Ocean circulation causes the largest freshening event for 120 years in eastern subpolar North Atlantic

N. Penny Holliday, Manfred Bersch, Barbara Berx, Léon Chafik, Stuart Cunningham, Cristian Florindo-lópez, Hjálmar Hátún, William Johns, Simon A. Josey, Karin Margretha H. Larsen, Sandrine Mulet, Marilena Oltmanns, Gilles Reverdin, Tom Rossby, Virginie Thierry, Hedinn Valdimarsson, Igor Yashayaev

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

The Atlantic Ocean overturning circulation is important to the climate system because it carries heat and carbon northward, and from the surface to the deep ocean. The high salinity of the subpolar North Atlantic is a prerequisite for overturning circulation, and strong freshening could herald a slowdown. We show that the eastern subpolar North Atlantic underwent extreme freshening during 2012 to 2016, with a magnitude never seen before in 120 years of measurements. The cause was unusual winter wind patterns driving major changes in ocean circulation, including slowing of the North Atlantic Current and diversion of Arctic freshwater from the western boundary into the eastern basins. We find that wind-driven routing of Arctic-origin freshwater intimately links conditions on the North West Atlantic shelf and slope region with the eastern subpolar basins. This reveals the importance of atmospheric forcing of intra-basin circulation in determining the salinity of the subpolar North Atlantic.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages15
JournalNature Communications
Volume11
Issue number1
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 29 Jan 2020

Fingerprint

Salinity
Fresh Water
Oceans and Seas
oceans
Atlantic Ocean
causes
salinity
Climate
Carbon
Hot Temperature
shelves
winter
climate
slopes
heat
carbon

Keywords

  • Climate sciences
  • Ocean sciences
  • Physical oceanography

Cite this

Holliday, N. Penny ; Bersch, Manfred ; Berx, Barbara ; Chafik, Léon ; Cunningham, Stuart ; Florindo-lópez, Cristian ; Hátún, Hjálmar ; Johns, William ; Josey, Simon A. ; Larsen, Karin Margretha H. ; Mulet, Sandrine ; Oltmanns, Marilena ; Reverdin, Gilles ; Rossby, Tom ; Thierry, Virginie ; Valdimarsson, Hedinn ; Yashayaev, Igor. / Ocean circulation causes the largest freshening event for 120 years in eastern subpolar North Atlantic. In: Nature Communications. 2020 ; Vol. 11, No. 1.
@article{cc1f9f9f538440dca4454f2d693f5343,
title = "Ocean circulation causes the largest freshening event for 120 years in eastern subpolar North Atlantic",
abstract = "The Atlantic Ocean overturning circulation is important to the climate system because it carries heat and carbon northward, and from the surface to the deep ocean. The high salinity of the subpolar North Atlantic is a prerequisite for overturning circulation, and strong freshening could herald a slowdown. We show that the eastern subpolar North Atlantic underwent extreme freshening during 2012 to 2016, with a magnitude never seen before in 120 years of measurements. The cause was unusual winter wind patterns driving major changes in ocean circulation, including slowing of the North Atlantic Current and diversion of Arctic freshwater from the western boundary into the eastern basins. We find that wind-driven routing of Arctic-origin freshwater intimately links conditions on the North West Atlantic shelf and slope region with the eastern subpolar basins. This reveals the importance of atmospheric forcing of intra-basin circulation in determining the salinity of the subpolar North Atlantic.",
keywords = "Climate sciences, Ocean sciences, Physical oceanography",
author = "Holliday, {N. Penny} and Manfred Bersch and Barbara Berx and L{\'e}on Chafik and Stuart Cunningham and Cristian Florindo-l{\'o}pez and Hj{\'a}lmar H{\'a}t{\'u}n and William Johns and Josey, {Simon A.} and Larsen, {Karin Margretha H.} and Sandrine Mulet and Marilena Oltmanns and Gilles Reverdin and Tom Rossby and Virginie Thierry and Hedinn Valdimarsson and Igor Yashayaev",
note = "{\circledC} The Author(s) 2020",
year = "2020",
month = "1",
day = "29",
doi = "10.1038/s41467-020-14474-y",
language = "English",
volume = "11",
journal = "Nature Communications",
issn = "2041-1723",
publisher = "Nature Publishing Group",
number = "1",

