Tracing the invisible nature that maintain Earth’s climate


The Southern Ocean is an important short-term regulator of the Earth’s climate through air-sea exchanges of water vapour, heat, reactive gases and aerosol precursors. SORPASSO (Surveying Organic Reactive gases and Particles Across the Surface Southern Ocean) aims to conduct the first observations of the circumpolar distribution of surface ocean trace gases and particles important for atmospheric chemistry and climate, and decipher their biological, chemical, hydrological and optical drivers.

We will combine ocean and atmospheric measurements with remote sensing data and numerical modelling to extrapolate observations into a regional context and outline projections of future trends under global warming. The particular multi-jet structure of the Antarctic Circumpolar Current and the occurrence of strong biological production gradients caused by the effects of islands on currents make a Southern Ocean circumpolar expedition like ACE exceptionally valuable to attain a large scale process-based understanding. The international team of SORPASSO gathers a blend of experienced and young scientists, all highly motivated, to obtain the best knowledge out of this unique opportunity, while providing public and educational awareness on the importance of ‘invisible nature’ (microbes, gases) in maintaining the Earth’s climate.

Principal Investigator (PI)

Rafel Simó

Institut de Ciències del Mar, ICM-CSIC

Barcelona, Catalonia, Spain


Surveying Organic Reactive gases and Particles Across the Surface Southern Ocean (SORPASSO)

Principal institution / country

  • Plymouth Marine Laboratory (UK)
  • Plymouth University (UK)
  • University of Warwick (UK)
  • Takuvik-Université Laval, Québec (Canada)
  • University of Technology Sydney (Australia)
  • INIBIOMA Bariloche (Argentina )
  • IQFR-CSIC (Spain)