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Ocean heat storage rate unaffected by MOC weakening in an idealized climate model

Shatwell, P., Czaja, A. and Ferreira, D. ORCID: (2020) Ocean heat storage rate unaffected by MOC weakening in an idealized climate model. Geophysical Research Letters, 47 (16). e2020GL089849. ISSN 0094-8276

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To link to this item DOI: 10.1029/2020GL089849


To study the role of the Atlantic meridional overturning circulation (AMOC) in climate change, we perform an abrupt CO2-doubling experiment using a coupled atmosphere-ocean-ice model with a simple geometry that separates the ocean into small and large basins. As in observations and high-end climate models, the small basin exhibits a MOC and warms at a faster rate than the large basin. In our set-up, this contrast in heat storage rates is 0.6 ± 0.1 W m2, and we argue that this is due to the small basin MOC. However, the MOC weakens significantly, yet this has little impact on the small basin’s heat storage rate. We find this is due to the effects of both compensating warming pat- 22 terns and interbasin heat transports. Thus, although the presence of a MOC is important for enhanced heat storage, MOC weakening is surprisingly unimportant.

Item Type:Article
Divisions:Science > School of Mathematical, Physical and Computational Sciences > Department of Meteorology
ID Code:93174
Publisher:American Geophysical Union


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