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Past, present and future change in the Atlantic meridional overturning circulation

Srokosz, M., Baringer, M., Bryden, H., Cunningham, S., Delworth, T., Lozier, S., Marotzke, J. and Sutton, R. ORCID: (2012) Past, present and future change in the Atlantic meridional overturning circulation. Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society, 93 (11). pp. 1663-1676. ISSN 1520-0477

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To link to this item DOI: 10.1175/BAMS-D-11-00151.1


Observations and numerical modelling experiments provide evidence for links between variability in the Atlantic Meridional Overturning Circulation (AMOC) and global climate patterns. Reduction in the strength of the overturning circulation is thought to have played a key role in rapid climate change in the past and may have the potential to significantly influence climate change in the future, as noted in the last two IPCC assessment reports (2001, 2007). Both IPCC reports also highlighted the significant uncertainties that exist regarding the future behaviour of the AMOC under global warming. Model results suggest that changes in the AMOC can impact surface air temperature, precipitation patterns and sea level, particularly in areas bordering the North Atlantic, thus affecting human populations. Here current understanding of past, present and future change in the AMOC and the effects of such changes on climate are reviewed. The focus is on observations of the AMOC, how the AMOC influences climate and in what way the AMOC is likely to change over the next few decades and the 21st 34 century. The potential for decadal prediction of the AMOC is also discussed. Finally, the outstanding challenges and possible future directions for AMOC research are outlined.

Item Type:Article
Divisions:Science > School of Mathematical, Physical and Computational Sciences > NCAS
ID Code:27753
Publisher:American Meteorological Society


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