MCCIP Science Review 2020: Effects of climate change on the Atlantic Heat Conveyor relevant to the UK

Gerard McCarthy, Laura Jackson, Stuart Cunningham, N.P. Holliday, D.A. Smeed, David Stevens

Research output: Book/ReportOther report

Abstract

The Atlantic Heat Conveyor or Atlantic Meridional Overturning
Circulation (AMOC) is a major factor in maintenance of the climate
and marine environment of the UK.
• The AMOC is predicted to weaken in the coming century due to
climate change.
• The AMOC is currently in a weakened state and the subpolar North
Atlantic appears to be entering a cool (and fresh) state. However,
record cold temperatures in 2015 were found to be driven largely by
air–sea heat loss rather than reduced AMOC.
• Large biogeographical and climatic shifts are expected in response to
this shift to cooler conditions.
• There is little support for the idea that the AMOC will abruptly shut
down despite new ideas suggesting more plausible mechanisms
related to a shutdown.
• Skill in predicting climate on decadal timescales can be derived from
correct initialisation of AMOC in prediction systems hence increasing
the capacity to manage, mitigate, and adapt to AMOC related climate
changes.
Original languageEnglish
PublisherMarine Climate Change Impacts Partnership
Number of pages18
Volume2020
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 15 Jan 2020

Publication series

NameMCCIP Science Review

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