Observed flow compensation associated with the MOC at 26.5°N in the Atlantic

Torsten Kanzow, Stuart A. Cunningham, Darren Rayner, Joël J.M. Hirschi, William E. Johns, Molly O. Baringer, Harry L. Bryden, Lisa M. Beal, Christopher S. Meinen, Jochem Marotzke

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163 Scopus citations

Abstract

The Atlantic meridional overturning circulation (MOC), which provides one-quarter of the global meridional heat transport, is composed of a number of separate flow components. How changes in the strength of each of those components may affect that of the others has been unclear because of a lack of adequate data. We continuously observed the MOC at 26.5°N for 1 year using end-point measurements of density, bottom pressure, and ocean currents; cable measurements across the Straits of Florida; and wind stress. The different transport components largely compensate for each other, thus confirming the validity of our monitoring approach. The MOC varied over the period of observation by ±5.7 × 106 cubic meters per second, with density-inferred and wind-driven transports contributing equally to it. We find evidence for depth-independent compensation for the wind-driven surface flow.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)938-941
Number of pages4
JournalScience
Volume317
Issue number5840
DOIs
StatePublished - Aug 17 2007

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General

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