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          Institute: MPI für Meteorologie     Collection: Ocean in the Earth System     Display Documents

ID: 268816.0, MPI für Meteorologie / Ocean in the Earth System
Investigating the causes of the response of the thermohaline circulation to past and present future climate changes
Authors:Stouffer, R. J.; Yin, J.; Gregpry, J. M.; Dixon, K. W.; Spelman, M. J.; Hurlin, W.; Weaver, A. J.; Ebyd, M.; Flato, G. M.; Hasumi, H.; Hu, A.; Jungclaus, J. H.; Kamenkovich, I. V.; Levermann, A.; Montoya, M.; Murakami, G.; Nawrath, S.; Oka, A.; Peltier, W. R.; Robitaille, D. Y.; Sokolov, A.; Vettoretti, G.; Weber, S. L.
Date of Publication (YYYY-MM-DD):2006-04
Title of Journal:Journal of Climate
Journal Abbrev.:J. Clim.
Issue / Number:8
Start Page:1365
End Page:1387
Review Status:Peer-review
Audience:Not Specified
Abstract / Description:The Atlantic thermohaline circulation (THC) is an important part of the earth’s climate system. Previous
research has shown large uncertainties in simulating future changes in this critical system. The simulated
THC response to idealized freshwater perturbations and the associated climate changes have been intercompared
as an activity of World Climate Research Program (WCRP) Coupled Model Intercomparison
Project/Paleo-Modeling Intercomparison Project (CMIP/PMIP) committees. This intercomparison among
models ranging from the earth system models of intermediate complexity (EMICs) to the fully coupled
atmosphere–ocean general circulation models (AOGCMs) seeks to document and improve understanding
of the causes of the wide variations in the modeled THC response. The robustness of particular simulation
features has been evaluated across the model results. In response to 0.1-Sv (1 Sv  106 m3 s1) freshwater
input in the northern North Atlantic, the multimodel ensemble mean THC weakens by 30% after 100 yr.
All models simulate some weakening of the THC, but no model simulates a complete shutdown of the THC.
The multimodel ensemble indicates that the surface air temperature could present a complex anomaly
pattern with cooling south of Greenland and warming over the Barents and Nordic Seas. The Atlantic ITCZ
tends to shift southward. In response to 1.0-Sv freshwater input, the THC switches off rapidly in all model
simulations. A large cooling occurs over the North Atlantic. The annual mean Atlantic ITCZ moves into
the Southern Hemisphere. Models disagree in terms of the reversibility of the THC after its shutdown. In
general, the EMICs and AOGCMs obtain similar THC responses and climate changes with more pronounced
and sharper patterns in the AOGCMs
External Publication Status:published
Document Type:Article
Communicated by:Carola Kauhs
Affiliations:MPI für Meteorologie/Ocean in the Earth System
External Affiliations:NOAA/Geophysical Fluid Dynamics Laboratory, and Program in Atmospheric and Oceanic Sciences, Princeton University,
Princeton, New Jersey; Department of Meteorology, University of Reading, Reading; Hadley Centre for Climate Prediction and Research, Met Office,Exeter, United Kingdom; School of Earth and Ocean Sciences, University of Victoria, Victoria, British Columbia, Canada; Canadian Centre for Climate Modelling and Analysis, Victoria, British Columbia, Canada; Center for Climate System Research, University of Tokyo, Tokyo, Japan; National Center for Atmospheric Research, Boulder, Colorado; University of Washington, Seattle, Washington; Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research, Potsdam, Germany; Department of Astrophysics and Atmospheric Sciences, Universidad Complutense, Madrid, Spain; Meteorological Research Institute, Tsukuba, Japan; Department of Physics, University of Toronto, Toronto, Ontario, Canada; Massachussetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, Massachusetts; Royal Netherlands Meteorological Institute, De Bilt, Netherlands
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