CIESM Workshop Series, n°3:

The role of Ocean-Atmosphere processes in the biogeochemistry of the Mediterranean Sea
Bologna, 8-11 October 1997

This workshop was convened to specifically assess what is known about air-sea interactive processes in the Mediterranean and draw up an outline of a multidisciplinary programme that could be used by scientists in the years to come to test hypotheses on air-sea processes which may govern the biogeochemistry and productivity of its waters. The topics which the group reviewed included:

      - atmospheric inputs of contaminants, trace elements, and nutrients
      - anthropogenic vs. natural input sources of elements: relative magnitudes
      - interactions with particles in the water column and resultant scavenging processes
      - Saharan dust as a unique transport vector
      - atmospheric fallout of nutrients as a stimulus to productivity
      - greenhouse gas production
      - atmospheric controls on Mediterranean sea water chemistry
      - circulation and transport models for the enclosed Mediterranean system
      - role of anthropogenic materials in modifying natural fluxes (e.g., SO2 cycle).

It was further decided that a multi-faceted strategy should be adopted. As far as possible the plan aims to carry out a large scale "natural experiment" by studying in real time the pulsed atmospheric inputs of materials from north Africa and continental Europe which are a unique feature of this basin. The components of this strategy, which are elaborated in detail in the full Workshop Report, available upon request from the CIESM Secretariat, consist of:

      - the co-ordination and examination of existing data sets;
      - the direct determination of the effects of atmospheric dust on Mediterranean surface waters through a combination of field and             laboratory studies;
      - improvement in the regional coverage and standardisation of dust collection in the Mediterranean.
      - highlighting of particular processes that may play a role in attenuating the geochemical effects of dust deposition.
      - co-ordination of future data bases.

For more information, contact Dr Scott Fowler.