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by TIM last modified Apr 03, 2015 07:22 PM



Objectives :

The Solwara project aims at better understanding the inflow, the outflow and the circulation within the Solomon Sea, as well as geochemical sources and water mass transformations along this pathway to the equator. The objectives are:

  • To measure, model and understand the total transport from the Coral Sea to the equator and the partitioning in the transport between the different Solomon Straits on seasonal to interannual time scales;

  • To evaluate the partition between the western boundary current and the direct flow from the SEC to the east Solomon Sea;

  • To describe in details the inside Solomon Sea circulation and flows between trenches and islands;

  • To evaluate water mass transformation and mixing through the Solomon Sea, with a special focus on the geochemical sources from the Solomon and PNG margins.

  • To estimate the intensity and time scales of element exchanges along the Solomon Sea margins.

  • To estimate the geographic origins, pathways and transit times of these water masses, between the Coral Sea and the equatorial region.


Main tasks

The oceanic circulation in the South Pacific redistributes waters from the large subtropical gyre toward the equator through a subtle journey, as suggested by model results and meridional gradients of trace elements. These waters are first transported from the central South Pacific, westward, in the South Equatorial Current and eventually join the equator after transiting in the western boundary current system of the Coral and Solomon Seas. This circulation is also associated with the equatorward supply of trace elements that controls biological activity in the equatorial area. The Solwara project aims at improving our physical and geochemical knowledge of the oceanic features of the Solomon Sea, as well as the development of numerical modeling tools and optimal monitoring systems to adequately sample the time-variability. Improving the realism of the oceanic circulation in this region in climate models may improve the realism of decadal variability, and thus permit a better understanding of its mechanisms. The “Solwara" project will be an important contribution to SPICE ( ; fiche-SPICE) and GEOGRACES ( international programs.


Two major results & prospective

Pandora A multidisciplinary cruise (Pandora, 40 days on l’Atalante) was done in July 2012 through a France-USA collaboration. It completed a 2007 survey (Flusec, Alis) along the south boundary of the Solomon Sea, and was followed by a 30 day cruise in 2014 (RV Thompson) to renew the moorings and repeat measurements on a different season.

Future: The tremendous data set and numerical simulation generated by the recent cruises and models will be a large research focus on the next 3 years, with at least three LEGOS theses. Substantial efforts are required to accomplish the basic analysis (geochemical lab measurements and CTD/Nutrient treatments). Future developments will include understanding the role of the Solomon Sea transports in the tropical climate system.

Indicators: 16 peer reviewed papers, 7 theses, 6 masters were based on Solwara. Data are stored at SISMER, CYBER data bank; and will be transferred to the Geotraces Data Center in 2014 (website below)

Masters: Q-P.Duong(2008) M.Grenier(2010) C.Pegliassco(2011) K. Guerreiro(2012) S.Leray(2012) E.Privat (2013)

Thesis: A.Melet(2010) M.Grenier(2012) F.Gasparin(2012) N.Djath(2014) M.Labatut(2014) V.Sanial(2015) C.Germineaud (2016)

Publications/Fiches: Melet et al.2010a,2010b,2011,2013 Cravatte et al.2011 Grenier et al.2011,2013,2014 Eldin et al.2013 Gasparin et al.2012; Gourdeau et al.2014; Ganachaud et al.2013,2014; Djath et al.2014a,2014b ; Delcroix et al.2014.

Website: (Numerical model simulations


Participants: S. Cravatte, A. Ganachaud, C. Jeandel, G. Eldin, L. Goudeau, J. Lefevre, P. van Beek, F. Lacan, M. Souhaut, C. Pradoux.

Partners: Scripps Institute of Oceanography (SIO); Pacific Marine Environmental Laboratory (NOAA/PMEL); University of the South Pacific (USP, Fiji); University of Papua New Guinea (UPNG); LGGE, Grenoble, GET, Toulouse, LOCEAN, Paris, MIO, Marseille, CSIRO, Australia.


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