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Shi, JR, Xie SP, Talley LD.  2018.  Evolving relative importance of the Southern Ocean and North Atlantic in anthropogenic ocean heat uptake. Journal of Climate. 31:7459-7479.   10.1175/jcli-d-18-0170.1   AbstractWebsite

Ocean uptake of anthropogenic heat over the past 15 years has mostly occurred in the Southern Ocean, based on Argo float observations. This agrees with historical simulations from phase 5 of the Coupled Model Intercomparison Project (CMIP5), where the Southern Ocean (south of 30 degrees S) accounts for 72% +/- 28% of global heat uptake, while the contribution from the North Atlantic north of 30 degrees N is only 6%. Aerosols preferentially cool the Northern Hemisphere, and the effect on surface heat flux over the subpolar North Atlantic opposes the greenhouse gas (GHG) effect in nearly equal magnitude. This heat uptake compensation is associated with weakening (strengthening) of the Atlantic meridional overturning circulation (AMOC) in response to GHG (aerosol) radiative forcing. Aerosols are projected to decline in the near future, reinforcing the greenhouse effect on the North Atlantic heat uptake. As a result, the Southern Ocean, which will continue to take up anthropogenic heat largely through the mean upwelling of water from depth, will be joined by increased relative contribution from the North Atlantic because of substantial AMOC slowdown in the twenty-first century. In the RCP8.5 scenario, the percentage contribution to global uptake is projected to decrease to 48% +/- 8% in the Southern Ocean and increase to 26% +/- 6% in the northern North Atlantic. Despite the large uncertainty in the magnitude of projected aerosol forcing, our results suggest that anthropogenic aerosols, given their geographic distributions and temporal trajectories, strongly influence the high-latitude ocean heat uptake and interhemispheric asymmetry through AMOC change.

Talley, LD.  2013.  Closure of the Global Overturning Circulation Through the Indian, Pacific, and Southern Oceans: Schematics and Transports. Oceanography. 26:80-97. AbstractWebsite

The overturning pathways for the surface-ventilated North Atlantic Deep Water (NADW) and Antarctic Bottom Water (AABW) and the diffusively formed Indian Deep Water (IDW) and Pacific Deep Water (PDW) are intertwined. The global overturning circulation (GOC) includes both large wind-driven upwelling in the Southern Ocean and important internal diapycnal transformation in the deep Indian and Pacific Oceans. All three northern-source Deep Waters (NADW, IDW, PDW) move southward and upwell in the Southern Ocean. AABW is produced from the denser, salty NADW and a portion of the lighter, low oxygen IDW/PDW that upwells above and north of NADW. The remaining upwelled IDW/PDW stays near the surface, moving into the subtropical thermoclines, and ultimately sources about one-third of the NADW. Another third of the NADW comes from AABW upwelling in the Atlantic. The remaining third comes from AABW upwelling to the thermocline in the Indian-Pacific. Atlantic cooling associated with NADW formation (0.3 PW north of 32 degrees S; 1 PW = 1015 W) and Southern Ocean cooling associated with AABW formation (0.4 PW south of 32 degrees S) are balanced mostly by 0.6 PW of deep diffusive heating in the Indian and Pacific Oceans; only 0.1 PW is gained at the surface in the Southern Ocean. Thus, while an adiabatic model of NADW global overturning driven by winds in the Southern Ocean, with buoyancy added only at the surface in the Southern Ocean, is a useful dynamical idealization, the associated heat changes require full participation of the diffusive Indian and Pacific Oceans, with a basin-averaged diffusivity on the order of the Munk value of 10(-4) m(2) s(-1).

Talley, LD.  2008.  Freshwater transport estimates and the global overturning circulation: Shallow, deep and throughflow components. Progress in Oceanography. 78:257-303.   10.1016/j.pocean.2008.05.001   AbstractWebsite

