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

Lead Research Organisation: University of Southampton
Department Name: School of Ocean and Earth Science


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.
Description We related changes in the amount of heat stored in the N.Atlantic Ocean to the variations in the heat transported across 26N from the RAPID array.
Exploitation Route The methods we used for obtaining heat content using the Argo floats allows comparisons with other data sets ( eg EN4 from the UK Met. Office.
Also salinity changes on an ocean basin can be obtained by this method.
Sectors Education,Environment

Description This work has a direct relationship to climate change in and around the N. Atlantic, in particular the UK.
First Year Of Impact 2009
Sector Energy,Environment,Security and Diplomacy
Impact Types Cultural,Societal,Economic,Policy & public services