Monday, July 14, 2014

ocean circulation patterns associated with the MOC

Schematic of the ocean circulation (from Kuhlbrodt et al., 2007) associated with the global Meridional Overturning Circulation (MOC), with special focus on the Atlantic section of the flow (AMOC). The red curves in the Atlantic indicate the northward flow of water in the upper layers. The filled orange circles in the Nordic and Labrador Seas indicate regions where near-surface water cools and becomes denser, causing the water to sink to deeper layers of the Atlantic. This process is referred to as “water mass transformation,” or “deep water formation.” In this process heat is released to the atmosphere. The light blue curve denotes the southward flow of cold water at depth. At the southern end of the Atlantic, the AMOC connects with the Antarctic Circumpolar Current (ACC). Deep water formation sites in the high latitudes of the Southern Ocean are also indicated with filled orange circles. These contribute to the production of Antarctic Bottom Water (AABW), which flows northward near the bottom of the Atlantic (indicated by dark blue lines in the Atlantic). The circles with interior dots indicate regions where water upwells from deeper layers to the upper ocean (see Section 2 for more discussion on where upwelling occurs as part of the global MOC).

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