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The world ocean thermohaline circulation
Stockholm University, Faculty of Science, Department of Meteorology .
Stockholm University, Faculty of Science, Department of Meteorology .
Stockholm University, Faculty of Science, Department of Meteorology .
Stockholm University, Faculty of Science, Department of Meteorology .ORCID iD: 0000-0001-8745-7510
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2012 (English)In: Journal of Physical Oceanography, ISSN 0022-3670, E-ISSN 1520-0485, Vol. 42, no 9, 1445-1460 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

A new global streamfunction is presented and denoted the thermohaline streamfunction. This is defined as the volume transport in terms of temperature and salinity (hence no spatial variables). The streamfunction is used to analyze and quantify the entire World Ocean conversion rate between cold/warm and fresh/saline waters. It captures two main cells of the global thermohaline circulation, one corresponding to the conveyor belt and one corresponding to the shallow tropical circulation. The definition of a thermohaline streamfunction also enables a new method of estimating the turnover time as well as the heat and freshwater transports of the conveyor belt. The overturning time of the conveyor belt is estimated to be between 1000 and 2000 yr, depending on the choice of stream layer. The heat and freshwater transports of these two large thermohaline cells have been calculated by integrating the thermohaline streamfunction over the salinity or temperature, yielding a maximum heat transport of the conveyor belt of 1.2 PW over the 34.2-PSU salinity surface and a freshwater transport of 0.8 Sv (1 Sv = 10(6) m(3) s(-1)) over the 9 degrees C isotherm. This is a measure of the net interocean exchange of heat between the Atlantic and Indo-Pacific due to the thermohaline circulation.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2012. Vol. 42, no 9, 1445-1460 p.
National Category
Oceanography, Hydrology, Water Resources
Research subject
Atmospheric Sciences and Oceanography
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-81829DOI: 10.1175/JPO-D-11-0163.1ISI: 000309018500004OAI: oai:DiVA.org:su-81829DiVA: diva2:565407
Note

AuthorCount:5;

Available from: 2012-11-07 Created: 2012-11-01 Last updated: 2017-12-07Bibliographically approved
In thesis
1. The thermohaline circulation during the Last Glacial Maximum and in the Present-Day climate
Open this publication in new window or tab >>The thermohaline circulation during the Last Glacial Maximum and in the Present-Day climate
2013 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

The thermohaline circulation (THC) corresponds to the large time- and spatial-scales ocean circulation associated with the transport of heat and salt, and is known to be an important factor controlling the climate variability. The large scales involved in the THC make it difficult to observe, and therefore the synergy of numerical models and climate proxy reconstructions is particularly relevant to study the characteristics of this circulation in the present and past climates.

In this doctoral thesis, the THC during the Last Glacial Maximum (LGM) and the Present-Day (PD) is explored using a state-of-the-art Ocean General Circulation Model in its high- and low-resolution regimes. By comparing the LGM model outputs with the paleo-proxy reconstructions, it is shown that the high-resolution simulation improves the representation of the sea surface tem- peratures in the regions where the current structures appear to be complex, i.e., the western boundary currents (Agulhas, Kuroshio, Gulf Stream) and the Antarctic Circumpolar Current, although statistical comparisons with paleo- proxy reconstructions are not significantly improved on a global scale.

The THC involves a superposition of processes acting at widely different spatial and temporal scales, from the geostrophic large-scale and slowly-varying flow to the mesoscale turbulent eddies and at even smaller-scale, the mixing generated by the internal wave field. Not all these processes can be properly resolved in numerical models, and thus need to be parameterized. Analyzing the THC in an eddy-permitting numerical model, it was found that the temporal scales required for diagnosing the Southern Ocean circulation should not exceed 1 month and the spatial scales needed to be taken into account must be smaller than 1°. Important changes in the nature and intensity of the THC were observed between the LGM and PD simulations. An estimation of the turnover times (i.e., the time it takes for the water parcel to make and entire loop on the Conveyor Belt) revealed that the LGM THC could be more vigorous than under the PD conditions. As a result, the ocean transports of heat and freshwater, the oceanic uptake of CO2, the ventilation of the deep ocean and the reorganization of the passive and active tracers (e.g., temperature, salinity, greenhouse gases, nutrients) can be altered in these different regimes.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Stockholm: Department of Meteorology, Stockholm University, 2013. 52 p.
Keyword
ocean model, circulation, LGM
National Category
Oceanography, Hydrology, Water Resources
Research subject
Atmospheric Sciences and Oceanography
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:su:diva-89011 (URN)978-91-7447-697-2 (ISBN)
Public defence
2013-05-24, Högbomsalen, Geovetenskapens hus, Svante Arrhenius väg 12, Stockholm, 10:00 (English)
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Supervisors
Note

At the time of the doctoral defense, the following paper was unpublished and had a status as follows: Paper 5: Manuscript. 

Available from: 2013-05-02 Created: 2013-04-08 Last updated: 2014-01-31Bibliographically approved

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