Meridional ocean freshwater transports and convergences are calculated from absolute geostrophic velocities and Ekman transports. The freshwater transports are analyzed in terms of mass-balanced contributions from the shallow, ventilated circulation of the subtropical gyres, intermediate and deep water overturns, and Indonesian Throughflow and Bering Strait components. The following are the major conclusions: 1. Excess freshwater in high latitudes must be transported to the evaporative lower latitudes, as is well known. The calculations here show that the northern hemisphere transports most of its high latitude freshwater equatorward through North Atlantic Deep Water (NADW) formation (as in [Rahmstorf, S., 1996. On the freshwater forcing and transport of the Atlantic thermohaline circulation. Climate Dynamics 12, 799-811]), in which saline subtropical surface waters absorb the freshened Arctic and subpolar North Atlantic surface waters (0.45 +/- 0.15 Sv for a 15 Sv overturn), plus a small contribution from the high latitude North Pacific through Bering Strait (0.06 +/- 0.02 Sv). In the North Pacific, formation of 2.4 Sv of North Pacific Intermediate Water (NPIW) transports 0.07 +/- 0.02 Sv of freshwater equatorward. In complete contrast, almost all of the 0.61 +/- 0.13 Sv of freshwater gained in the Southern Ocean is transported equatorward in the upper ocean, in roughly equal magnitudes of about 0.2 Sv each in the three subtropical gyres, with a smaller contribution of <0. 1 Sv from the Indonesian Throughflow loop through the Southern Ocean. The large Southern Ocean deep water formation (27 Sv) exports almost no freshwater (0.01 +/- 0.03 Sv) or actually imports freshwater if deep overturns in each ocean are considered separately (-0.06 +/- 0.04 Sv). This northern-southern hemisphere asymmetry is likely a consequence of the "Drake Passage" effect, which limits the southward transport of warm, saline surface waters into the Antarctic [Toggweiler, J.R., Samuels, B., 1995a. Effect of Drake Passage on the global thermohaline circulation. Deep-Sea Research 1 42(4), 477-500]. The salinity contrast between the deep Atlantic, Pacific and Indian source waters and the denser new Antarctic waters is limited by their small temperature contrast, resulting in small freshwater transports. No such constraint applies to NADW formation, which draws on warm, saline subtropical surface waters. 2. The Atlantic/Arctic and Indian Oceans are net evaporative basins, hence import freshwater via ocean circulation. For the Atlantic/Arctic north of 32 degrees S, freshwater import (0.28 +/- 0.04 Sv) comes from the Pacific through Bering Strait (0.06 0.02 Sv), from the Southern Ocean via the shallow gyre circulation (0.20 +/- 0.02 Sv), and from three nearly canceling conversions to the NADW layer (0.02 0.02 Sv): from saline Benguela Current surface water (-0.05 +/- 0.01 Sv), fresh AAIW (0.06 0.01 Sv) and fresh AABW/LCDW (0.01 0.01 Sv). Thus, the NADW freshwater balance is nearly closed within the Atlantic/Arctic Ocean and the freshwater transport associated with export of NADW to the Southern Ocean is only a small component of the Atlantic freshwater budget. For the Indian Ocean north of 32 degrees S, import of the required 0.37 +/- 0.10 Sv of freshwater comes from the Pacific through the Indonesian Throughflow (0.23 +/- 0.05 Sv) and the Southern Ocean via the shallow gyre circulation (0.18 +/- 0.02 Sv), with a small export southward due to freshening of bottom waters as they upwell into deep and intermediate waters (-0.04 +/- 0.03 Sv). The Pacific north of 28 degrees S is essentially neutral with respect to freshwater, -0.04 +/- 0.09 Sv. This is the nearly balancing sum of export to the Atlantic through Bering Strait (-0.07 +/- 0.02 Sv), export to the Indian through the Indonesian Throughflow (-0.17 +/- 0.05 Sv), a negligible export due to freshening of upwelled bottom waters (-0.03 +/- 0.03 Sv), and import of 0.23 +/- 0.04 Sv from the Southern Ocean via the shallow gyre circulation. 3. Bering Strait's small freshwater transport of <0.1 Sv helps maintains the Atlantic-Pacific salinity difference. However, proportionally large variations in the small Bering Strait transport would only marginally impact NADW salinity, whose freshening relative to saline surface water is mainly due to air-sea/runoff fluxes in the subpolar North Atlantic and Arctic. In contrast, in the Pacific, because the total overturning rate is much smaller than in the Atlantic, Bering Strait freshwater export has proportionally much greater impact on North Pacific salinity balances, including NPIW salinity. (C) 2008 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

Brambilla, E, Talley LD.  2006.  Surface drifter exchange between the North Atlantic subtropical and subpolar gyres. Journal of Geophysical Research-Oceans. 111   10.1029/2005jc003146   AbstractWebsite

[ 1] Surface drifters deployed in the subtropical and subpolar North Atlantic from 1990 to 2002 show almost no connection between the subtropical and subpolar gyres; only one drifter crosses the intergyre boundary even though other data types ( e. g., dynamic topography and tracers) suggest a major connection. Two of several possible causes for the lack of intergyre connectivity in this two-dimensional data set are examined: ( 1) undersampling and short drifter lifetime leading to underestimation of the northward flow, and ( 2) the southward mean Ekman velocity. Advection of a large number of long-lived synthetic drifters through the observed mean velocity results in a 5% increase in cross-gyre flux compared with that for synthetic drifters with realistic lifetimes. By further advecting synthetic drifters through the observed mean velocity field with and without the Ekman component, estimated from the wind field associated with the actual drifters, it is shown that removal of the Ekman component further increases the intergyre flux by up to 6%. With a turbulent component added to the mean velocity field to simulate the eddy field, there is a further increase in connection by 5%. Thus the Ekman and eddy contributions to the drifter trajectories nearly cancel each other. Consideration of three-dimensional processes ( subduction and obduction) is reserved for complete modeling studies.

