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Science. 2019 Feb 1;363(6426):516-521. doi: 10.1126/science.aau6592.

A sea change in our view of overturning in the subpolar North Atlantic.

Author information

1
Division of Earth and Ocean Sciences, Duke University, Durham, NC, USA. mslozier@duke.edu feili.li@duke.edu.
2
National Oceanography Centre, Southampton, UK.
3
Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, Woods Hole, MA, USA.
4
Scottish Association for Marine Science, Oban, UK.
5
Royal Netherlands Institute for Sea Research and Utrecht University, Texel, Netherlands.
6
Department of Physics and Physical Oceanography, Memorial University, St. John'?s, Newfoundland, Canada.
7
GEOMAR Helmholtz Centre for Ocean Research Kiel, Kiel, Germany.
8
Bedford Institute of Oceanography, Dartmouth, Nova Scotia, Canada.
9
Department of Ocean Sciences, University of Miami, Miami, FL, USA.
10
School of Geosciences, University of Edinburgh, Edinburgh, UK.
11
Department of Earth Sciences, University of Oxford, Oxford, UK.
12
Scripps Institution of Oceanography, UCSD, La Jolla, CA, USA.
13
Physical Oceanography Laboratory and Institute for Advanced Ocean Studies, Ocean University of China and Qingdao National Laboratory for Marine Science and Technology, Qingdao, China.
14
National Oceanography Centre, Liverpool, UK.
15
Department of Physics, Oxford University, Oxford, UK.
16
CNRS, Laboratoire d'?Océanographie Physique et Spatiale, Plouzané, France.
17
IFREMER, Laboratoire d'Océanographie Physique et Spatiale, Plouzané, France.
18
Department of Earth, Ocean and Ecological Sciences, University of Liverpool, Liverpool, UK.

Abstract

To provide an observational basis for the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change projections of a slowing Atlantic meridional overturning circulation (MOC) in the 21st century, the Overturning in the Subpolar North Atlantic Program (OSNAP) observing system was launched in the summer of 2014. The first 21-month record reveals a highly variable overturning circulation responsible for the majority of the heat and freshwater transport across the OSNAP line. In a departure from the prevailing view that changes in deep water formation in the Labrador Sea dominate MOC variability, these results suggest that the conversion of warm, salty, shallow Atlantic waters into colder, fresher, deep waters that move southward in the Irminger and Iceland basins is largely responsible for overturning and its variability in the subpolar basin.

PMID:
30705189
DOI:
10.1126/science.aau6592

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