Tara Pacific expedition investigated marine aerosols
Two-year mission on the high seas with GRIMM WRAS system on board
The ocean is the largest ecosystem on earth and yet we know very little about it. That is why the Tara Ocean Foundation conducts an innovative Ocean science with high- level scientific research, in collaboration with international laboratories of excellence, to explore, understand and anticipate changes associated with climate and environmental risks. Especially with the Tara Oceans mission launched in 2009, in France, which lead to a scientific revolution.
On a periodical and rotating basis, international groups of scientists set sail aboard the Tara schooner to study interactions of oceanic systems and how they exchange energy and matter with the atmosphere, geosphere, and biosphere.
Since the ocean and the atmosphere are coupled, it is of great importance to investigate how marine aerosols are formed, their composition, and chemical properties and to understand how biogenic matter contributes to their mass and number concentrations.
In 2016, Tara began a new expedition, the Tara Pacific Expedition, a 2.5 years campaign across the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans. For this expedition, GRIMM Aerosol Technik together with Dr. Michel Flores (Weizmann Institute of Sciences, Israel; Profs. Ilan Koren & Assaf Vardi), worked on the definition of a complete measuring solution. It resulted in the delivery of a GRIMM SMPS+C "Scanning Mobility Particle Sizer + Condensation Particle Counter" to measure particle diameters from 10 nm to 1094 nm, combined with the EDM180 OPC "Optical Particle Counter" measuring from 0.25 to 32 microns. The complete installation setup for this GRIMM WRAS "Wide Range Aerosol Spectrometer" as well as the associated after-sales service & support was custom-made to suit the challenging and specific project requirements.
Dr. Flores and the TARA team analyzed and mapped the concentrations and size distributions of marine aerosols collected in the western Pacific and Atlantic oceans. With the information gained, they will identify areas that would need to be studied more thoroughly for understanding mechanisms of aerosol production, the effect of viruses within these aerosols (i.e., plankton bloom), the possible correlation between coral reef ecosystems and aerosols, and more generally to understand better the roles of the atmosphere and ocean in shaping earths past, present and future climates. As Dr. Flores often states: "We compartmentalize Nature into various disciplines because of the challenge we face in understanding it, but in reality, there are no barriers everything is connected."
Further information about the expedition can be found here:
Detailed results of this study were also published in May 2020 in BAMS magazine by the AMS "American Meteorological Society":
We are awaiting further input from this project in the future for understanding our planets complex ocean-atmosphere interactions better. Bon vent Tara!