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Arctic sea-ice decline weakens the Atlantic Meridional Overturning Circulation

Arctic sea-ice decline weakens the Atlantic Meridional Overturning Circulation
Arctic sea-ice decline weakens the Atlantic Meridional Overturning Circulation
The ongoing decline of Arctic sea ice exposes the ocean to anomalous surface heat and freshwater fluxes, resulting in positive buoyancy anomalies that can affect ocean circulation. In this study, we use an optimal flux perturbation framework and comprehensive climate model simulations to estimate the sensitivity of the Atlantic Meridional Overturning Circulation (AMOC) to such buoyancy forcing over the Arctic and globally, and more generally to sea-ice decline. It is found that on decadal timescales, flux anomalies over the subpolar North Atlantic have the largest impact on the AMOC, while on multi-decadal timescales (longer than 20 years), flux anomalies in the Arctic become more important. These positive buoyancy anomalies spread to the North Atlantic, weakening the AMOC and its poleward heat transport. Therefore, the Arctic sea-ice decline may explain the suggested slow-down of the AMOC and the ‘Warming Hole’ persisting in the subpolar North Atlantic.
1758-678X
604-610
Sévellec, Florian
01569d6c-65b0-4270-af2a-35b0a77c9140
Fedorov, Alexey V.
c4234650-4a09-4d65-b6fc-cebd592a788f
Liu, Wei
e08c44ca-6b99-4f8d-9877-0619e85b4d54
Sévellec, Florian
01569d6c-65b0-4270-af2a-35b0a77c9140
Fedorov, Alexey V.
c4234650-4a09-4d65-b6fc-cebd592a788f
Liu, Wei
e08c44ca-6b99-4f8d-9877-0619e85b4d54

Sévellec, Florian, Fedorov, Alexey V. and Liu, Wei (2017) Arctic sea-ice decline weakens the Atlantic Meridional Overturning Circulation. Nature Climate Change, 7 (8), 604-610. (doi:10.1038/nclimate3353).

Record type: Article

Abstract

The ongoing decline of Arctic sea ice exposes the ocean to anomalous surface heat and freshwater fluxes, resulting in positive buoyancy anomalies that can affect ocean circulation. In this study, we use an optimal flux perturbation framework and comprehensive climate model simulations to estimate the sensitivity of the Atlantic Meridional Overturning Circulation (AMOC) to such buoyancy forcing over the Arctic and globally, and more generally to sea-ice decline. It is found that on decadal timescales, flux anomalies over the subpolar North Atlantic have the largest impact on the AMOC, while on multi-decadal timescales (longer than 20 years), flux anomalies in the Arctic become more important. These positive buoyancy anomalies spread to the North Atlantic, weakening the AMOC and its poleward heat transport. Therefore, the Arctic sea-ice decline may explain the suggested slow-down of the AMOC and the ‘Warming Hole’ persisting in the subpolar North Atlantic.

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Accepted/In Press date: 26 June 2017
e-pub ahead of print date: 31 July 2017
Published date: August 2017

Identifiers

Local EPrints ID: 412805
URI: http://eprints.soton.ac.uk/id/eprint/412805
ISSN: 1758-678X
PURE UUID: 7251e57c-1f14-44e5-b5f5-aa473ac48046

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Date deposited: 02 Aug 2017 16:30
Last modified: 07 Oct 2020 04:24

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