Loop current variability due to wind stress and reduced sea level during the Last Glacial Maximum.

Mildner, Tanja C., Eden, Carsten, Nürnberg, Dirk and Schönfeld, Joachim (2011) Loop current variability due to wind stress and reduced sea level during the Last Glacial Maximum. [Talk] In: AGU Fall Meeting 2011. , 05.12.-09.12.2011, San Francisco, California, USA .

Full text not available from this repository. (Contact)


One of the most prominent features of the circulation in the Gulf of Mexico is the Loop Current (LC). It is of special interest as it influences not only the climate in the Gulf of Mexico. Although causation is not well understood yet, dynamical relationships between LC retraction and extension, seasonal migrations of the Intertropical Convergence Zone (ITCZ) and the related wind stress curl over the subtropical North Atlantic, and changes in the thermohaline circulation are indicated by model simulations. A characteristic feature of the LC is the shedding of anticyclonic eddies. These eddies can have depth signatures of up to 1000 m and are of special interest as they supply heat and moisture into the western and northern Gulf. The eddies are generated aperiodically every 3 to 21 months, with an average shedding time of 9.5 months. Eddy shedding appears to be related to a suite of oceanographic forcing fields such as the Yucatan Channel throughflow, the Florida Current and North Brazil Current variability, as well as synoptic meteorological forcing variability.
By combining state-of-the-art paleoceanographic and meso-scale eddy-resolving numerical modeling techniques, we examined the Loop Current dynamics and hydrographic changes in the Gulf going back in time up to ~21,000 years. To assess the impact of Last Glacial Maximum (LGM) wind stress and reduced sea level we have re-configured an existing hierarchy of models of the North Atlantic Ocean (FLAME) with a horizontal grid resolution of ca. 30 km (wind stress was taken from the PMIP-II database). The sea level was lowered compared to the CONTROL run by 110 m and 67 m. These sea level changes have been chosen according to the cold-deglacial periods Heinrich I and Younger Dryas.
The result of our model simulations is a continuous increase in eddy shedding from the LGM to the Holocene. This increase is predominantly controlled by the continuous deglacial sea level rise. Changes in wind stress curl related to the southward displacement of the ITCZ tend to produce larger Yucatan and Florida Strait throughflow but do not play a dominant role in controlling the eddy shedding, and appear thus of minor importance for the regional climate in the Gulf of Mexico. Comparing our results to observations we found that mean sortable silt values from Florida Strait depict an increase in bottom current velocities during cold climatic periods and times of lowered sea level, too. This is in contrast to recent hydrographic estimates pointing to reduced transports through the Florida Straits.

Document Type: Conference or Workshop Item (Talk)
Keywords: Paleoceanography; Oceanography; Atmospheric processes; paleoclimatology; Marginal and semi-enclosed seas; abrupt / rapid climate change; thermohaline.
Research affiliation: OceanRep > GEOMAR > FB1 Ocean Circulation and Climate Dynamics > FB1-P-OZ Paleo-Oceanography
OceanRep > GEOMAR > FB1 Ocean Circulation and Climate Dynamics > FB1-TM Theory and Modeling
Related URLs:
Date Deposited: 25 Jan 2012 14:50
Last Modified: 29 Feb 2012 04:59
URI: http://oceanrep.geomar.de/id/eprint/13580

Actions (login required)

View Item View Item