, for the organohalogens, it would be useful to focus on the brominated compounds. Jill Cainey expressed concern that producing flux estimates for aerosol deposition might prove to be too difficult within the scope of the project. There was a general consensus that, while as much auxiliary data (such as chlorophyll-a) as needed for the interpretation of the fluxes should be stored and/or referenced to by the meta-database, the effort to collect this data should not detract Tom from collecting the actual concentration data. Furthermore, Lisa Miller suggested that effort should be minimised – SOLAS should tie in with other existing resources (such as the CDIAC) and data collection programs.

  3. Quality control

    David Erickson stated that the quality of the data has to be ensured, because the database will not be assessed on how many entries it has, but on how widely it is used. SOLAS will have to trust in national data centres to check the quality of their data prior to entry, but further quality standards will need to be defined. However, it should be up to the experimental community to agree on data standards and perform method inter-comparisons where necessary.

  4. Data security and continuity

    People need to trust in data protection beyond the scope of SOLAS. Jamie Kettle stated that, for the DMS database, published data was released while unpublished data was withheld at the originator’s request. New SOLAS databases could potentially be made publicly available, but the Project Integration team will ensure that no data is published without the consent of the originators. The SOLAS Project Integration team presented a proposed data-usage policy, which all present agreed should be adhered to.

  5. Use for modelling applications

    Members of the modelling community identified that, in order to be useful, all data fields need to be interpolated onto a grid and the original concentration fields (including auxiliary data) made available in addition to the flux products. This is because Earth System models calculate their own fluxes from concentrations. Modern, intelligent interpolation schemes should be used to obtain reliable global maps.