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    Atlantic Meridional Overturning Circulation: Observed Transport and Variability


    Frajka-Williams, Eleanor and Ansorge, Isabelle J. and Baehr, Johanna and Bryden, Harry L. and Chidichimo, Maria Paz and Cunningham, Stuart A. and Danabasoglu, Gokhan and Dong, Shenfu and Donohue, Kathleen A. and Elipot, Shane and Heimbach, Patrick and Holliday, N. Penny and Hummels, Rebecca and Jackson, Laura C. and Karstensen, Johannes and Lankhorst, Mathhias and Le Bras, Isabela A. and Lozier, Susan and McDonagh, Elaine L. and Meinen, Christopher S. and Mercier, Herlé and Moat, Bengamin I. and Perez, Renellys C. and Piecuch, Christopher G. and Rhein, Monica and Srokosz, Meric A. and Trenberth, Kevin E. and Bacon, Sheldon and Forget, Gael and Goni, Gustavo and Kieke, Dagmar and Koelling, Jannes and Lamont, Tarron and McCarthy, Gerard D. and Mertens, Christian and Send, Uwe and Smeed, David A. and Speich, Sabrina and van den Berg, Marcel and Volkov, Denis and Wilson, Chris (2019) Atlantic Meridional Overturning Circulation: Observed Transport and Variability. Frontiers in Marine Science, 6. p. 260. ISSN 2296-7745

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    Abstract

    The Atlantic Meridional Overturning Circulation (AMOC) extends from the Southern Ocean to the northern North Atlantic, transporting heat northwards throughout the South and North Atlantic, and sinking carbon and nutrients into the deep ocean. Climate models indicate that changes to the AMOC both herald and drive climate shifts. Intensive trans-basin AMOC observational systems have been put in place to continuously monitor meridional volume transport variability, and in some cases, heat, freshwater and carbon transport. These observational programs have been used to diagnose the magnitude and origins of transport variability, and to investigate impacts of variability on essential climate variables such as sea surface temperature, ocean heat content and coastal sea level. AMOC observing approaches vary between the different systems, ranging from trans-basin arrays (OSNAP, RAPID 26°N, 11°S, SAMBA 34.5°S) to arrays concentrating on western boundaries (e.g., RAPID WAVE, MOVE 16°N). In this paper, we outline the different approaches (aims, strengths and limitations) and summarize the key results to date. We also discuss alternate approaches for capturing AMOC variability including direct estimates (e.g., using sea level, bottom pressure, and hydrography from autonomous profiling floats), indirect estimates applying budgetary approaches, state estimates or ocean reanalyses, and proxies. Based on the existing observations and their results, and the potential of new observational and formal synthesis approaches, we make suggestions as to how to evaluate a comprehensive, future-proof observational network of the AMOC to deepen our understanding of the AMOC and its role in global climate.

    Item Type: Article
    Keywords: meridional overturning circulation; thermohaline circulation; observing systems; ocean heat transport; carbon storage; moorings; circulation variability;
    Academic Unit: Faculty of Social Sciences > Geography
    Item ID: 12174
    Identification Number: https://doi.org/10.3389/fmars.2019.00260
    Depositing User: Gerard McCarthy
    Date Deposited: 17 Jan 2020 14:44
    Journal or Publication Title: Frontiers in Marine Science
    Publisher: Frontiers Media
    Refereed: Yes
    URI:

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