Assessing temperature fingerprints for the Atlantic overturning in the past two millennia Journal Article uri icon



  • ; <p>The Atlantic Meridional Overturning Circulation (AMOC) is essential to maintain the temperate climates of Europe and North America. It redistributes heat from the tropics, and stores carbon in the deep ocean. Yet, its variability and evolution are largely unknown due to the lack of long-term direct circulation measurements. Previous studies suggest a connection between the variability of the AMOC strength and a temperature dipole in the North Atlantic. These results suggest a substantial decline in the strength of the overturning at the onset of the industrial era. </p><p>Here we compare temperature reconstructions from four sediment cores in the North Atlantic with model simulations of the Community Earth System Model (CESM1) as well as the Hadley Centre Coupled Model (HadCM3) over the Common Era. By examining the correlation between the surface temperatures in the North Atlantic and the strength of the overturning we test the robustness of previously used temperature fingerprints. Analysing variability in the surface and subsurface temperatures as well as the overturning strength in models we assess possible drivers of variability in ocean circulation. We compare the persistence times and the time scale dependent variability of the AMOC, the surface and ocean temperatures in the model with those in the temperature reconstructions. The sub-surface reconstructions match with the 200m ocean temperatures in persistence times but not with the AMOC in the models. The surface temperatures in the models show persistence times similar to those obtained for the AMOC. However, time scale dependent variabilities in the surface temperatures do not match those found the AMOC. Therefore, temperature fingerprints might not be a reliable basis to reconstruct the ocean overturning strength.</p><p>Due to the systematic comparison of two models on different time scales and an assessment of surface to sub-surface temperatures this study could provide new insights into the variability of Atlantic overturning on decadal time scales and beyond.</p>;

publication date

  • March 23, 2020

has restriction

  • closed

Date in CU Experts

  • November 6, 2020 7:14 AM

Full Author List

  • Ermis RS; Moffa-S├ínchez P; Jahn A; Rehfeld K

author count

  • 4

Other Profiles