Atlantic pycnocline theory scrutinized using a coupled climate model

Journal article

Publication Details

Author(s): Levermann A, Fürst J
Journal: Geophysical Research Letters
Publication year: 2010
Volume: 37
ISSN: 0094-8276
Language: English


Simulations with changed Southern Ocean wind-stress, oceanic vertical mixing, surface freshwater forcing and global warming confirm the basic equations of Gnanadesikan's (1999) theory for the Atlantic: one vertical scale, the pycnocline depth D, contributes inversely proportional to low-latitudinal upwelling and linearly to Southern Ocean eddy transport. The maximum Atlantic overturning is confirmed to be quadratic in D but is also shown to be linear in a meridional density difference Delta rho. Our simulations strongly suggest that the theory needs to be complemented by a dynamical equation for Delta rho since changes in both D and Delta rho are significant and mutually independent. While, under global warming D varies strongly and Delta rho is practically constant, the situation is reversed for altered surface freshwater fluxes. Similarly, variations in the meridional length scale of Southern Ocean outcropping require a dynamical equation in order to capture the fundamental behavior of the Atlantic meridional overturning circulation. Citation: Levermann, A., and J. J. Furst (2010), Atlantic pycnocline theory scrutinized using a coupled climate model, Geophys. Res. Lett., 37, L14602, doi:10.1029/2010GL044180.

FAU Authors / FAU Editors

Fürst, Johannes Dr.
Institut für Geographie

External institutions with authors

Universität Potsdam

How to cite

Levermann, A., & Fürst, J. (2010). Atlantic pycnocline theory scrutinized using a coupled climate model. Geophysical Research Letters, 37.

Levermann, Anders, and Johannes Fürst. "Atlantic pycnocline theory scrutinized using a coupled climate model." Geophysical Research Letters 37 (2010).


Last updated on 2018-02-11 at 18:10