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Circulation

By John Huthnance

Abstract

Circulation is important to distributions of salt, of deep-ocean heat and hence regional climate, of pollutants and of many species carried by the flow during their lifecycle. Currents affect offshore operations and habitats. \ud Five sections from 1957 to 2004 suggest decline of the Atlantic Meridional Overturning Circulatin (AMOC) but this is within the range of large variability on time-scales of weeks to months. An overall trend has not been determined from the continuous measurements begun in 2004.\ud Deep outflows of cold water from the Nordic seas are likewise too variable to infer any overall trend.\ud Strong North Atlantic flow eastwards towards the UK may correlate with positive North Atlantic Oscillation (NAO) Index (i.e. prevailing westerly winds). Enhanced along-slope current around the UK may correlate with a negative NAO Index.\ud Climate models’ consensus makes it very likely that AMOC will decrease over the next century, but not ‘shut down’ completely.\ud Similar spatial and temporal variability (arising from complex topography and variable forcing) is likely in future. \u

Topics: Marine Sciences, Physics, Data and Information
Publisher: Department for Environment Food and Rural Affairs
Year: 2010
OAI identifier: oai:nora.nerc.ac.uk:10521

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