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Determining North Atlantic meridional transport variability from pressure on the western boundary: a model investigation.

By R. J. Bingham and C. W. Hughes


In this paper we investigate the possibility of determining North\ud Atlantic meridional transport variability using pressure on the western boundary, focusing on the 42degN latitude of the Halifax WAVE array. We start by\ud reviewing the theoretical foundations of this approach. Next we present results from a model analysis, both statistical and dynamic, that demonstrate\ud the feasibility of the approach. We consider how well we can quantify the meridional transport variability at 42degN given complete knowledge of bottom pressure across the basin, and to what degree this quantification is degraded by first ignoring the effect of intervening topography, and then by using only bottom pressure on the western boundary. We find that for periods of greater\ud than one year we can recover more than 90% of the variability of the main\ud overturning cell at 42degN using only the western boundary pressure, provided\ud we remove the depth-average boundary pressure signal. This signal arises from\ud a basin mode of bottom pressure variability, which has power at all timescales,\ud but that does not in truth have a meridional transport signal associated with\ud it, and from the geostrophic depth-independent compensation of the Ekman\ud transport. An additional benefit of the removal of the depth-average pressure is that this high-frequency Ekman signal, which is essentially noise as\ud far as monitoring the MOC for climatically important changes is concerned,\ud is clearly separated from other modes

Topics: Marine Sciences
Publisher: American Geophysical Union
Year: 2008
DOI identifier: 10.1029/2007JC004679
OAI identifier:

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