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Volume 14, issue 4 | Copyright
Ocean Sci., 14, 589-616, 2018
© Author(s) 2018. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

Research article 10 Jul 2018

Research article | 10 Jul 2018

Atlantic Meridional Overturning Circulation at 14.5° N in 1989 and 2013 and 24.5° N in 1992 and 2015: volume, heat, and freshwater transports

Yao Fu1,3, Johannes Karstensen1, and Peter Brandt1,2 Yao Fu et al.
  • 1GEOMAR Helmholtz Centre for Ocean Research Kiel, Kiel, Germany
  • 2Christian-Albrechts-Universität zu Kiel, Kiel, Germany
  • 3State Key Laboratory of Tropical Oceanography, South China Sea Institute of Oceanology, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Guangzhou, China

Abstract. The Atlantic Meridional Overturning Circulation (AMOC) is analyzed by applying a box inverse model to hydrographic data from transatlantic sections along 14.5°N, occupied in 1989 and 2013, and along 24.5°N, occupied in 1992 and 2015. Direct comparison of water mass properties among the different realizations at the respective latitudes shows that the Antarctic Intermediate Water (AAIW) became warmer and saltier at 14.5°N, and the densest Antarctic Bottom Water became lighter, while the North Atlantic Deep Water freshened at both latitudes. The inverse solution shows that the intermediate layer transport at 14.5°N was also markedly weaker in 2013 than in 1989, indicating that the AAIW property changes at this latitude may be related to changes in the circulation. The inverse solution was validated using the RAPID and MOVE array data, and the GECCO2 ocean state estimate. Comparison among these datasets indicates that the AMOC has not significantly weakened over the past 2 decades at both latitudes. Sensitivity tests of the inverse solution suggest that the overturning structure and heat transport across the 14.5°N section are sensitive to the Ekman transport, while freshwater transport is sensitive to the transport-weighted salinity at the western boundary.

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Short summary
Hydrographic analysis in the Atlantic along 14.5° N and 24.5° N shows that between the periods of 1989/92 and 2013/15, the Antarctic Intermediate Water became warmer and saltier at 14.5° N, and that the Antarctic Bottom Water became lighter at both latitudes. By applying a box inverse model, the Atlantic Meridional Overturning Circulation (AMOC) was determined. Comparison among the inverse solution, GECCO2, RAPID, and MOVE shows that the AMOC has not significantly changed in the past 20 years.
Hydrographic analysis in the Atlantic along 14.5° N and 24.5° N shows that between the periods...