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Advances in reconstructing the AMOC using sea surface observations of salinity

Estella-Perez, V., Mignot, J., Guilyardi, E., Swingedouw, D. and Reverdin, G. (2020) Advances in reconstructing the AMOC using sea surface observations of salinity. Climate Dynamics, 55 (3-4). pp. 975-992. ISSN 0930-7575

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To link to this item DOI: 10.1007/s00382-020-05304-4


The Atlantic meridional overturning circulation (AMOC) is one of the main drivers of climate variability at decadal and longer time scales. As there are no direct multi-decadal observations of this key circulation, the reconstruction of past AMOC variations is essential. This work presents a step forward in reconstructing the AMOC using climate models and time-varying surface nudging of salinity and temperature data, for which independent multi-decadal observed series are available. A number of nudging protocols are explored in a perfect model framework to best reproduce the AMOC variability accommodating to the characteristics of SST and SSS available products. As reference SST products with sufficient space and time coverage are available, we here choose to focus on the limitations associated to SSS products with the goal of providing protocols using independent salinity products. We consider a global gridded dataset and, additionally, a coarser SSS dataset restricted to the Atlantic and with a quite low spatial resolution (order of 10 degrees vs. 2 for the model grid). We show how, using the latter, we can improve the efficiency of the nudging on the AMOC reconstruction by adding a high-resolution annual cycle to the coarse resolution SSS product as well as a spatial downscaling to account for SSS gradient. The final protocol retained for the coarse SSS data is able to reconstruct a 100-year long AMOC period (average of 10.18 Sv and a standard deviation of 1.39 Sv), with a correlation of 0.76 to the target and a RMSE of 0.99 Sv. These values can be respectively compared to 0.85 and 0.75 Sv when using the global salinity surface observations. This work provides a first step towards understanding the limitations and prospects of historical AMOC reconstructions using different sea surface salinity datasets for the surface nudging.

Item Type:Article
Divisions:Science > School of Mathematical, Physical and Computational Sciences > NCAS
ID Code:91723


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