Owing to its remote geographic location in the western North Atlantic, Bermuda has been a key sampling location for numerous studies of the marine atmosphere. Measurements of various chemicals in the atmosphere have been made on Bermuda since the mid-1970s, and in 1988 a research tower was erected at Tudor Hill, Southampton, as part of the Atmosphere-Ocean Chemistry Experiment, an international long-term study of the atmospheric transport of aerosols and gases in the North Atlantic region.
This facility is one of only a few marine atmospheric observatories that exist worldwide and provides the ability to make year-round, complex measurements of the atmosphere over the ocean without the use of a research ship or buoy mooring.
Since March 2003, with support from the US National Science Foundation (NSF), BIOS has been operating the Tudor Hill observatory as a research site for research activities conducted by BIOS and visiting US and international scientists. Routine activities at the site include:
- Collection of meteorological data (e.g., wind speed and direction, air temperature and humidity, etc.);
- Weekly bulk aerosol (airborne particulate) sampling;
- Weekly bulk rainwater sampling.
Recent research activities at the facility have included the following collaborations:
- Princeton and Brown Universities, USA: A study of the importance of the Atlantic Ocean in the global cycling of nitrogen;
- Plymouth University, UK: The role of the marine atmosphere in the transport of trace metals;
- Laboratoire des Sciences du Climat et de l'Environnement, Paris, France: Measurement of the isotopic composition of water vapor in the marine environment.
Other routine sampling activities include:
- Sampling for the Global Atmosphere Passive Sampler (GAPS) Network, operated by Environment Canada to monitor persistent organic pollutants on a global scale;
- Continuous measurements of ozone concentrations in the lower atmosphere for NOAA's Earth Systems Research Laboratory;
- Sampling for CO2 and other greenhouse gases for NOAA's Earth Systems Research Laboratory;
- Continuous data on air column properties, including the aerosol optical depth, for NASA’s AERONET Program.
Carbon dioxide (CO2) concentration in the atmosphere measured at the BIOS Tudor Hill Marine Atmospheric Observatory, 1989-2013.
Data shown are measurements of air collected approximately weekly in glass containers and returned to the NOAA Earth Systems Research Laboratory, Global Monitoring Division (GMD) for analysis. Circle Symbols are thought to be regionally representative of a remote, well-mixed troposphere. + Symbols are thought to be not indicative of background conditions, and represent poorly mixed air masses influenced by local or regional anthropogenic sources or strong local biospheric sources or sinks. A smooth curve and long-term trend have been fitted to the representative measurements. All data have undergone rigorous quality assurance and are freely available from GMD, CDIAC, and WMO WDCGG.