Southern Ocean Carbon and Climate Observations and Modeling

The Southern Ocean Carbon and Climate Observations and Modeling project (SOCCOM) is a multi-institutional program focused on unlocking the mysteries of the Southern Ocean and determining its influence on climate. Housed at Princeton University and administered by the Princeton Environmental Institute, SOCCOM is supported by the National Science Foundation under NSF Award PLR-1425989.

SOCCOM Researchers Featured in NOVA program

Watch our SOCCOM scientists on “Decoding the Weather Machine,” which aired on Wednesday, April 18.  Stephen Riser and Alison Gray from the University of Washington, and Heidi Cullen from MBARI are featured in the program.

Disastrous hurricanes. Widespread droughts and wildfires. Withering heat. Extreme rainfall. It is hard not to conclude that something’s up with the weather, and many scientists agree. It’s the result of the weather machine itself—our climate—changing, becoming hotter and more erratic. In this 2-hour documentary, NOVA will cut through the confusion around climate change. Why do scientists overwhelmingly agree that our climate is changing, and that human activity is causing it? How and when will it affect us through the weather we experience? And what will it take to bend the trajectory of planetary warming toward more benign outcomes? Join scientists around the world on a quest to better understand the workings of the weather and climate machine we call Earth, and discover how we can be resilient—even thrive—in the face of enormous change.

SOCCOM goes to school in West Virginia

Princeton graduate student Shawn Cheeks and SOCCOM Shipboard Data Manager Bob Key visited Fall River Elementary School in West Virginia last week to give a presentation on the school's adopted SOCCOM float, the Floating Falcon. (Shawn is an alumnus of the school.) The school's administrator invited the local news to record a bit of the outreach program ...  Aired Tues March 27 on WVVA TV from Beckley, WV.

2018 SOCCOM Annual Meeting at Princeton University June 11-13

Our Annual Meeting for SOCCOM participants and invited guests will be held June 11-13 at Princeton University – log in for details.  (If you're already logged in, click here).

Biogeochemical floats workshop at UW July 9-13 - register now

SOCCOM members Steve Riser, Ken Johnson, and Lynne Talley have organized an OCB-sponsored Biogeochemical Profiling Floats Workshop to be held at the University of Washington July 9-13.  This workshop will bring together potential users to discuss biogeochemical profiling float technology, sensors, and data management, in order to begin the process of the intelligent design of future scientific experiments. Registration is first come, first served - click the link above to visit the workshop website and register.



Check out our new Southern Ocean "Deep Dive" educational resources



Looking for multi-media resources for your classroom? Climate Central has worked with SOCCOM researchers to produce 6 educational videos on Southern Ocean phenomena called "Southern Ocean Deep Dives." The videos feature helpful animations as well interviews with SOCCOM researchers - feel free to download them and use them in your teaching today!
Topics include:

Over 30 SOCCOM Presentations at 2018 Ocean Sciences Meeting


Check out our list of over 30 SOCCOM-related presentations at the annual meeting, and don't miss our Town Hall on Wednesday, February 14.



Follow Isa Rosso in the Southern Indian Ocean!

Follow Isa Rosso, on her third SOCCOM cruise!  Isa is deploying SOCCOM floats in the Southern Indian Ocean on a cruise led by India's National Centre for Antarctic and Ocean Research (NCAOR).

SOCCOM float surfaces inside rare Antarctic sea ice opening

Sea ice and clouds blanket the Weddell Sea around Antarctica in this satellite image from September 25, 2017. A SOCCOM float surfaced within the 60,000 km2 polynya (center) at the location marked in yellow. Image from MODIS-Aqua via NASA Worldview; sea ice contours from AMSR2 ASI via University of Bremen.

Contact: Ethan Campbell, University of Washington

A massive hole in the sea ice cover around Antarctica has been open for the past month1. Known as a polynya, this mysterious opening is the largest observed in the Weddell Sea since the 1970s. In recent studies, SOCCOM-affiliated researchers have used climate models to explore why these polynyas form and how they affect ocean and atmospheric circulation patterns2–5. However, the difficulty of mounting Antarctic expeditions in winter means that few actual measurements have been made of these rare events.

With the array of robotic profiling floats deployed as part of the SOCCOM project, an impromptu Antarctic expedition may not be necessary. Floats can collect ocean measurements year-round, even underneath sea ice. Last month, SOCCOM scientists were astonished to discover that a float in the Weddell Sea had surfaced inside the polynya, making contact with satellites in the dead of winter. Its new ocean measurements, transmitted when it surfaced, are being analyzed as part of a study in preparation on Weddell Sea polynyas. With these new observations comes the possibility that the polynya’s secrets may finally be revealed.



1. Stone, M. (2017, October 3). An enormous hole in Antarctica’s sea ice could help solve a climate riddle. Earther. Retrieved from https://earther.com/theres-an-enormousmysterious-hole-in-antarcticas-sea....

2. de Lavergne, C., Palter, J. B., Galbraith, E. D., Bernardello, R. & Marinov, I. Cessation of deep convection in the open Southern Ocean under anthropogenic climate change. Nat. Clim. Chang. 4, 278–282 (2014).

3. Zanowski, H., Hallberg, R. & Sarmiento, J. L. Abyssal ocean warming and salinification after Weddell Polynyas in the GFDL CM2G coupled climate model. J. Phys. Oceanogr. 45, 2755–2772 (2015).

4. Dufour, C. O. et al. Preconditioning of the Weddell Sea polynya by the ocean mesoscale and dense water overflows. J. Clim. 30, 7719–7737 (2017).

5. Cabré, A., Marinov, I. & Gnanadesikan, A. Global atmospheric teleconnections and multidecadal climate oscillations driven by Southern Ocean convection. J. Clim. 30, 8107– 8126 (2017).

#GreatAntarcticClimateHack held Oct. 9-12 at Scripps


The #GreatAntarcticClimateHack led by Joellen Russell is being held October 9-12, 2017, at the Scripps Institution of Oceanography Forum, La Jolla, CA – see agenda for details.

#GreatAntarcticClimateHack is a workshop to train non-modeling experts to use observational datasets to interrogate CMIP model results, thereby creating new model metrics and validation tools. The aim of the workshop is to facilitate preparation for the next IPCC report for a much broader science community, increase non-traditional climate modeling publications, and learn to apply/utilize data sets that help develop model validation skills. This first workshop will accommodate 50 participants on site, and 50 participants joining remotely online.