A Lagrangian Method to Isolate the Impacts of Mixed Layer Subduction on the Meridional Overturning Circulation in a Numerical Model

Type Article
Date 2015-10
Language English
Author(s) Thomas Matthew1, Treguier Anne-Marie1, Blanke Bruno2, Deshayes Julie2, 3, Voldoire Aurore4
Affiliation(s) 1 : CNRS Ifremer IRD UBO, Lab Phys Oceans, UMR 6523, Plouzane, France.
2 : CNRS Ifremer IRD UBO, Lab Phys Oceans, UMR 6523, Brest, France.
3 : Univ Cape Town, Dept Oceanog, Int Ctr Educ Marine & Atmospher Sci Africa, ZA-7925 Cape Town, South Africa.
4 : Meteo France, CNRS, CNRM GAME, Toulouse, France.
Source Journal Of Climate (0894-8755) (Amer Meteorological Soc), 2015-10 , Vol. 28 , N. 19 , P. 7503-7517
DOI 10.1175/JCLI-D-14-00631.1
WOS© Times Cited 21
Keyword(s) Circulation, Dynamics, Convection, Lagrangian circulation, transport, Meridional overturning circulation, Atm, Ocean Structure, Phenomena, Oceanic mixed layer, Models and modeling, General circulation models
Abstract Large differences in the Atlantic meridional overturning circulation (AMOC) exhibited between the available ocean models pose problems as to how they can be interpreted for climate policy. A novel Lagrangian methodology has been developed for use with ocean models that enables a decomposition of the AMOC according to its source waters of subduction from the mixed layer of different geographical regions. The method is described here and used to decompose the AMOC of the Centre National de Recherches Météorologiques (CNRM) ocean model, which is approximately 4.5 Sv (1 Sv = 106 m3 s−1) too weak at 26°N, compared to observations. Contributions from mixed layer subduction to the peak AMOC at 26°N in the model are dominated by the Labrador Sea, which contributes 7.51 Sv; but contributions from the Nordic seas, the Irminger Sea, and the Rockall basin are also important. These waters mostly originate where deep mixed layers border the topographic slopes of the Subpolar Gyre and Nordic seas. The too-weak model AMOC can be explained by weak model representations of the overflow and of Irminger Sea subduction. These are offset by the large Labrador Sea component, which is likely to be too strong as a result of unrealistically distributed and too-deep mixed layers near the shelf.
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