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Vertical heat transports in the ocean and their effect on time-dependent climate change

Gregory, J. M. ORCID: (2000) Vertical heat transports in the ocean and their effect on time-dependent climate change. Climate Dynamics, 16 (7). pp. 501-515. ISSN 0930-7575

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To link to this item DOI: 10.1007/s003820000059


In response to increasing atmospheric con- centrations of greenhouse gases, the rate of time- dependent climate change is determined jointly by the strength of climate feedbacks and the e�ciency of pro- cesses which remove heat from the surface into the deep ocean. This work examines the vertical heat transport processes in the ocean of the HADCM2 atmosphere± ocean general circulation model (AOGCM) in experi- ments with CO2 held constant (control) and increasing at 1% per year (anomaly). The control experiment shows that global average heat exchanges between the upper and lower ocean are dominated by the Southern Ocean, where heat is pumped downwards by the wind- driven circulation and di�uses upwards along sloping isopycnals. This is the reverse of the low-latitude balance used in upwelling±di�usion ocean models, the global average upward di�usive transport being against the temperature gradient. In the anomaly experiment, weakened convection at high latitudes leads to reduced diffusive and convective heat loss from the deep ocean, and hence to net heat uptake, since the advective heat input is less a�ected. Reduction of deep water produc- tion at high latitudes results in reduced upwelling of cold water at low latitudes, giving a further contribution to net heat uptake. On the global average, high-latitude processes thus have a controlling in¯uence. The impor- tant role of di�usion highlights the need to ensure that the schemes employed in AOGCMs give an accurate representation of the relevant sub-grid-scale processes.

Item Type:Article
Divisions:Science > School of Mathematical, Physical and Computational Sciences > Department of Meteorology
Science > School of Mathematical, Physical and Computational Sciences > NCAS
ID Code:19441

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