Reconciling the Relationship Between the AMOC and Labrador Sea in OSNAP Observations and Climate Models

Journal Article (Journal Article)

The AMOC (Atlantic Meridional Overturning Circulation) is a key driver of climate variability. Our understanding, based largely on climate models, is that the Labrador Sea has an important role in shaping the evolution of the AMOC. However, a recent high-profile observational campaign (Overturning in the Subpolar North Atlantic, OSNAP) has called into question the importance of the Labrador Sea, and hence the credibility of the AMOC representation in climate models. Here, we attempt to reconcile these viewpoints by making the first direct comparison between OSNAP and a coupled climate model. The model compares well to the observations, demonstrating a more prominent role for overturning in the eastern than western subpolar gyre. Density anomalies generated by surface forcing in the Irminger Sea propagate into the Labrador Sea, where they dominate the density variability. Thus, the Labrador Sea may not be the origin of AMOC variability despite correlations with densities there.

Full Text

Duke Authors

Cited Authors

  • Menary, MB; Jackson, LC; Lozier, MS

Published Date

  • September 28, 2020

Published In

Volume / Issue

  • 47 / 18

Electronic International Standard Serial Number (EISSN)

  • 1944-8007

International Standard Serial Number (ISSN)

  • 0094-8276

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

  • 10.1029/2020GL089793

Citation Source

  • Scopus