Ocean Observing and Tracers

Air-sea exchange at the surface plays a pivotal role in injecting crucial substances, such as oxygen and carbon, into the water, significantly influencing the chemical and biological milieu beneath the ocean's surface. Essential processes, namely ocean ventilation and circulation, function as dynamic mechanisms transporting surface waters into the ocean's interior and subsequently bringing them back to the surface. Through the observation of tracer compounds, we gain insights into the temporal scales and magnitudes of ventilation, facilitating a comprehensive understanding of processes vital for oceanic life, dynamics, and the broader implications for climate change.

Research Areas

  • Ocean Ventilation and Circulation
  • Deliberate Tracer Release Experiments
  • Exploration of Novel Transient Tracers
  • Innovations for Sustained Interdisciplinary Ocean Observing
  • Ocean Citizen Science


    • SOOP –  Building an innovation platform for more ocean observation and technologies where new hardware and software will be used to collect oceanographic and climate-related data.
    • Sailing for Oxygen – A citizen science project initiated to help marine researchers measure important information in the Kiel and thereby better understand the distribution of oxygen, temperature and salinity.
    • TreX – The project investigates deep water inflow spreading rates and mixing in the Gulf of St. Lawrence, involving the release of an inert tracer (SF5CF3) in October 2021 and subsequent campaigns in 2022 to measure and examine tracer concentrations, alongside studying ventilation using anthropogenic tracers CFC-12 and SF6.
    • EuroSea – Improving and Integrating European Ocean Observing and Forecasting Systems for sustainable use of the Ocean 
    • Artic Ventilation – The project, conducted during the 2021 Synoptic Arctic Survey, aims to constrain ventilation and estimate anthropogenic carbon storage in the Arctic Ocean through the analysis of multiple transient tracers, including CFC-12, SF6, 'Medusa' Tracers, and radioactive tracers, utilizing the Transit Time Distribution method.
    • AtlantOS – Optimising and Enhancing the Integrated Atlantic Ocean Observing Systems
    • SFB754 – Climate – Biogeochemistry interactions in the Tropical Ocean

Embarking on 'Sailing for Oxygen': Launching the Citizen Science Project at the Kiel Fly-by Panel in June 2023

Malizia during observation for citizen science

Crew Aboard Icebreaker Oden During the 2021 Synoptic Arctic Survey Expedition

View from the stern of RV Coriolis during TReX Deep 1 Mission

Deploying the Ocean Tracer Injection System

Moving the dissolved gases out of seawater

A purge and trap system for measurements of CFC-12 and SF6