Observing the Atlantic Meridional Overturning Circulation yields a decade of inevitable surprises

A 2002 report Abrupt Climate Change: Inevitable Surprises? highlighted the North Atlantic circulation as possibly subject to abrupt change in a warming climate

M. A. Srokosz; H. L. Bryden

2015

Scholarcy highlights

  • A 2002 report Abrupt Climate Change: Inevitable Surprises? highlighted the North Atlantic circulation as possibly subject to abrupt change in a warming climate
  • The 26.5 ̊N Atlantic Meridional Overturning Circulation observations have produced a number of surprises on time scales from sub-annual to multi-annual
  • The 30% decline in the AMOC during 2009/10 was totally unexpected, and exceeded the range of inter-annual variability found in climate models used for the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change assessments
  • This event was captured by Argo and altimetry observations of the upper limb of the AMOC at 41 ̊N. This dip was accompanied by significant changes in the heat content of the ocean, with potential impacts on weather that are the subject of active research
  • Over the period of the 26.5 ̊N observations, the AMOC has been declining at rate of about 0.5 Sv per year, ten times faster than predicted by climate models
  • Visible are the low Atlantic Meridional Overturning Circulation event in 2009/10 and the overall decline in AMOC strength over the ten year period

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