Ensemble Global Warming Simulations with Idealized Antarctic Meltwater Input
The Antarctic meltwater drives significant slowing of the Southern Ocean meridional overturning circulation (MOC). Again, the meltwater influence only is detectable as long as the CO2-forcing is moderate. Much larger MOC changes develop in response to highly elevated atmospheric CO2-levels independent of whether or not a meltwater forcing is applied. The response of the Antarctic Circumpolar Current (ACC) is nonlinear. Substantial and persistent ACC slowing is simulated when solely the meltwater forcing of 0.1 Sv is applied, which is due to the halt of Weddell Sea deep convection and subsequent collapse of the Southern Ocean MOC. When the increasing atmospheric CO2-concentration additionally drives the model the ACC partly recovers in the long run. The partial recovery is due to strengthening westerly wind stress over the Southern Ocean, which intensifies the Ekman Cell. This study suggests that Southern Hemisphere climate projections for the 21st century could benefit from incorporating interactive Antarctic ice sheet.