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New Discovery for Deep Water Transport in the AMOC

ocean waves

A new scientific study supported by the Climate Program Office’s Climate Variability & Predictability (CVP) Program explores how ocean currents in the North Atlantic Ocean move deep waters and influence global climate patterns, with a specific focus on the Atlantic Meridional Overturning Circulation (AMOC). CVP-supported scientist Zhengyu Liu of The Ohio State University led a team of international and U.S. researchers to discover a new pathway for deep water ocean transport. Zhengyu Liu is funded through a CVP grant to improve our understanding of multidecadal variability in the Atlantic Ocean through defining the roles of climate feedbacks and teleconnections.

Traditionally, researchers thought that the Deep Western Boundary Current was the main pathway for deep water movement in the North Atlantic, but this study, published in Nature Geoscience suggests there’s another significant route called the Eastern Pathway (EP) east of the Mid-Atlantic Ridge. By combining real-world observations with computer simulations, the research team identified the EP as a key component of the AMOC system, accounting for about half of the deep water transport between different ocean basins. The results show that the formation of the EP is primarily driven by wind patterns rather than the ocean floor’s topography, challenging previous assumptions and calling for more research into how different ocean pathways affect climate change and variability. Understanding these various pathways of the AMOC is crucial for accurately predicting future climate patterns and their impacts on global weather systems.

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For more information, contact Clara Deck.

Image credit: Pixabay

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