Talley, LD, Reid JL, Robbins PE.  2003.  Data-based meridional overturning streamfunctions for the global ocean. Journal of Climate. 16:3213-3226.   10.1175/1520-0442(2003)016<3213:dmosft>;2   AbstractWebsite

The meridional overturning circulation for the Atlantic, Pacific, and Indian Oceans is computed from absolute geostrophic velocity estimates based on hydrographic data and from climatological Ekman transports. The Atlantic overturn includes the expected North Atlantic Deep Water formation ( including Labrador Sea Water and Nordic Sea Overflow Water), with an amplitude of about 18 Sv through most of the Atlantic and an error of the order of 3 - 5 Sv (1 Sv = 10(6) m(3) s(-1)). The Lower Circumpolar Deep Water ( Antarctic Bottom Water) flows north with about 8 Sv of upwelling and a southward return in the South Atlantic, and 6 Sv extending to and upwelling in the North Atlantic. The northward flow of 8 Sv in the upper layer in the Atlantic ( sea surface through the Antarctic Intermediate Water) is transformed to lower density in the Tropics before losing buoyancy in the Gulf Stream and North Atlantic Current. The Pacific overturning streamfunction includes 10 Sv of Lower Circumpolar Deep Water flowing north into the South Pacific to upwell and return southward as Pacific Deep Water, and a North Pacific Intermediate Water cell of 2 Sv. The northern North Pacific has no active deep water formation at the sea surface, but in this analysis there is downwelling from the Antarctic Intermediate Water into the Pacific Deep Water, with upwelling in the Tropics. For global Southern Hemisphere overturn across 30degreesS, the overturning is separated into a deep and a shallow overturning cell. In the deep cell, 22 - 27 Sv of deep water flows southward and returns northward as bottom water. In the shallow cell, 9 Sv flows southward at low density and returns northward just above the intermediate water density. In all three oceans, the Tropics appear to dominate upwelling across isopycnals, including the migration of the deepest waters upward to the thermocline in the Indian and Pacific. Estimated diffusivities associated with this tropical upwelling are the same order of magnitude in all three oceans. It is shown that vertically varying diffusivity associated with topography can produce deep downwelling in the absence of external buoyancy loss. The rate of such downwelling for the northern North Pacific is estimated as 2 Sv at most, which is smaller than the questionable downwelling derived from the velocity analysis.

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.

Talley, LD.  2003.  Shallow, intermediate, and deep overturning components of the global heat budget. Journal of Physical Oceanography. 33:530-560.   10.1175/1520-0485(2003)033<0530:siadoc>;2   AbstractWebsite

The ocean's overturning circulation and associated heat transport are divided into contributions based on water mass ventilation from 1) shallow overturning within the wind-driven subtropical gyres to the base of the thermocline, 2) overturning into the intermediate depth layer (500-2000 m) in the North Atlantic and North Pacific, and 3) overturning into the deep layers in the North Atlantic (Nordic Seas overflows) and around Antarctica. The contribution to South Pacific and Indian heat transport from the Indonesian Throughflow is separated from that of the subtropical gyres and is small. A shallow overturning heat transport of 0.6 PW dominates the 0.8-PW total heat transport at 24degreesN in the North Pacific but carries only 0.1-0.4 PW of the 1.3-PW total in the North Atlantic at 24degreesN. Shallow overturning heat transports in the Southern Hemisphere are also poleward: -0.2 to -0.3 PW southward across 30degreesS in each of the Pacific and Indian Oceans but only -0.1 PW in the South Atlantic. Intermediate water formation of 2 and 7 Sv (1 Sv = 10(6) m(3) s(-1)) carries 0.1 and 0.4 PW in the North Pacific and Atlantic, respectively, while North Atlantic Deep Water formation of 19 Sv carries 0.6 PW. Because of the small temperature differences between Northern Hemisphere deep waters that feed the colder Antarctic Bottom Water (Lower Circumpolar Deep Water), the formation of 22 Sv of dense Antarctic waters is associated with a heat transport of only -0.14 PW across 30degreesS (all oceans combined). Upwelling of Circumpolar Deep Water north of 30degreesS in the Indian (14 Sv) and South Pacific (14 Sv) carries -0.2 PW in each ocean.