Can in situ floats and satellite altimeters detect long-term changes in Atlantic Ocean overturning?
Article first published online: 25 MAR 2010
Copyright 2010 by the American Geophysical Union.
Geophysical Research Letters
Volume 37, Issue 6, March 2010
How to Cite
2010), Can in situ floats and satellite altimeters detect long-term changes in Atlantic Ocean overturning? Geophys. Res. Lett., 37, L06602, doi:10.1029/2010GL042372.(
- Issue published online: 25 MAR 2010
- Article first published online: 25 MAR 2010
- Manuscript Accepted: 18 FEB 2010
- Manuscript Revised: 11 FEB 2010
- Manuscript Received: 3 JAN 2010
- Atlantic Overturning;
 Global warming has been predicted to slow the Atlantic Meridional Overturning Circulation (AMOC), resulting in significant regional climate impacts across the North Atlantic and beyond. Here, satellite observations of sea surface height (SSH) along with temperature, salinity and velocity from profiling floats are used to estimate changes in the northward-flowing, upper limb of the AMOC at latitudes around 41°N. The 2004 through 2006 mean overturning is found to be 15.5 ± 2.4 Sv (106 m3/s) with somewhat smaller seasonal and interannual variability than at lower latitudes. There is no significant trend in overturning strength between 2002 and 2009. Altimeter data, however, suggest an increase of 2.6 Sv since 1993, consistent with North Atlantic warming during this same period. Despite significant seasonal to interannual fluctuations, these observations demonstrate that substantial slowing of the AMOC did not occur during the past 7 years and is unlikely to have occurred in the past 2 decades.