The importance of deep, basinwide measurements in optimized Atlantic Meridional Overturning Circulation observing arrays

G. D. Mccarthy, M. B. Menary, J. V. Mecking, B. I. Moat, William E Johns, M. B. Andrews, D. Rayner, D. A. Smeed

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

4 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

The Atlantic Meridional Overturning Circulation (AMOC) is a key process in the global redistribution of heat. The AMOC is defined as the maximum of the overturning stream function, which typically occurs near 30°N in the North Atlantic. The RAPID mooring array has provided full-depth, basinwide, continuous estimates of this quantity since 2004. Motivated by both the need to deliver near real-time data and optimization of the array to reduce costs, we consider alternative configurations of the mooring array. Results suggest that the variability observed since 2004 could be reproduced by a single tall mooring on the western boundary and a mooring to 1500 m on the eastern boundary. We consider the potential future evolution of the AMOC in two generations of the Hadley Centre climate models and a suite of additional CMIP5 models. The modeling studies show that deep, basinwide measurements are essential to capture correctly the future decline of the AMOC. We conclude that, while a reduced array could be useful for estimates of the AMOC on subseasonal to decadal time scales as part of a near real-time data delivery system, extreme caution must be applied to avoid the potential misinterpretation or absence of a climate time scale AMOC decline that is a key motivation for the maintenance of these observations.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalJournal of Geophysical Research: Oceans
DOIs
StateAccepted/In press - 2017

Fingerprint

Mooring
meridional circulation
mooring
climate models
climate
heat
Climate models
timescale
estimates
maintenance
delivery
climate modeling
costs
Costs
optimization
configurations
cost
modeling

Keywords

  • AMOC
  • Atlantic overturning
  • Climate change
  • Climate model
  • Mooring array
  • Observing systems

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geophysics
  • Oceanography
  • Forestry
  • Ecology
  • Aquatic Science
  • Water Science and Technology
  • Soil Science
  • Geochemistry and Petrology
  • Earth-Surface Processes
  • Atmospheric Science
  • Earth and Planetary Sciences (miscellaneous)
  • Space and Planetary Science
  • Palaeontology

Cite this

The importance of deep, basinwide measurements in optimized Atlantic Meridional Overturning Circulation observing arrays. / Mccarthy, G. D.; Menary, M. B.; Mecking, J. V.; Moat, B. I.; Johns, William E; Andrews, M. B.; Rayner, D.; Smeed, D. A.

In: Journal of Geophysical Research: Oceans, 2017.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Mccarthy, G. D. ; Menary, M. B. ; Mecking, J. V. ; Moat, B. I. ; Johns, William E ; Andrews, M. B. ; Rayner, D. ; Smeed, D. A. / The importance of deep, basinwide measurements in optimized Atlantic Meridional Overturning Circulation observing arrays. In: Journal of Geophysical Research: Oceans. 2017.
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