The Ronald and Maxine Linde Center for Global Environmental Science hosted an international workshop on February 2 - 5, 2015 on the Caltech campus entitled “Southern Ocean Dynamics and Biogeochemistry.” The workshop brought together 50 world experts working at the interface of ocean circulation, chemical transport, ecosystem dynamics and ocean-ice interactions in the waters surrounding Antarctica. The workshop opened with a series of introductory lectures open to the Caltech and JPL community and summarized current knowledge about observing systems in the Southern Ocean, the large-scale oceanic overturning circulation, the exchange of gases (in particular carbon) at the air sea interface, and nutrient cycling in the Southern Ocean.
The workshop identified key future research directions for the Southern Ocean, including the role of a changing sea ice field in determining freshwater budgets and air-sea gas disequilibrium around Antarctica as well as the importance of circulation features at the continental shelf-continental slope boundary in transporting mass, heat and nutrients towards the Antarctic coast. These topics will impact the adaptation of ecosystems around the coast of Antarctica in a changing climate as well as to the stability of the Antarctic ice sheets. The workshop concluded that future observational efforts will need to rely heavily on networks of autonomous vehicles to obtain the persistent measurements currently lacking in the Southern Ocean.
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