Other Activities and Initiatives

SOLAS collaborates with other scientific organisations on short topical projects and larger global and regional projects and events.

The following activities and initiatives are related to SOLAS science.

Our common future ocean in the Earth system – quantifying coupled cycles of carbon, oxygen, and nutrients for determining and achieving safe operating spaces with respect to tipping points (COMFORT)

COMFORT is a Research and Innovation Action project funded under the Horizon 2020 Societal Challenges programme of the European Union.

COMFORT will close knowledge gaps for key ocean tipping elements within the Earth system under anthropogenic physical and chemical climate forcing through a coherent interdisciplinary research approach. It aims to provide added value to decision and policy makers in terms of science based safe marine operating spaces, refined climate mitigation targets, and feasible long-term mitigation pathways. The project focuses on the triple threat of (1) warming, (2) deoxygenation, and (3) ocean acidification, and how to optimally deal with this threat. Links to other Earth system reservoirs will be included in the assessment where relevant.

The following specific objectives will be addressed:

  • Identify climate-induced ocean tipping points and attribute them to processes.
  • Quantify related impacts and establish multi-dimensional safe operating spaces.
  • Provide respective mitigation targets and options, as well as projected mitigation pathways.
  • Integrate stakeholder knowledge and provide new results including data to users.

COMFORT website: www.comfort-project.eu

GESAMP Working Group 41 on Marine Geoengineering

In September 2015 the Group of Experts on the Scientific Aspects of Marine Environmental Protection (GESAMP) discussed a proposal to establish a working group on marine geoengineering and concluded that a study was needed to:

Better understand the potential environmental (and social/economic) impacts of different marine geoengineering approaches on the marine environment; and
Provide advice to the London Protocol Parties to assist them in identifying those marine geoengineering techniques that it might be sensible to consider for listing in the new Annex 4 of the Protocol.

GESAMP established Working Group 41 on marine geoengineering in 2015 under the lead of IMO and supported by IOC of UNESCO and WMO, under the co-chairmanship of Dr. Chris Vivian and Professor Philip Boyd.

GESAMP WG 41 website: http://www.gesamp.org/work/groups/41
The working group met in May 2016 and April 2017 and worked intersessionally to prepare a report of their deliberations. The working group published its first report in March 2019. It provides an initial high-level review of twenty-seven proposed marine geoengineering techniques - with its potential subsets - for climate mitigation that focuses on their efficacy, practicality, side-effects, knowledge gaps, verification and potential environmental and socio-economic impacts. The information that underpins each approach varies widely from sufficient to insufficient and suggests that a sequence of developments (from concept development, through to pilot studies, modelling and further studies) will assist in the transition from insufficient to sufficient information in order to permit scientific assessment.

Download the report here.

GESAMP Working Group 38 on Atmospheric Input of Chemicals to the Ocean

Group of Experts on the Scientific Aspects of Marine Environmental Protection (GESAMP) Working Group 38 was formed in 2008 because of growing concern about the impact of atmospheric deposition of both natural and anthropogenic substances on ocean chemistry, biology, and biogeochemistry as well as climate. Sponsors of those WG 38 efforts have included WMO, IMO, SCOR, SIDA, the European Commission Joint Research Centre, the University of Arizona, the International Environment Institute at the University of Malta, and the University of East Anglia, and the US National Science Foundation.

The Nitrogen Study and its Terms of Reference

Although the early work of Working Group 38 did consider some aspects of the deposition and impacts of atmospheric nitrogen species on the ocean, it was recognized that this was a significant and complex scientific issue that required a more in depth study. An abbreviated form of the new Terms of Reference were as follows:

  • Update the geographical estimates of atmospheric anthropogenic nitrogen deposition to the global ocean;
  • Re-evaluate the magnitude and impact of atmospheric nitrogen deposition on marine biogeochemistry;
  • Provide a more reliable estimate of the impact of atmospheric anthropogenic nitrogen deposition on the production of additional nitrous oxide in the ocean and its subsequent emission to the atmosphere;
  • Evaluate the extent to which anthropogenic nitrogen, delivered to the coastal zone via rivers, is transported to the open ocean; and
  • Make a detailed estimate of the input and impact of anthropogenic nitrogen in the area of the Northern Indian Ocean and the South China Sea.

GESAMP WG 38 website: http://www.gesamp.org/work/groups/38
From 27 February to March 2 two workshops took place at the University of East Anglia (UEA), Norwich, United Kingdom under the auspices of GESAMP Working Group 38 and sponsored by WMO, NSF, SCOR, SOLAS and UEA. These workshops focussed on the changes in the acid/base balance of the atmosphere and ocean, and their impacts on air-sea exchange.

Download SOLAS Event Report Issue 1

Global Ocean Oxygen Network (GO2NE)

Listening to the calls demanding increased cooperation and communication around low oxygen concentration in the marine environment, IOC-UNESCO initiated an ad hoc network of scientists focused on oxygen in both the open ocean and coastal areas – the Global Ocean Oxygen Network (GO2NE).

