Phytoplankton are photosynthetic organisms that inhibit the upper, well lit, layer of the World Ocean. While accounting for less than 1% of the global biomass, phytoplankton are responsible for approximately half of the global primary production, making them key actors in the global carbon cycle. Phytoplankton also have important impact on the formation of sea spray aerosols (SSA) that are emitted from the ocean surface by wind driven processes, thus significantly influencing the properties of the marine boundary layer aerosol population.
Given the significant role of CO2 and SSA in regulating Earth radiative budget, accurate representation of their dependency on phytoplankton blooms, which are short lived events of elevated primary productivity, in climate models is highly important. Such representation requires quantitative understanding on various interactions between physical and biological components of the ocean-atmosphere system. In this talk I will present a cross-disciplinary effort aimed at studying these complex interactions through integration of in-situ observations of oceanic and atmospheric variables, newly developed remote sensing techniques and laboratory experiments. The cross-disciplinarian approach taken will be discussed, while showing new findings on key interactions involving phytoplankton blooms.