Sea surface microlayer in a changing ocean – A perspective

Wurl, Oliver; Ekau, Werner; Landing, William M.; Zappa, Christopher J.

The sea surface microlayer (SML) is the boundary interface between the atmosphere and ocean, covering about 70% of the Earth’s surface. With an operationally defined thickness between 1 and 1000 µm, the SML has physicochemical and biological properties that are measurably distinct from underlying waters. Recent studies now indicate that the SML covers the ocean to a significant extent, and evidence shows that it is an aggregate-enriched biofilm environment with distinct microbial communities. Because of its unique position at the air-sea interface, the SML is central to a range of global biogeochemical and climate-related processes. The redeveloped SML paradigm pushes the SML into a new and wider context that is relevant to many ocean and climate sciences.


Also Published In

Elementa: Science of the Anthropocene

More About This Work

Academic Units
Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory
Ocean and Climate Physics
Published Here
January 14, 2022