120 Years of AMOC Variability Reconstructed From Observations Using the Bernoulli Inverse

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Determining the long-term nature of the Atlantic Meridional Overturning Circulation (AMOC) presents a major step in understanding ocean temperature forcing, and is crucial both for placing the recently observed AMOC slowdown in the context of climate change and for predicting future climate. We present a time series for AMOC strength over the last 120 years which is derived solely from observations. Application of the Bernoulli inverse to hydrography yields the general geostrophic circulation in the North Atlantic without requiring additional sea surface height information, allowing AMOC evaluation in the pre-satellite era. AMOC varies on a multidecadal timescale, leading the Atlantic Multidecadal Variability (AMV) in sea surface temperature by 2.5 years. We consider the dynamics of the implied AMOC/AMV coupling, and hypothesize that the low-frequency variability in both parameters is driven by large-scale density anomalies circulating in the AMOC.
Original languageEnglish
Article numbere2021GL093893
Number of pages10
JournalGeophysical Research Letters
Issue number18
Publication statusPublished - 20 Sept 2021


  • AMOC
  • climate
  • Atlantic
  • observation
  • AMV
  • AMO


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