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Abernathey, RP, Cerovecki I, Holland PR, Newsom E, Mazlo M, Talley LD.  2016.  Water-mass transformation by sea ice in the upper branch of the Southern Ocean overturning. Nature Geoscience. 9:596-+.   10.1038/ngeo2749   AbstractWebsite

Ocean overturning circulation requires a continuous thermodynamic transformation of the buoyancy of seawater. The steeply sloping isopycnals of the Southern Ocean provide a pathway for Circumpolar Deep Water to upwell from mid depth without strong diapycnal mixing(1-3), where it is transformed directly by surface fluxes of heat and freshwater and splits into an upper and lower branch(4-6). While brine rejection from sea ice is thought to contribute to the lower branch(7), the role of sea ice in the upper branch is less well understood, partly due to a paucity of observations of sea-ice thickness and transport(8,9). Here we quantify the sea-ice freshwater flux using the Southern Ocean State Estimate, a state-of-the-art data assimilation that incorporates millions of ocean and ice observations. We then use the water-mass transformation framework(10) to compare the relative roles of atmospheric, sea-ice, and glacial freshwater fluxes, heat fluxes, and upper-ocean mixing in transforming buoyancy within the upper branch. We find that sea ice is a dominant term, with differential brine rejection and ice melt transforming upwelled Circumpolar Deep Water at a rate of similar to 22 x 10(6) m(3) s(-1). These results imply a prominent role for Antarctic sea ice in the upper branch and suggest that residual overturning and wind-driven sea-ice transport are tightly coupled.

Alley, RB, Marotzke J, Nordhaus WD, Overpeck JT, Peteet DM, Pielke RA, Pierrehumbert RT, Rhines PB, Stocker TF, Talley LD, Wallace JM.  2003.  Abrupt climate change. Science. 299:2005-2010.   10.1126/science.1081056   AbstractWebsite

Large, abrupt, and widespread climate changes with major impacts have occurred repeatedly in the past, when the Earth system was forced across thresholds. Although abrupt climate changes can occur for many reasons, it is conceivable that human forcing of climate change is increasing the probability of large, abrupt events. Were such an event to recur, the economic and ecological impacts could be large and potentially serious. Unpredictability exhibited near climate thresholds in simple models shows that some uncertainty will always be associated with projections. In light of these uncertainties, policy-makers should consider expanding research into abrupt climate change, improving monitoring systems, and taking actions designed to enhance the adaptability and resilience of ecosystems and economies.