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ABSTRACT

Oceanic and atmospheric freshwater transports are analyzed in a numerical experiment where induced freshwater in the North Atlantic slowed the thermohaline circulation (THC). During times of weak Atlantic overturning circulation, it is found that the Intertropical Convergence Zone moves southward and trade winds at tropical latitudes increase, resulting in enhanced water vapor export out of the Atlantic catchment area. The experiment reveals furthermore that the oceanic freshwater transport amounts to a stabilizing effect of similar magnitude to the atmospheric effect. It is argued that the modeled response can be used as a fingerprint for the detection of THC changes documented in the paleoclimatic record or related recent climate change.