Emerging impact of Greenland meltwater on deepwater formation in the North Atlantic Ocean.

Böning, Claus W., Behrens, Erik, Biastoch, Arne, Getzlaff, Klaus and Bamber, Jonathan L. (2016) Emerging impact of Greenland meltwater on deepwater formation in the North Atlantic Ocean. Nature Geoscience, 9 (7). pp. 523-527. DOI 10.1038/ngeo2740.

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Abstract

The Greenland ice sheet has experienced increasing mass loss since the 1990s1, 2. The enhanced freshwater flux due to both surface melt and outlet glacier discharge is assuming an increasingly important role in the changing freshwater budget of the subarctic Atlantic3. The sustained and increasing freshwater fluxes from Greenland to the surface ocean could lead to a suppression of deep winter convection in the Labrador Sea, with potential ramifications for the strength of the Atlantic meridional overturning circulation4, 5, 6. Here we assess the impact of the increases in the freshwater fluxes, reconstructed with full spatial resolution3, using a global ocean circulation model with a grid spacing fine enough to capture the small-scale, eddying transport processes in the subpolar North Atlantic. Our simulations suggest that the invasion of meltwater from the West Greenland shelf has initiated a gradual freshening trend at the surface of the Labrador Sea. Although the freshening is still smaller than the variability associated with the episodic ‘great salinity anomalies’, the accumulation of meltwater may become large enough to progressively dampen the deep winter convection in the coming years. We conclude that the freshwater anomaly has not yet had a significant impact on the Atlantic meridional overturning circulation.

Document Type: Article
Additional Information: WOS:000379823800017
Keywords: Physical oceanography; Projection and prediction
Research affiliation: OceanRep > The Future Ocean - Cluster of Excellence > FO-R07
OceanRep > The Future Ocean - Cluster of Excellence > FO-R05
OceanRep > GEOMAR > FB1 Ocean Circulation and Climate Dynamics > FB1-TM Theory and Modeling
OceanRep > The Future Ocean - Cluster of Excellence > FO-R08
OceanRep > The Future Ocean - Cluster of Excellence > FO-R11
OceanRep > The Future Ocean - Cluster of Excellence
Kiel University
Refereed: Yes
Open Access Journal?: No
DOI etc.: 10.1038/ngeo2740
ISSN: 1752-0894
Projects: RACE, DRAKKAR, Future Ocean, PalMod in-kind
Date Deposited: 19 Jul 2016 07:58
Last Modified: 03 Sep 2018 10:42
URI: http://oceanrep.geomar.de/id/eprint/33399

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