Welcome to ASOF

ASOF is an international program on the oceanography of the Arctic and Subarctic seas and their role in climate. ASOF focusses on ocean fluxes of mass, heat, freshwater, and ice in the Arctic and Subarctic oceans.

The program was established in 2000 and the first phase from 2000 - 2008 coordinated novel measurements in novel places in order to produce a basiline freshwater flux budget for Arctic inflows and outflows. The first ASOF phase had the overall goal to measure and model the variability of fluxe between the Arctic Ocean and the Atlantic Ocean with the view to implementing a longer term system of critical measurements needed  to understand the high-latitude ocean's steeming role in decadal climate variability.

In 2008 the ASOF book was published entitled "Arctic-Subarctic Ocean Fluxes: Defining the Role of the Northern Seas in Climate" summarizing the state of the science at that time (available here).

Since 2008, ASOF has entered a second phase: ASOF II. Bob Dickson, the inspiration behind ASOF and the first Scientific Coordinator, stepped down and was replaced by Tom Haine. ASOF II still has a focus on fluxes, but now has a charge to apply the knowledge gained during the first phase to broader issues of high scientific and societal importance. In particular, ASOF II foci are:

  • To perform an Arctic/Subarctic synthesis of mass, heat & freshwater fluxes,
  • To interact with scientists and programs studying Arctic/Subarctic ocean ecosystems and biology,
  • To assist testing of ocean circulation and biophysical models of the Arctic and Subarctic.

See more details at ASOF II objectives.

ASOF has been sponsored by 16 agencies and institutes in 7 countries in the past. Currently, AWI is supporting ASOF II. ASOF II consists of an International Scientific Steering Group which meets annually to discuss progress and plans. Please contact Tom Haine if you would like to attend the next meeting or become involved in the ISSG.

EGU session on Impacts of Ocean Shelf Exchange

Please consider attending and submitting an abstract to the EGU session on Impacts of Ocean Shelf Exchange, with relevance to ASOF science. See http://meetingorganizer.copernicus.org/EGU2015/session/17790 for details. The abstract deadline is: 7Jan15 and the meeting is 12-17Apr15 in Vienna, Austria.

Impacts of Ocean Shelf Exchange:

The continental shelf edge is a critical physical and biochemical gateway for exchange between oceanic and shelf seas with impacts on a global scale.

Complex physical processes control the vertical and horizontal exchange and mixing of mass, energy, salt and heat across the shelf/ocean boundary. In temperate latitudes these processes have an important role in determining fluxes of nutrients and carbon, and help sustain the high productivity of shelf seas. In high latitudes freshwater processes on shelves influence the global overturning circulation. In polar latitudes heat transport is thought to play an order one role in ice sheet behaviour, with consequences for ice mass balance and global sea level. Poor resolution of shelf processes in current global models can cause inaccurate circulation estimates, inaccurate meridional heat and salt transport estimates, and poor residence time estimates for shelf seas.

Important examples of exchange processes at the shelf edge include large scale wind driven flows and Ekman drainage, intermediate scale eddies and meanders, and fluxes driven by the internal tide. At the coast freshwater runoff and ice discharge, wind driven upwelling, eddies, filaments and jets also play important roles.

In this session we invite contributions on all aspects of ocean/shelf exchange, and their impacts on all scales. Observational, modelling and theoretical studies that explore exchange processes and their impacts are welcomed.

Convenors: Mark Inall, Jo Hopkins, Mattias Green, Thomas W.N. Haine, John Siddorn, Pierre Dutrieux


Scientific Coordinator:
Thomas Haine

Administrative Support:
Lilian Schubert



Save the Date

Please block March 16 - 18, 2015, in your calendar for the next ISSG meeting at the Alfred-Wegener-Institute in Bremerhaven!