Historical Changes in Wind-Driven Ocean Circulation Can Accelerate Global Warming

Journal Article (Journal Article)

Mitigation and adaptation strategies for climate change depend on accurate climate projections for the coming decades. While changes in radiative heat fluxes are known to contribute to surface warming, changes to ocean circulation can also impact the rate of surface warming. Previous studies suggest that projected changes to ocean circulation reduce the rate of global warming. However, these studies consider large greenhouse gas forcing scenarios, which induce a significant buoyancy-driven decline of the Atlantic Meridional Overturning Circulation. Here, we use a climate model to quantify the previously unknown impact of changes to wind-driven ocean circulation on global surface warming. Wind-driven ocean circulation changes amplify the externally forced warming rate by 17% from 1979 to 2014. Accurately simulating changes to the atmospheric circulation is key to improving near-term climate projections.

Full Text

Duke Authors

Cited Authors

  • McMonigal, K; Larson, S; Hu, S; Kramer, R

Published Date

  • February 28, 2023

Published In

Volume / Issue

  • 50 / 4

Electronic International Standard Serial Number (EISSN)

  • 1944-8007

International Standard Serial Number (ISSN)

  • 0094-8276

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

  • 10.1029/2023GL102846

Citation Source

  • Scopus