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Interior pathways of the North Atlantic meridional overturning circulation.

Publication ,  Journal Article
Bower, AS; Lozier, MS; Gary, SF; Böning, CW
Published in: Nature
May 2009

To understand how our global climate will change in response to natural and anthropogenic forcing, it is essential to determine how quickly and by what pathways climate change signals are transported throughout the global ocean, a vast reservoir for heat and carbon dioxide. Labrador Sea Water (LSW), formed by open ocean convection in the subpolar North Atlantic, is a particularly sensitive indicator of climate change on interannual to decadal timescales. Hydrographic observations made anywhere along the western boundary of the North Atlantic reveal a core of LSW at intermediate depths advected southward within the Deep Western Boundary Current (DWBC). These observations have led to the widely held view that the DWBC is the dominant pathway for the export of LSW from its formation site in the northern North Atlantic towards the Equator. Here we show that most of the recently ventilated LSW entering the subtropics follows interior, not DWBC, pathways. The interior pathways are revealed by trajectories of subsurface RAFOS floats released during the period 2003-2005 that recorded once-daily temperature, pressure and acoustically determined position for two years, and by model-simulated 'e-floats' released in the subpolar DWBC. The evidence points to a few specific locations around the Grand Banks where LSW is most often injected into the interior. These results have implications for deep ocean ventilation and suggest that the interior subtropical gyre should not be ignored when considering the Atlantic meridional overturning circulation.

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Published In

Nature

DOI

EISSN

1476-4687

ISSN

0028-0836

Publication Date

May 2009

Volume

459

Issue

7244

Start / End Page

243 / 247

Related Subject Headings

  • General Science & Technology
 

Citation

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ICMJE
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Bower, A. S., Lozier, M. S., Gary, S. F., & Böning, C. W. (2009). Interior pathways of the North Atlantic meridional overturning circulation. Nature, 459(7244), 243–247. https://doi.org/10.1038/nature07979
Bower, Amy S., M Susan Lozier, Stefan F. Gary, and Claus W. Böning. “Interior pathways of the North Atlantic meridional overturning circulation.Nature 459, no. 7244 (May 2009): 243–47. https://doi.org/10.1038/nature07979.
Bower AS, Lozier MS, Gary SF, Böning CW. Interior pathways of the North Atlantic meridional overturning circulation. Nature. 2009 May;459(7244):243–7.
Bower, Amy S., et al. “Interior pathways of the North Atlantic meridional overturning circulation.Nature, vol. 459, no. 7244, May 2009, pp. 243–47. Epmc, doi:10.1038/nature07979.
Bower AS, Lozier MS, Gary SF, Böning CW. Interior pathways of the North Atlantic meridional overturning circulation. Nature. 2009 May;459(7244):243–247.
Journal cover image

Published In

Nature

DOI

EISSN

1476-4687

ISSN

0028-0836

Publication Date

May 2009

Volume

459

Issue

7244

Start / End Page

243 / 247

Related Subject Headings

  • General Science & Technology