Emily Newsom

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Emily Newsom

Postdoctoral Research Assistant

I am a postdoctoral research at the University of Oxford, working with Prof. Laure Zanna. I work to better understand the role of the ocean in Earth's climate. I am specifically driven by two main questions:

1) What physical processes govern the strength and configuration of the ocean's global overturning circulation (GOC). The GOC describes the circuit of ocean currents that flow between ocean basins and between the surface into the deep ocean. This global-scale flow transports heat, freshwater, and other key properties over the global scale. We expect these currents differed in past climates, and may differ in future climates warmer than today.

2) How does the structure of the GOC mediate the ocean's role in transient climate change? Specifically, what are the physics that set the ocean's capacity to absorb and store heat out of the atmosphere over long timescales? And finally, what sets the efficiency of ocean warming in delaying surface temperature changes? Because of the spatial pattern of currents that make up the GOC, this efficiency can vary significantly simply depending on how and where warming occurs at the ocean's surface. At Oxford, I am working to understand why this is so, and to assess the capacity our global ocean to modulate climate change over the coming centuries. This will help reduce uncertainty in projections of future climate change.