Technologies for Observing the Near Sea Surface

Ribas-Ribas, Mariana; Zappa, Christopher J.; Wurl, Oliver

Collecting pristine observations of the sea surface from ships is challenging because research vessels destroy the integrity of the upper few meters of the ocean. This includes the sea surface microlayer (SML)—the top millimeter of the ocean—which controls the exchange of gases between the ocean and the atmosphere and plays an essential role in the dispersal of contaminants, including plastics, oil residues, and industrial organic substances. Observations of this thin surface layer at high temporal and spatial resolutions are needed to understand the ocean-atmosphere exchanges of CO2, heat, particles, and freshwater. For these reasons, new technologies for studying sea surface processes are essential to advance understanding of the ocean’s health and the ocean’s role in climate (Schmitt, 2018).


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


Ribas-Ribas, M., C.J. Zappa, and O. Wurl. 2021. Technologies for observing the near sea surface. Pp. 88–89 in Frontiers in Ocean Observing: Documenting Ecosystems, Understanding Environmental Changes, Forecasting Hazards. E.S. Kappel, S.K. Juniper, S. Seeyave, E. Smith, and M. Visbeck, eds, A Supplement to Oceanography 34(4),