Southern Ocean Fluxes (SOFLUX)


ScaleFigEnhancing Air-Sea Flux Observations in the Southern Ocean

The core aim of SOFLUX is to reduce uncertainties in air-sea and air-sea-ice exchanges. SOFLUX will design and facilitate the implementation of an observing system of essential ocean variables (EOVs) to support investigations on dynamics and change in Southern Ocean air-sea fluxes, including the formal definition of EOVs for fluxes, the development of priority measurements, standardized methodologies for collecting and archiving data, the optimal design of field programs, and strategies for implementing field observations, including supporting regional working groups and networking with existing and emerging programs. The working group may also need to address fundamental errors in bulk formulae used to parameterize fluxes, since these formulae are not tuned for the time-varying waves and winds typically found in the Southern Ocean. The presence of sea ice is a further complication that must be addressed.

SOFLUX will make important contributions to all of the 6 SOOS Science Themes.


Current Activities

SOFLUX is currently developing 4 Task Teams to deliver the Terms of References. All four efforts are open for involvement by any interested, qualified persons:



Task Team 1) Coordinating in situ observations

This Task Team will focus efforts on intensive observations in the region of the IMOS and OOI moorings, and has been developed to enhance flux observations from the Southern Ocean, specifically focussing on coordinating proposals for enhanced efforts that build on the existing flux moorings of OOI and IMOS-SOTS.


Task Team Members

Seb Swart (lead), Carol Ann Clayson, Jim Edson, James Girton, Eric Schultz, Bob Weller, Ronald Buss de Souza, Simon Josey, Giannetta Fusco, Yuri Cotroneo, Luc Lenain



Task Team 2) Defining Requirements for Flux Observations

This Task Team will develop a community statement on the requirements for flux observations from the Southern Ocean


Task Team Members

Sarah Gille (lead), Ivana Cerovecki, Jim Edson, Mark Bourassa, Pat Hyder, Brent Roberts, Bob Weller, Brian Ward, Chris Fairall, Abderrahim Bentamy, Simon Josey, Ken Melville, Giannetta Fusco, Yuri Cotroneo



Task Team 3) input to GCOS/GOOS

This Task Team will act as a conduit to push information and recommendations up to coordinating bodies such as the Global Climate Observing System (GCOS) and the Global Ocean Observing System (GOOS), in particular to articulate the importance of flux observations and inclusion of flux variables within the GCOS/GOOS Essential Climate/Ocean Variables.


Task Team Members

Mark Bourassa (lead), Bob Weller, Brian Ward, Abderrahim Bentamy, Matt Mazloff, Sarah Gille



Task Team 4) Modelling and Satellite Synthesis


Task Team Members

Andrew Lenton (lead), Matt Mazloff, Mark Bourassa, Brent Roberts, Judith Hauck, Carol Anne Clayson, Simon Josey



SOFLUX will fulfil the following terms of reference over the next 5 years:


1) Facilitate the identification and development of candidate air-sea flux EOVs and ECVs for the Southern Ocean, and to progress these to a mature state of readiness for inclusion in SOOS


2) For those with a mature state of readiness, provide standardised methodologies for collecting and archiving data


3) Identify and assemble legacy data sets from ships and stations (not already undertaken by other initiatives) that may assist in validating and furthering our knowledge of SO air-sea fluxes


4) Promote and coordinate existing programmes and platforms to collect essential observations that are identified as scarce and required for validation purposes


5) Develop standardized methods that are easily understood by different stakeholders, including policy stakeholders, which are repeatable, and easily transferrable


6) Develop methods for validation/ground truthing of satellite-derived flux estimates using in situ observations


7) Define targets that will make the flux products more usable and that will serve as metrics for assessing progress


8) Identify critical spatial and temporal gaps (including key regions – sea ice, upwelling, islands etc) in Southern Ocean air-sea flux observations and knowledge; links to optimal sampling strategies and data assimilation


9) Identify ‘fast-track’ approaches to obtaining observations that address existing spatial and temporal gaps


10) Identify end users of such data and provide guidelines to facilitate the delivery of this data to end users; develop procedures to achieve efficient sharing of data across the science community according to SOOS data policy and via the SOOS Data Portal


11) Guide development of a series of coordinated pilot studies projects for SO air-sea fluxes across the Southern Ocean. The pilot studies can include observations of the atmospheric boundary layer and upper ocean state over selected regions of the Southern Ocean (ships, planes, wave gliders, profiling floats)


12) Use observations to

a. validate satellite air-sea fluxes and mapped (e.g. reanalysis) products

b. improve models in terms of atmospheric state and coupling to the ocean

c. assess air-sea coupling parameters in evolving sea states

d. evaluate the impact of the improved coupling parameters on ocean model performance


13) As part of the pilot study, augment the observing program with coupled ocean-surface wave-ice-atmosphere process modeling to evaluate model physics at the air-sea interface, the sensitivity to bulk formulae, and perform a comparative analysis of varying resolution models


14) Development of white paper(s) that guide the community of recent gains and way forward


15) Hold annual meetings of the working group, and source funding to enable WG sustainability and “spin-off” flux-related initiatives


16) Convene focussed sessions at national and international meetings, including SCAR and SCOR, and facilitate synthesis products, to increase the awareness of the science community to the importance of the air-sea fluxes. Provide annual reports to the SOOS SSC on activities and outcomes of the WG, and regular updates for the SOOS newsletter



SOFLUX is open membership. If you would like to be involved, please contact Sarah Gille (sgille at


Sarah Gille
Seb Swart


Leadership Team:
Mark Bourassa
Carol Anne Clayson
Bruno Delille
Simon Josey
Andrew Lenton
Eric Schulz
Inga Smith
Brian Ward


Working Group Members:

Dorothee Bakker

Abderrahim Bentamy
Louise Biddle
Ivana Cerovecki
Ronald De Souza
Marcel du Plessis
James Edson
Jim Edson
Chris Fairall
Natalie Freeman
Giannetta Fusco
Jessica Gier
James Girton
Luke Gregor
Judith Hauck
Petra Heil
Pat Hyder
Liz Kent
Andreas Klocker
Luc Lenain
Pierre-Philippe Mathieu
Matt Mazloff
Ken Melville
Lisa Miller
Scott Miller
Pedro Monteiro
Alberto Naveira Garabato
Lucian Ponzi Pezzi
Marcos Portabella
Brent Roberts
Patrick Rozema
John Sampson
Craig Stevens
Veronica Tamsitt
Andy Thompson
Jim Thomson
Sarat Tripathy
Bob Weller
Fiona Preston White
Margaret Yelland
Chris Zappa

Contributing Field and Modeling Activities

Relevant Documents:

Bourassa et al., 2013, High-latitude ocean and sea ice surface fluxes: Challenges for climate research, BAMS. HERE

WMO Year of Polar Prediction (YOPP) HERE

Southern Ocean Community Response to YOPP Implementation Plan (2015) HERE

SOOS 2015 Air-Sea Fluxes Workshop Report HERE

Eos Report (2016) HERE



All presentations from the 2015 Air-Sea Fluxes workshop available HERE.

Copyright 2015 Southern Ocean Observing System. All rights reserved.