Atmospheric inputs and organic carbon and pollutants to the Polar Ocean: rates significance and Outlook (ATOS). A Spanish compon

Investigador principal: 
Carlos Duarte (IMEDEA-CSIC)
Resumen del proyecto: 
The atmosphere is increasingly being recognised as a key vector for transport, in gaseous and aerosol form, of organic compounds, including pollutants and non-organic pollutants, such as metals. Atmospheric inputs of organic carbon and associated pollutants are increased by cold water temperatures, which drive the equilibrium of air and water phases towards the later. Hence, polar oceans have a great potential to act as recipients of organic materials from the atmosphere. This potential has not yet fully realised, as much of the polar oceans, both in the Southern Ocean and Arctic Seas, have been shielded from these inputs by the ice cover. Yet, the extent of sea ice is currently being reduced in both the Southern Ocean and the Arctic Seas, and is predicted to decline further as a result of global warming. This does not only increases greatly the surface area available for dynamic air-sea exchanges of organic matter, but also may abruptly deliver the organic carbon and associated pollutants accumulated in sea ice over time. Moreover, the organic materials are reactive either through organismal metabolism or photo-oxidative processes. The ATOS project aims at resolving the increasing role of air-sea exchanges of materials in the polar seas by (1) quantifying the atmospheric inputs of organic carbon and key organic pollutants both in aerosol and gaseous phases; (2) elucidating the role of sea ice cover in controlling these rates and the inputs associated to sea ice melting; (3) evaluating the fate of the materials, by assessing their use by biota and transference up the food webs, and (4) evaluating the effects on microplankton as the entry points of the materials in the food web, through evaluations of cell mortality in relation to pollutant inputs and parallel increases in ultraviolet radiation dosage, and the evaluation of materials on planktonic primary production and community respiration