5 years ago

Dynamical ocean response to projected changes of the global water cycle

Detlef Stammer, Armin Köhl, Xin Liu
Over the next century substantial changes will occur in the ocean as a consequence of an accelerated global hydrological cycle and the associated net surface freshwater flux change is projected to result from global warming. This paper is concerned with the dynamical response to the associated surface volume flux anomalies. Based on ocean model runs driven by RCP8.5 surface freshwater flux anomalies over the period 2081–2100 relative to 1986–2005, we show that the adjustment of the circulation involves a barotropic circulation response as predicted from the Goldsbrough-Stommel theory. The corresponding barotropic circulation intensifies by approximately 20% with a stronger intensification of about 50% in the Southern Ocean, comparing to the present-day Goldsbrough-Stommel Circulation. The barotropic circulation anomaly induced by intensified freshwater flux reaches to 0.6 Sv in the Antarctic Circumpolar Current region. The adjustment also involves changes in the meridional overturning circulation mirroring the basin-wide averages of changes in the convergence and divergence of the mass transport driven by the surface volume flux. The subsequent pathways of fresh water match with the spreading of volume flux in the shallow cells but diverge substantially with depth. Associated with changes of the flow field are the changes in meridional heat and freshwater transports. Changes in the circulation also lead to a redistribution of temperature and salinity from which a significant contribution results in form of regional steric sea level changes. These changes are of the order of 0.5 cm and can be largely attributed to the displacement of the isopycnals.

Publisher URL: http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/resolve/doi

DOI: 10.1002/2017JC013061

You might also like
Discover & Discuss Important Research

Keeping up-to-date with research can feel impossible, with papers being published faster than you'll ever be able to read them. That's where Researcher comes in: we're simplifying discovery and making important discussions happen. With over 19,000 sources, including peer-reviewed journals, preprints, blogs, universities, podcasts and Live events across 10 research areas, you'll never miss what's important to you. It's like social media, but better. Oh, and we should mention - it's free.

  • Download from Google Play
  • Download from App Store
  • Download from AppInChina

Researcher displays publicly available abstracts and doesn’t host any full article content. If the content is open access, we will direct clicks from the abstracts to the publisher website and display the PDF copy on our platform. Clicks to view the full text will be directed to the publisher website, where only users with subscriptions or access through their institution are able to view the full article.