Dr. Eric Saltzman
Professor, Earth System Science
Chair, International Surface Ocean - Lower Atmosphere Study (SOLAS) Project
Biologically produced gases in the surface ocean have a major impact on global atmospheric cycling of elements such as sulfur, nitrogen, and carbon, and can play an important role in the global climate system. This research involves the development of analytical instruments for trace gas measurement, collection of field data using ships and aircraft, and the use of computer models to estimate rates of air/sea exchange and atmospheric reactions.
These studies also involve the use of polar ice cores to study the chemistry of ancient atmospheres. A current project involves the study of the possible role of biological sulfur gases in the long-term control of climate. The sulfur chemistry of deep ice cores from Greenland and Antarctica provides a record of oceanic sulfur emissions during periods of rapid and extreme climate change. This research involves ice core drilling and the laboratory analysis of ice core samples for trace ions.
Another focus of research is understanding the global atmospheric budgets of stratospheric ozone-depleting methyl halides such as methyl bromide and methyl chloride. We are studying how these gases cycle through the oceans today, using shipboard studies and numerical simulations. We are also examining how man's activities and climate change have altered the atmospheric levels of these gases by analyzing ancient air extracted from polar ice cores.