The key feature that drives the present Research and Innovation Staff Exchange activities of MARSU is the significant presence of organic compounds at the surface of oceans. They form the link between ocean biogeochemistry and aerosol formation, impacting on the air aloft and finally on the climate. MARSU’s exchange scheme will facilitate interdisciplinary, academic and non-academic, research on air-sea exchanges, aerosol production and impact of anthropogenic pollution and is therefore tackling a major uncertainty in Earth system and environmental sciences. As stated in the 5th Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC AR5), clouds and aerosols continue to contribute the largest uncertainty to the estimation and interpretation of the Earth’s changing energy budget. On the global scale, atmospheric aerosols (liquid or solid particles suspended in the atmosphere) are recognised as having a major impact on the Earth’s climate through direct radiative forcing and adjustments to clouds.
MARSU provides a framework for cross-fertilisation that will lead to an interdisciplinary scientific and staff exchange platform. This network provides an interdisciplinary scientific and staff exchange platform on how the atmosphere interacts with the ocean, how aerosols are generated and processed and how this might impact the climate system. The knowledge gained and disseminated within this network will provide a valuable input for understanding the link between ocean, atmosphere and climate for future assessments. Also the knowledge gained will be tested in joint field experiments where all network researchers will be involved.
The project brings together teams conducting cutting edge laboratory and simulation chamber studies with experts in field measurements. MARSU will invest much effort to integrate results from these diverse disciplines in a substantive way. Thus, multidisciplinary staff exchange is an essential support measure to industrial and legislative development since both require administrative, technical and scientific staff with a broad knowledge and experience in several fields in order to deal with the ever-changing activities required for environmental and human protection. It is planned to deploy 284 person-months of staff exchange along with joint campaigns and share of research equipment.
At present, difficulties exist for a real and in-depth understanding of marine biochemical processes, aerosol production, atmospheric ageing processes and the link with cloud properties and solar radiation. This network is the ideal tool to overcome this situation as it allows research and staff exchange of early stage scientists with multidisciplinary skills throughout Europe and third countries.
Indeed understanding atmospheric processes despite their complex nature (many processes with many feedbacks), requires going against existing sectionalism among scientific disciplines. In other words, this requires a cross-fertilisation between various beyond European groups and disciplines. MARSU aims at providing a framework where this cross-fertilisation is made possible. To achieve this goal, we propose to address a series of key scientific questions linked to sea-aerosol-cloud interactions and feedbacks, where all projects are shared among institutions fostering the multidisciplinary dimension of MARSU. They will be exposed to the research environments of several institutions. This will foster a cross-disciplinary approach in the later research of the exchanged staff.