Quantifying the Contribution of Wind-Driven Linear Response to the Seasonal and Interannual Variability of Amoc Volume Transports Across 26.5ºN

Thursday, 18 December 2014
Kenji Shimizu1,2, Jin-Song von Storch1, Helmuth Haak1, Keisuke Nakayama3 and Jochem Marotzke1, (1)Max Planck Institute for Meteorology, Hamburg, Germany, (2)CSIRO Oceans and Atmosphere Flagship, Floreat, Australia, (3)Kitami Institute of Technology, Kitami, Japan
Surface wind stress is considered to be an important forcing of the seasonal and interannual variability of Atlantic Meridional Overturning Circulation (AMOC) volume transports. A recent study showed that even linear response to wind forcing captures observed features of the mean seasonal cycle. However, the study did not assess the contribution of wind-driven linear response in realistic conditions against the RAPID/MOCHA array observation or Ocean General Circulation Model (OGCM) simulations, because it applied a linear two-layer model to the Atlantic assuming constant upper layer thickness and density difference across the interface. Here, we quantify the contribution of wind-driven linear response to the seasonal and interannual variability of AMOC transports by comparing wind-driven linear simulations under realistic continuous stratification against the RAPID observation and OCGM (MPI-OM) simulations with 0.4º resolution (TP04) and 0.1º resolution (STORM).

All the linear and MPI-OM simulations capture more than 60% of the variance in the observed mean seasonal cycle of the Upper Mid-Ocean (UMO) and Florida Strait (FS) transports, two components of the upper branch of the AMOC. The linear and TP04 simulations also capture 25-40% of the variance in the observed transport time series between Apr 2004 and Oct 2012; the STORM simulation does not capture the observed variance because of the stochastic signal in both datasets. Comparison of half-overlapping 12-month-long segments reveals some periods when the linear and TP04 simulations capture 40-60% of the observed variance, as well as other periods when the simulations capture only 0-20% of the variance. These results show that wind-driven linear response is a major contributor to the seasonal and interannual variability of the UMO and FS transports, and that its contribution varies in an interannual timescale, probably due to the variability of stochastic processes.