Changes in ocean vertical heat transport with global warming

Zika, Jan D.; Laliberté, Frédéric; Mudryk, Lawrence R.; Sijp, Willem P.; Nurser, A.J.G.. 2015 Changes in ocean vertical heat transport with global warming. Geophysical Research Letters, 42 (12). 4940-4948.

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Heat transport between the surface and deep ocean strongly influences transient climate change. Mechanisms setting this transport are investigated using coupled climate models and by projecting ocean circulation into the temperature-depth diagram. In this diagram, a “cold cell” cools the deep ocean through the downwelling of Antarctic waters and upwelling of warmer waters and is balanced by warming due to a “warm cell,” coincident with the interhemispheric overturning and previously linked to wind and haline forcing. With anthropogenic warming, the cold cell collapses while the warm cell continues to warm the deep ocean. Simulations with increasingly strong warm cells, set by their mean Southern Hemisphere winds, exhibit increasing deep-ocean warming in response to the same anthropogenic forcing. It is argued that the partition between components of the circulation which cool and warm the deep ocean in the preindustrial climate is a key determinant of ocean vertical heat transport with global warming.

Item Type: Publication - Article
Digital Object Identifier (DOI):
ISSN: 00948276
Additional Keywords: ocean heat uptake; overturning circulation; climate modeling; vertical advection; water masses; thermodynamic coordinates
NORA Subject Terms: Marine Sciences
Date made live: 30 Jun 2015 08:49 +0 (UTC)

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