The Network’s scientific work, outreach, and capacity building efforts include facilitating communication with other established networks and working groups, improving observations systems, identifying and filling knowledge gaps, as well as developing related capacity development activities.

Website: https://en.unesco.org/go2ne

In September 2019, SOLAS sponsored the GO2NE summer school which took place in Xiamen, China.

Download SOLAS Event Report Issue 15

The Second International Indian Ocean Expedition (IIOE-2)

The Second International Indian Ocean Expedition (IIOE-2) is a major global scientific program which will engage the international scientific community in collaborative oceanographic and atmospheric research from coastal environments to the deep sea over the period 2015-2020, revealing new information on the Indian Ocean (i.e. its currents, its influence upon the climate, its marine ecosystems) which is fundamental for future sustainable development and expansion of the Indian Ocean’s blue economy.

The International Indian Ocean Science Conference 2020 (IIOSC-2020) will be held 16-20 March 2020 in Goa, India (Conference website)

Website: https://iioe-2.incois.gov.in/IIOE-2/iioe-2.jsp

Xiamen Symposium on Marine Environmental Sciences (XMAS)

To foster knowledge and ideas exchange within the marine environmental science community and, in particular, to promote interdisciplinary studies, the State Key Laboratory of Marine Environmental Science (MEL) of Xiamen University, China, initiated the Xiamen Symposium on Marine Environmental Sciences (XMAS).

The XMAS-III was held in January 2017, attracting over 620 participants from more than 140 institutions across 21 countries.

The XMAS-IV was held in January 2019. A SOLAS session on 'Surface Ocean and Lower Atmosphere Study - Air-Sea interactions and their climatic and environmental impacts' was convened by Guiling Zhang, Huiwang Gao, Mohd Talib Latif, Jun Nishioka, Senchao Lai, Bingbing Wang.

Download SOLAS Event Report Issue 13

The XMAS-V will be held in January 2021. The focus will be on how Multidisciplinary Sciences Can Serve a Sustainable and Healthy Ocean. It will be one of the important hallmarks of Xiamen University’s centenary celebrations. The symposium will consist of different, interconnected sessions covering physical oceanography, marine biogeochemistry, biological oceanography, and marine ecotoxicology along with workshops for emerging topics in marine environmental sciences such as how to achieve the goals outlined in the United Nations Decade of Ocean Science for Sustainable Development (2021-2030).

SOLAS is a co-sponsor of the event.

Event website: http://melmeeting.xmu.edu.cn/xmas5/

International Symposium on the Effects of Climate Change on the World Oceans

The  4th  International Symposium on the Effects of Climate Change on the World Oceans (ECCWO) took place from 2-8 June 2018 in Washington, DC, USA. The Symposium focused on un-derstanding and responding to climate impacts on ocean systems. SOLAS organised a session on “Eastern Boundary upwelling sys-tems: diversity, coupled dynamics and sensitivity to climate change”, which was co-chaired by Ivonne Montes (Perú ) and Ryan Rykaczewski (USA).

SOLAS was a co-sponsor of the event. 

Symposium website: https://meetings.pices.int/meetings/international/2018/climate-change/Background

Download SOLAS Event Report Issue 10


Workshop on Oceanic Methane and Nitrous Oxide: The present situation and future scenarios

In October 2018, a SOLAS supported OCB workshop addressed the following questions to help determine the future directions of methane and nitrous oxide measurements in the global oceans:

Where in the global oceans should spatial and temporal surveys be conducted to discern climatologically-relevant changes in water-column inventories of methane and nitrous oxide?  This is an important question facing oceanographers today. However, attempts to answer this question stimulate many related and relevant queries concerning the production and consumption of methane and nitrous oxide in the ocean. For example, how will their water-column concentrations be influenced by factors such as increasing seawater temperatures, decreasing oxygen concentrations, and changing nutrient loading? Do we have sufficient analytical and observational capacity to conduct robust temporal surveys? Do we sufficiently comprehend the microbial metabolic pathways that produce and consume these two trace gases?

Watch the workshop's video output here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0DyMyIVs4Qs

Website: https://web.whoi.edu/methane-workshop/

Publication: Samuel T. Wilson et al. (2020) Ideas and perspectives: A strategic assessment of methane and nitrous oxide measurements in the marine environment Biogeosciences, 17, 5809–5828. https://bg.copernicus.org/articles/17/5809/2020/bg-17-5809-2020-discussion.html

The Latin American Ocean Acidification Network (LAOCA)

The mission of the Latin American Ocean Acidification Network (LAOCA) is to communicate and enhance understanding of ocean acidification process in Latin America, and its interaction with other local processes and their impact on marine ecosystems and their services through international cooperation.

The LAOCA network consists of 36 members from 8 Latin American countries:
Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Ecuador, Mexico and Peru. Developing researchers in Ocean Acidification in 4 main lines of research: Carbonate system chemistry (37%), Modeling (13%), Socio-Ecological Assessment (15%),
In turn, these lines of research cover the following environments : Staurino (27%), Coastal (49%), and Oceanic (24%).

Website: https://laoca.cl/en/