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Observed Basin-Scale Response of the North Atlantic Meridional Overturning Circulation to Wind Stress Forcing

Observed Basin-Scale Response of the North Atlantic Meridional Overturning Circulation to Wind Stress Forcing
Observed Basin-Scale Response of the North Atlantic Meridional Overturning Circulation to Wind Stress Forcing
The response of the North Atlantic meridional overturning circulation (MOC) to wind stress forcing is investigated from an observational standpoint, using four time series of overturning transports below and relative to 1000 m, overlapping by 3.6 yr. These time series are derived from four mooring arrays located on the western boundary of the North Atlantic: the RAPID Western Atlantic Variability Experiment (WAVE) array (42.5°N), the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution Line W array (39°N), RAPID–MOC/MOCHA (26.5°N), and the Meridional Overturning Variability Experiment (MOVE) array (16°N). Using modal decompositions of the analytic cross-correlation between transports and wind stress, the basin-scale wind stress is shown to significantly drive the MOC coherently at four latitudes, on the time scales available for this study. The dominant mode of covariance is interpreted as rapid barotropic oceanic adjustments to wind stress forcing, eventually forming two counterrotating Ekman overturning cells centered on the tropics and subtropical gyre. A second mode of covariance appears related to patterns of wind stress and wind stress curl associated with the North Atlantic Oscillation, spinning anomalous horizontal circulations that likely interact with topography to form overturning cells.
0894-8755
2029-2054
Elipot, Shane
c298217e-deac-444a-bf05-ef02bc6dd923
Frajka-williams, Eleanor
da86044e-0f68-4cc9-8f60-7fdbc4dc19cb
Hughes, Chris W.
243911f3-a2c7-46de-bf78-7d53b19baca0
Olhede, Sofia
3a6a0e2c-e7be-4900-acc4-a42cc468c006
Lankhorst, Matthias
6850ebde-ec07-48a0-a08f-252ba1f45927
Elipot, Shane
c298217e-deac-444a-bf05-ef02bc6dd923
Frajka-williams, Eleanor
da86044e-0f68-4cc9-8f60-7fdbc4dc19cb
Hughes, Chris W.
243911f3-a2c7-46de-bf78-7d53b19baca0
Olhede, Sofia
3a6a0e2c-e7be-4900-acc4-a42cc468c006
Lankhorst, Matthias
6850ebde-ec07-48a0-a08f-252ba1f45927

Elipot, Shane, Frajka-williams, Eleanor, Hughes, Chris W., Olhede, Sofia and Lankhorst, Matthias (2017) Observed Basin-Scale Response of the North Atlantic Meridional Overturning Circulation to Wind Stress Forcing. Journal of Climate, 30 (6), 2029-2054. (doi:10.1175/JCLI-D-16-0664.1).

Record type: Article

Abstract

The response of the North Atlantic meridional overturning circulation (MOC) to wind stress forcing is investigated from an observational standpoint, using four time series of overturning transports below and relative to 1000 m, overlapping by 3.6 yr. These time series are derived from four mooring arrays located on the western boundary of the North Atlantic: the RAPID Western Atlantic Variability Experiment (WAVE) array (42.5°N), the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution Line W array (39°N), RAPID–MOC/MOCHA (26.5°N), and the Meridional Overturning Variability Experiment (MOVE) array (16°N). Using modal decompositions of the analytic cross-correlation between transports and wind stress, the basin-scale wind stress is shown to significantly drive the MOC coherently at four latitudes, on the time scales available for this study. The dominant mode of covariance is interpreted as rapid barotropic oceanic adjustments to wind stress forcing, eventually forming two counterrotating Ekman overturning cells centered on the tropics and subtropical gyre. A second mode of covariance appears related to patterns of wind stress and wind stress curl associated with the North Atlantic Oscillation, spinning anomalous horizontal circulations that likely interact with topography to form overturning cells.

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Accepted/In Press date: 19 November 2016
e-pub ahead of print date: 1 March 2017
Published date: 15 March 2017
Organisations: Ocean and Earth Science, Physical Oceanography

Identifiers

Local EPrints ID: 407629
URI: http://eprints.soton.ac.uk/id/eprint/407629
ISSN: 0894-8755
PURE UUID: c96a2b60-e89a-4bf8-b48c-788a97198f9c
ORCID for Eleanor Frajka-williams: ORCID iD orcid.org/0000-0001-8773-7838

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Date deposited: 16 Apr 2017 17:06
Last modified: 09 Jan 2022 03:32

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Contributors

Author: Shane Elipot
Author: Eleanor Frajka-williams ORCID iD
Author: Chris W. Hughes
Author: Sofia Olhede
Author: Matthias Lankhorst

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