Towards two decades of Atlantic Ocean mass and heat transports at 26.5° N

Johns, William E.; Elipot, Shane; Smeed, David A. ORCID:; Moat, Ben ORCID:; King, Brian ORCID:; Volkov, Denis L.; Smith, Ryan H.. 2023 Towards two decades of Atlantic Ocean mass and heat transports at 26.5° N. Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society A: Mathematical, Physical and Engineering Sciences, 381 (2262).

Before downloading, please read NORA policies.
© 2023 The Authors.
johns-et-al-2023-towards-two-decades-of-atlantic-ocean-mass-and-heat-transports-at-26-5-n.pdf - Published Version
Available under License Creative Commons Attribution 4.0.

Download (1MB) | Preview


Continuous measurements of the Atlantic meridional overturning circulation (AMOC) and meridional ocean heat transport at 26.5° N began in April 2004 and are currently available through December 2020. Approximately 90% of the total meridional heat transport (MHT) at 26.5° N is carried by the zonally averaged overturning circulation, and an even larger fraction of the heat transport variability (approx. 95%) is explained by the variability of the zonally averaged overturning. A physically based separation of the heat transport into large-scale AMOC, gyre and shallow wind-driven overturning components remains challenging and requires new investigations and approaches. We review the major interannual changes in the AMOC and MHT that have occurred over the nearly two decades of available observations and their documented impacts on North Atlantic heat content. Changes in the flow-weighted temperature of the Florida Current (Gulf Stream) over the past two decades are now taken into account in the estimates of MHT, and have led to an increased heat transport relative to the AMOC strength in recent years. Estimates of the MHT at 26.5° N from coupled models and various surface flux datasets still tend to show low biases relative to the observations, but indirect estimates based on residual methods (top of atmosphere net radiative flux minus atmospheric energy divergence) have shown recent promise in reproducing the heat transport and its interannual variability. This article is part of a discussion meeting issue ‘Atlantic overturning: new observations and challenges’.

Item Type: Publication - Article
Digital Object Identifier (DOI):
ISSN: 1364-503X
Additional Keywords: Atlantic meridional overturning circulation, ocean heat transport, ocean circulation time series, climate variability
Date made live: 22 Nov 2023 20:15 +0 (UTC)

Actions (login required)

View Item View Item

Document Downloads

Downloads for past 30 days

Downloads per month over past year

More statistics for this item...