Temporal variability of the Atlantic meridional overturning circulation at 26.5°N

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

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The vigor of Atlantic meridional overturning circulation (MOC) is thought to be vulnerable to global warming, but its short-term temporal variability is unknown so changes inferred from sparse observations on the decadal time scale of recent climate change are uncertain. We combine continuous measurements of the MOC (beginning in 2004) using the purposefully designed transatlantic Rapid Climate Change array of moored instruments deployed along 26.5°N, with time series of Gulf Stream transport and surface-layer Ekman transport to quantify its intra-annual variability. The year-long average overturning is 18.7 ± 5.6 sverdrups (Sv) (range: 4.0 to 34.9 Sv, where 1 Sv = a flow of ocean water of 106 cubic meters per second). Interannual changes in the overturning can be monitored with a resolution of 1.5 Sv.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)935-938
Number of pages4
Issue number5840
StatePublished - Aug 17 2007


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Temporal variability of the Atlantic meridional overturning circulation at 26.5°N. / Cunningham, Stuart A.; Kanzow, Torsten; Rayner, Darren; Baringer, Molly O.; Johns, William E; Marotzke, Jochem; Longworth, Hannah R.; Grant, Elizabeth M.; Hirschi, Joël J M; Beal, Lisa; Meinen, Christopher S.; Bryden, Harry L.

In: Science, Vol. 317, No. 5840, 17.08.2007, p. 935-938.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle