Meridional Overturning circulation at 26N and the North Atlantic heat COtent (MONACO)

Lead Research Organisation: National Oceanography Centre
Department Name: Science and Technology


RAPID-WATCH is providing a unique continuous observational time series of the Atlantic meridional overturning circulation (MOC) at 26 N for the first time. The crucial question in this proposal is the link between the MOC and meridional heat transport (MHT) from the RAPID-WATCH observing system and the variability of oceanic heat content in the whole of the North Atlantic inferred from Argo floats. We have strong evidence that the ocean heat content variability from seasonal to interannual time scales (months-10 years) is mainly in the upper 2000 m of the ocean, and therefore can be sampled using the Argo floats. Argo is an international experiment to measure the temperature and salinity of the upper 2000 m of the global ocean using over 3000 profiling floats. Understanding the links between the full depth monitoring of the MOC at 26 N and the heat content of the upper 2000m of the North Atlantic is important. For example, a decrease in heat transport at 26 N and a normal heat transport at the latitude of UK, would lead to cooling of the ocean between these two latitudes, which could influence the strength of westerly winds and alter the temperature and rainfall patterns over the UK and Northern Europe.


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Description 1) We deomstrated a link between the strength of the Atlantic Meridional Overturning circulation and the North Atlantic Heat Content

2) A software tool was developed to create regular gridded maps of ocean temperature and salinity from Argo data collected on an irregular grid. The output from this software has been used in multiple publications and analyses funded by other research grants.
Exploitation Route Output frmo the software tool has been used to study global changes in Ocean Heat Content, well beyond the scope of the initial Atlantic study.
Sectors Environment

Title Computer code for objective mapping of ocean data 
Description A suite of computer programs for analysing ocean data 
Type Of Material Improvements to research infrastructure 
Provided To Others? No  
Impact Output from the computer code has been used in a number of published papers.