}

Holliday, NP, Bersch, M, Berx, B, Chafik, L, Cunningham, S, Florindo-lópez, C, Hátún, H, Johns, W, Josey, SA, Larsen, KMH, Mulet, S, Oltmanns, M, Reverdin, G, Rossby, T, Thierry, V, Valdimarsson, H & Yashayaev, I 2020, 'Ocean circulation causes the largest freshening event for 120 years in eastern subpolar North Atlantic', Nature Communications, vol. 11, no. 1. https://doi.org/10.1038/s41467-020-14474-y

Ocean circulation causes the largest freshening event for 120 years in eastern subpolar North Atlantic. / Holliday, N. Penny; Bersch, Manfred; Berx, Barbara; Chafik, Léon; Cunningham, Stuart; Florindo-lópez, Cristian; Hátún, Hjálmar; Johns, William; Josey, Simon A.; Larsen, Karin Margretha H.; Mulet, Sandrine; Oltmanns, Marilena; Reverdin, Gilles; Rossby, Tom; Thierry, Virginie; Valdimarsson, Hedinn; Yashayaev, Igor.

In: Nature Communications, Vol. 11, No. 1, 29.01.2020.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

TY - JOUR

T1 - Ocean circulation causes the largest freshening event for 120 years in eastern subpolar North Atlantic

AU - Holliday, N. Penny

AU - Bersch, Manfred

AU - Berx, Barbara

AU - Chafik, Léon

AU - Cunningham, Stuart

AU - Florindo-lópez, Cristian

AU - Hátún, Hjálmar

AU - Johns, William

AU - Josey, Simon A.

AU - Larsen, Karin Margretha H.

AU - Mulet, Sandrine

AU - Oltmanns, Marilena

AU - Reverdin, Gilles

AU - Rossby, Tom

AU - Thierry, Virginie

AU - Valdimarsson, Hedinn

AU - Yashayaev, Igor

N1 - © The Author(s) 2020

PY - 2020/1/29

Y1 - 2020/1/29

N2 - The Atlantic Ocean overturning circulation is important to the climate system because it carries heat and carbon northward, and from the surface to the deep ocean. The high salinity of the subpolar North Atlantic is a prerequisite for overturning circulation, and strong freshening could herald a slowdown. We show that the eastern subpolar North Atlantic underwent extreme freshening during 2012 to 2016, with a magnitude never seen before in 120 years of measurements. The cause was unusual winter wind patterns driving major changes in ocean circulation, including slowing of the North Atlantic Current and diversion of Arctic freshwater from the western boundary into the eastern basins. We find that wind-driven routing of Arctic-origin freshwater intimately links conditions on the North West Atlantic shelf and slope region with the eastern subpolar basins. This reveals the importance of atmospheric forcing of intra-basin circulation in determining the salinity of the subpolar North Atlantic.

AB - The Atlantic Ocean overturning circulation is important to the climate system because it carries heat and carbon northward, and from the surface to the deep ocean. The high salinity of the subpolar North Atlantic is a prerequisite for overturning circulation, and strong freshening could herald a slowdown. We show that the eastern subpolar North Atlantic underwent extreme freshening during 2012 to 2016, with a magnitude never seen before in 120 years of measurements. The cause was unusual winter wind patterns driving major changes in ocean circulation, including slowing of the North Atlantic Current and diversion of Arctic freshwater from the western boundary into the eastern basins. We find that wind-driven routing of Arctic-origin freshwater intimately links conditions on the North West Atlantic shelf and slope region with the eastern subpolar basins. This reveals the importance of atmospheric forcing of intra-basin circulation in determining the salinity of the subpolar North Atlantic.

KW - Climate sciences

KW - Ocean sciences

KW - Physical oceanography

U2 - 10.1038/s41467-020-14474-y

DO - 10.1038/s41467-020-14474-y

M3 - Article

VL - 11

JO - Nature Communications

JF - Nature Communications

SN - 2041-1723

IS - 1

ER -