Related Research Areas
Climate Variability & Change, Water & Energy Cycles

The potential weakening or shutdown of the Atlantic Meridional Overtuning Circulation (AMOC) as a result of anthropogenic climate change could incur drastic changes to natural and climate systems. The proposed project focuses on the use of contemporary satellite measurements (multi-mission radar altimetry sea level and geostrophic current velocities, 1985-present; spaceborne gravimetry, GRACE observed ocean bottom pressure and Greenland ice sheet melt water mass fluxes, 2002-present; sea surface temperature GHRSST data products, 1982-present), and in situ measurements (tide gauges, 1900-present; MBT/XBT/Argo thermal sea level and Argo subsurface current velocities, 1950-present) to establish a monitoring system of the present-day evolution of the AMOC. We assume that the GRACE land/ice measurements provide the total freshwater budget and we will address the science question whether there is a direct link between sea level change and recent rapid ice sheet melt. We will test the hypothesis of the spatial patterns of the AMOC in various temporal scales and as function of ocean depth are known, and will experiment using the satellite and in situ data in the finger-print approach to estimate the amplitudes and their changes of these patterns. We will conduct EOF analysis and construction latitude-time measurements of the evolutions of the AMOC. The overarching scientific objective of the proposal is to develop a composite satellite measurement system towards the quantification of the present-day evolution of the AMOC. Our anticipated results include the developing of a method to monitor and quantify the current state of the AMOC over a temporal scale of interannual or longer over the North Atlantic. Our proposal intends to address the scientific questions (1) what is the current state of the AMOC? (2) How has the AMOC varied in the past on interannual to multi-decadal or longer time scales? (3) Is the AMOC correlated with basin-scale sea level change? The proposal is directly relevant to the primary scientific thrust for physical oceanography at NASA towards understanding the ocean’s role in climate variability and its prediction. The proposal directly addresses NASA Earth’s science plan and its Strategic Goal 3A.5.

Project PI: C K Shum/Ohio State University

ML 221B,OSU School of Earth Sciences | 275 Mendenhall Laboratory, 125 South Oval Mall, Columbus, Ohio 43210

Phone: (614) 292-7118



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Started: Aug 10, 2010

Last Activity: Dec 16, 2010


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