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Air-Sea fluxes and the Atlantic Overturning Circulation

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The Atlantic Meridional Overturning Circulation (AMOC) is an important mechanism for the transport of heat from the tropics to latitudes nearer the British Isles. As a consequence considerable effort has recently been put into monitoring and understanding its variability. However, in a 2000 Journal of Climate paper, Marsh (2000) argued that providing certain assumptions hold, it maybe possible for the AMOC to be ‘largely inferred from surface fluxes alone’. This could be achieved by calculating a diagnostic called the ‘surface-forced overturning’. We have been examining the validity of this approach through the analysis of IPCC climate models and an eddy-permitting ocean only model. We have also begun to consider how our knowledge of sub-polar North Atlantic air-sea fluxes may practically limit such an approach to monitoring the AMOC .

This talk is part of the British Antarctic Survey - Polar Oceans seminar series series.

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