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AMOC response to global warming: dependence on the background climate and response timescale

TitleAMOC response to global warming: dependence on the background climate and response timescale
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2015
AuthorsZhu J, Liu Z.Y, Zhang J.X, Liu W
JournalClimate Dynamics
Date Published2015/06
Type of ArticleArticle
ISBN Number0930-7575
Accession NumberWOS:000354705700031
Keywordsatlantic; Atlantic Meridional Overturning Circulation; Carbon dioxide; co2; concentration; deglaciation; glacial maximum; last; last glacial maximum; Meridional overturning circulation; model; north-atlantic; sea ice; sea-ice; sensitivity; southern-ocean; thermohaline circulation; timescale

This paper investigates the response of the Atlantic meridional overturning circulation (AMOC) to a sudden doubling of atmospheric CO2 in the National Center for Atmospheric Research Community Climate System Model version 3, with a focus on differences under different background climates. The findings reveal that the evolution of the AMOC differs significantly between the modern climate and the last glacial maximum (LGM). In the modern climate, the AMOC decreases (by 25 %, 4 Sv) in the first 100 years and then recovers slowly (by 6 %, 1 Sv) by the end of the 1,500-year simulation. At the LGM, the AMOC also weakens (by 8 %, 1 Sv) in the initial 90 years, but then recovers, first rapidly (by 30 %, 4 Sv) over the following 300 years, and then slowly (by 13 %, 1.6 Sv) during the remainder of the integration. These results suggest that the responses of the AMOC under both climates have a similar initial rapid weakening period of similar to 100 years and a final slow strengthening period over 1,000 years long. However, additional intermediate period of similar to 300 years does occur for the LGM, with rapidintensification in the AMOC. Analyses suggest that the rapid intensification is triggered and sustained primarily by a coupled sea ice-ocean feedback: the reduction of meltwater flux in the northern North Atlantic-associated with the remarkable sea-ice retreat at the LGM-intensifies the AMOC and northward heat transport, which, in turn, causes further sea-ice retreat and more reduction of meltwater. These processes are insignificant under modern conditions.

Short TitleClim. Dyn.
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