SCOR Working Group 167

Reducing Uncertainty in Soluble aerosol Trace Element Deposition (RUSTED)

The transfer of micronutrients and pollutants across the air-sea interface is a current research priority of large international programmes such as SOLAS and GEOTRACES. But addressing underlying key questions related to how far atmospheric deposition of soluble iron and other trace element (TE) aerosol – from different sources with different properties – modules marine biological activity and CO2 sequestration requires the interdisciplinary focus and international expertise of a SCOR Working Group. Furthermore, to predict how ocean ecosystems will respond to future changes in soluble TE fluxes, it is vital that models represent and reproduce current TE distributions.

RUSTED brings together a diverse group of experts from the ocean biogeochemistry, atmospheric chemistry, and modelling communities, to focus on assuring the quality of TE solubility data from aerosol leaches and improving the handling of aeolian soluble iron in Earth System models. RUSTED also addresses several of the UN Decade of Ocean Science for Sustainable Development Priority Challenges ( helping to align their goals towards the realization of a healthy ocean future.

RUSTED has three key deliverables: (1) production of a glossary of terms addressing inconsistencies in the use of terminology used by the ocean biogeochemistry and atmospheric chemistry communities;(2) a set of Standard Operating Procedures for the most frequently-used aerosol leaching schemes used for the estimation of TE solubility; (3) The creation of a new, comprehensive database of atmospheric TE measurements following FAIR (Findable, Accessible, Interoperable, and Reusable) data principles aimed to facilitate easier evaluation and calibration of global models than is currently possible.

Capacity building is a core principle of RUSTED. The database will be open-access and a workshop–seminar series will be held in India with the aim of widening participation and creating a strong, inclusive global network of scientists working at the air-sea interface. .

For further information about future workshop/events or to obtain a data submission form (to contribute aerosol TE – particularly iron- data produced withing the last 30 years), please contact Morgane Perron ( or Douglas Hamilton (

Akinori Ito (Japan), Douglas Hamilton (USA), Morgane Perron (France)
Other Full Members
Hind Al-Abadleh (Canada), Diego Gaiero (Argentina), Cassandra Gaston (USA), Tung-Yuan Ho (Taiwan), Ashwini Kumar (India), Mingjin Tang (China), Ying Ye (Germany)
Associate Members
Alex Baker (UK), Andrew Bowie (Australia), Peter Croot (Ireland), Suzanne Fietz (South Africa), Cecile Guieu (France), Nicholas Meskhidze (USA), Yeala Shaked (Israel), Holly Winton (New Zealand), Andrew Wozniak (USA), Joo-Eun Yoon (UK)
Marie-Alexandrine Sicre
Terms of Reference
  1. With a primary focus on Fe, review the past three decades of literature to identify knowledge gaps in relating the physicochemical properties of aerosol micronutrients with their solubility and bioavailability in the ocean. Synthesise data collected into: (1) an open access peer-reviewed research directions manuscript, providing guidance for future research; and (2) a database of soluble aerosol Fe measurements, providing a consistent constraint for models and a spatiotemporal focus for where new observations are most needed.

  2. Incorporate the results of the ongoing aerosol TE intercomparison to: (1) recommend a set of Standard Operating Procedures for common leach schemes; (2) publish a manuscript of comparative results for the leach schemes investigated; and (3) assess aerosol TE solubility data produced in the last 20-30 years to inform modellers on how to choose the optimal data for model validation and constraint.

  3. Utilise the available data for other aerosol trace elements and aerosol chemical composition to advance our understanding of the solubility of Fe and other biogeochemically-important elements. A synthesis paper of the relationship between aerosol TE concentrations and fractional solubility will be published.

  4. Bring together the observational and modelling communities to capitalise on the progress made from ToRs 1-3 to identify ways in which current numerical models can improve their handling of Fe, including impacts beyond ocean biogeochemistry. Address differences between laboratory and model solubilisation schemes, linking to their environmental relevance. Initiate transdisciplinary discussion to identify which micronutrients most require study next and publish the related guidance.

October 2022
Financial Sponsors
  1. November 2022 (online)

  2. January 2023 (online)

  3. June 2023 in Palma de Mallorca, Spain