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

The importance of deep, basinwide measurements in optimised Atlantic Meridional Overturning Circulation observing arrays
The importance of deep, basinwide measurements in optimised Atlantic Meridional Overturning Circulation observing arrays
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.
0148-0227
1808–1826
McCarthy, G.D.
99241bcb-5667-469d-b7ae-4d308d516bd6
Menary, M.B.
c3f5d4e9-1862-4d75-9a2e-090e861c854f
Mecking, J.V.
9b090069-5061-4340-b736-9690894ce203
Moat, B.I.
497dbb18-a98f-466b-b459-aa2c872ad2dc
Johns, W.E.
e69b0088-c832-4ed8-94f6-9c5e9e6f62af
Andrews, M.
9622a1fa-6aca-4008-b3de-d9e851b495ca
Rayner, D.
60eaf35c-c54e-447b-8551-efc08637d122
Smeed, D.A.
79eece5a-c870-47f9-bba0-0a4ef0369490
McCarthy, G.D.
99241bcb-5667-469d-b7ae-4d308d516bd6
Menary, M.B.
c3f5d4e9-1862-4d75-9a2e-090e861c854f
Mecking, J.V.
9b090069-5061-4340-b736-9690894ce203
Moat, B.I.
497dbb18-a98f-466b-b459-aa2c872ad2dc
Johns, W.E.
e69b0088-c832-4ed8-94f6-9c5e9e6f62af
Andrews, M.
9622a1fa-6aca-4008-b3de-d9e851b495ca
Rayner, D.
60eaf35c-c54e-447b-8551-efc08637d122
Smeed, D.A.
79eece5a-c870-47f9-bba0-0a4ef0369490

McCarthy, G.D., Menary, M.B., Mecking, J.V., Moat, B.I., Johns, W.E., Andrews, M., Rayner, D. and Smeed, D.A. (2017) The importance of deep, basinwide measurements in optimised Atlantic Meridional Overturning Circulation observing arrays. Journal of Geophysical Research, 122 (3), 1808–1826. (doi:10.1002/2016JC012200).

Record type: Article

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.

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Accepted/In Press date: 23 January 2017
e-pub ahead of print date: 10 March 2017
Organisations: Ocean and Earth Science, Physical Oceanography, National Oceanography Centre, Marine Physics and Ocean Climate

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Local EPrints ID: 405135
URI: http://eprints.soton.ac.uk/id/eprint/405135
ISSN: 0148-0227
PURE UUID: 89ee2573-d5e5-4c36-9f57-d14eca493e19

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Date deposited: 25 Jan 2017 14:05
Last modified: 28 Jan 2022 05:03

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Contributors

Author: G.D. McCarthy
Author: M.B. Menary
Author: J.V. Mecking
Author: B.I. Moat
Author: W.E. Johns
Author: M. Andrews
Author: D. Rayner
Author: D.A. Smeed

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