Ocean - Atmosphere - Sea Ice - Snowpack (OASIS)

Duration 2004-2015

Faye McNeill, Columbia University

The Ocean – Atmosphere – Sea Ice – Snowpack (OASIS) program was created in 2002 to bring together an international group of multidisciplinary field researchers, laboratory scientists, and modelers to study chemical and physical interactions and exchange processes between the title reservoirs, with a primary focus on the impact on tropospheric chemistry and climate feedbacks. Climate warming in the Arctic has led to rapid changes in sea ice, transitioning from a perennial or multi-year ice (MYI) pack to a thinner, more saline, seasonal first-year ice (FYI) pack, as well as increased areas of open ocean, earlier snow melt, and an extended snow-free season. Such changes in critical interfaces will likely have large impacts system wide, including habitat loss for native flora and fauna, dramatic changes in heat and water vapor fluxes, and changes in atmospheric chemistry. Sea ice is of particular interest, as it plays a critical role in polar environments: it is a highly reflective surface that interacts with radiation; it provides a habitat for mammals and microorganisms alike, thus playing a key role in polar trophic processes and elemental cycles; and it creates a saline environment for chemical processes that facilitate a highly oxidizing atmosphere in an otherwise low-radiation environment. Ocean-air and sea ice-air interfaces also produce aerosol particles that provide cloud condensation nuclei (CCN). During the International Polar Year (IPY), OASIS was involved in a number of large-scale field studies including the Circumpolar Flaw Lead icebreaker cruise in the Canadian Arctic and OASIS 2009 in Barrow, Alaska, and was most recently involved in the Bromine, Ozone, and Mercury Experiment (BROMEX) in 2012.

For a current list of OASIS publications see the OASIS website.