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Meridional coherence of the North Atlantic meridional overturning circulation

Bingham, R. J.; Hughes, C.; Roussenov, V.; Williams, R. G.. 2007 Meridional coherence of the North Atlantic meridional overturning circulation. Geophysical Research Letters, 34 (23). L23606. 10.1029/2007GL031731

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Abstract/Summary

The North Atlantic Meridional Overturning Circulation (MOC) is associated with deep water formation at high latitudes, and climatically-important ocean-atmosphere heat fluxes, hence the current substantial effort to monitor the MOC. While it is expected that, on sufficiently long time scales, variations in the MOC would be coherent across latitudes south of the deep water formation region, it is not clear whether coherence should be expected at shorter timescales. In this paper, we investigate the coherence of MOC variations in a range of ocean models. We find that, across a range of model physics, resolution, and forcing scenarios, there is a change in the character of the overturning north and south of about 40 degrees N. To the north the variability has a strong decadal component, while to the south higher frequencies dominate. This acts to significantly reduce the meridional coherence of the MOC, even on interannual timescales. A physical interpretation in terms of an underlying meridionally coherent mode, strongest at high latitudes, but swamped by higher frequency, more localised processes south of 40 degrees N is provided. Citation: Bingham, R. J., C. W. Hughes, V. Roussenov, and R. G. Williams ( 2007), Meridional coherence of the North Atlantic meridional overturning circulation

Item Type: Publication - Article
Digital Object Identifier (DOI): 10.1029/2007GL031731
Programmes: Oceans 2025 > Climate, ocean circulation and sea level
ISSN: 0094-8276
Additional Keywords: AJWDEC07 HIJ AR0708 NISCJAN08 OPM2007 NORAJAN08 ISI REF LLT314AC THEME 1 UKUNIVCOAUTHOR THERMOHALINE CIRCULATION VARIABILITY JOURNAL
NORA Subject Terms: Marine Sciences
Date made live: 08 Oct 2008 08:53
URI: http://nora.nerc.ac.uk/id/eprint/2760

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