Welcome to ASOF

ASOF is an international program on the oceanography of the Arctic and Subarctic seas and their role in climate. ASOF focuses 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 baseline freshwater flux budget for Arctic inflows and outflows. The first ASOF phase had the overall goal to:

measure and model the variability of fluxes 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 steering 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.

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Scientific Coordinator:
Thomas Haine

Administrative Support:
Lilian Schubert