Subpolar North Atlantic western boundary density anomalies and the Meridional Overturning Circulation

Type Article
Date 2021-05
Language English
Author(s) Li F.ORCID1, 2, Lozier M. S.2, Bacon S.ORCID3, Bower A. S.4, Cunningham S. A.ORCID5, de Jong M. F.ORCID6, Deyoung B.7, Fraser N.ORCID5, Fried N.ORCID6, Han G.ORCID8, 9, Holliday N. P.ORCID3, Holte J.10, Houpert L.ORCID3, Inall M. E.5, 11, Johns W. E.12, Jones S.5, Johnson C.5, Karstensen J.ORCID13, Le Bras I. A.ORCID4, 10, Lherminier PascaleORCID14, Lin X.ORCID15, Mercier HerleORCID16, Oltmanns M.ORCID13, Pacini A.ORCID4, Petit T.ORCID2, Pickart R. S.4, Rayner D.3, Straneo F.ORCID10, Thierry VirginieORCID14, Visbeck M.13, Yashayaev I.ORCID17, Zhou C.ORCID15
Affiliation(s) 1 : State Key Laboratory of Marine Environmental Science & College of Ocean and Earth Sciences, Xiamen University, Xiamen, China
2 : School of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences, Georgia Institute of Technology, Atlanta, GA, USA
3 : National Oceanography Centre, Southampton, UK
4 : Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, Woods Hole, MA, USA
5 : Scottish Association for Marine Science, Oban, UK
6 : NIOZ Royal Netherlands Institute for Sea Research, Texel, Netherlands
7 : Department of Physics and Physical Oceanography, Memorial University, St. John’s, NL, Canada
8 : Fisheries and Oceans Canada, Institute of Ocean Sciences, Sidney, BC, Canada
9 : Fisheries and Oceans Canada, Northwest Atlantic Fisheries Centre, St. John’s, NL, Canada
10 : Scripps Institution of Oceanography, UCSD, La Jolla, CA, USA
11 : School of Geosciences, Edinburgh University, Edinburgh, UK
12 : Department of Ocean Sciences, University of Miami, Miami, FL, USA
13 : GEOMAR Helmholtz Centre for Ocean Research Kiel, Kiel, Germany
14 : Univ. Brest, Ifremer, CNRS, IRD, Laboratoire d’Océanographie Physique et Spatiale, Plouzané, France
15 : Frontier Science Center for Deep Ocean Multispheres and Earth System and Physical Oceanography Laboratory, Ocean University of China, Qingdao National Laboratory for Marine Science and Technology, Qingdao, China
16 : CNRS, Laboratoire d’Océanographie Physique et Spatiale, Plouzané, France
17 : Bedford Institute of Oceanography, Dartmouth, NS, Canada
Source Nature Communications (2041-1723) (Springer Science and Business Media LLC), 2021-05 , Vol. 12 , N. 1 , P. 3002 (9p.)
DOI 10.1038/s41467-021-23350-2

Changes in the Atlantic Meridional Overturning Circulation, which have the potential to drive societally-important climate impacts, have traditionally been linked to the strength of deep water formation in the subpolar North Atlantic. Yet there is neither clear observational evidence nor agreement among models about how changes in deep water formation influence overturning. Here, we use data from a trans-basin mooring array (OSNAP—Overturning in the Subpolar North Atlantic Program) to show that winter convection during 2014–2018 in the interior basin had minimal impact on density changes in the deep western boundary currents in the subpolar basins. Contrary to previous modeling studies, we find no discernable relationship between western boundary changes and subpolar overturning variability over the observational time scales. Our results require a reconsideration of the notion of deep western boundary changes representing overturning characteristics, with implications for constraining the source of overturning variability within and downstream of the subpolar region.

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Li F., Lozier M. S., Bacon S., Bower A. S., Cunningham S. A., de Jong M. F., Deyoung B., Fraser N., Fried N., Han G., Holliday N. P., Holte J., Houpert L., Inall M. E., Johns W. E., Jones S., Johnson C., Karstensen J., Le Bras I. A., Lherminier Pascale, Lin X., Mercier Herle, Oltmanns M., Pacini A., Petit T., Pickart R. S., Rayner D., Straneo F., Thierry Virginie, Visbeck M., Yashayaev I., Zhou C. (2021). Subpolar North Atlantic western boundary density anomalies and the Meridional Overturning Circulation. Nature Communications, 12(1), 3002 (9p.). Publisher's official version : , Open Access version :