Publications by David Marshall

Dynamical attribution of recent variability in Atlantic overturning

Journal of Climate American Meteorological Society 29 (2016) 3339-3352

HR Pillar, P Heimbach, H Johnson, D Marshall

Attributing observed variability of the Atlantic meridional overturning circulation (AMOC) to past changes in surface forcing is challenging but essential for detecting any influence of anthropogenic forcing and reducing uncertainty in future climate predictions. Here, quantitative estimates of separate contributions from wind and buoyancy forcing to AMOC variations at 258N are obtained. These estimates are achieved by projecting observed atmospheric anomalies onto model-based dynamical patterns of AMOC sensitivity to surface wind, thermal, and freshwater forcing over the preceding 15 years. Local wind forcing is shown to dominate AMOC variability on short time scales, whereas subpolar heat fluxes dominate on decadal time scales. The reconstructed transport time series successfully reproduces most of the interannual variability observed by RAPID–MOCHA. However, the apparent decadal trend in the RAPID–MOCHA time series is not captured, requiring improved model representation of ocean adjustment to subpolar heat fluxes over at least the past two decades and highlighting the importance of sustained monitoring of the high-latitude North Atlantic.

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