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Journal Article

Global thermohaline circulation. Part II: Sensitivity with interactive atmospheric transports

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Wang, X., Stone, P., & Marotzke, J. (1999). Global thermohaline circulation. Part II: Sensitivity with interactive atmospheric transports. Journal of Climate, 12(1), 83-91. doi:10.1175/1520-0442-12.1.83.

Cite as: https://hdl.handle.net/11858/00-001M-0000-0014-3AE8-1
A hybrid coupled ocean-atmosphere model is used to investigate the stability of the thermohaline circulation (THC) to an increase in the surface freshwater forcing in the presence of interactive meridional transports in the atmosphere. The ocean component is the idealized global general circulation model used in Part I. The atmospheric model assumes fixed latitudinal structure of the heat and moisture transports, and the amplitudes are calculated separately for each hemisphere from the large-scale sea surface temperature (SST) and SST gradient, using parameterizations based on baroclinic stability theory. The ocean-atmosphere heat and freshwater exchanges are calculated as residuals of the steady-state atmospheric budgets. Owing to the ocean component's weak heat transport, the model has too strong a meridional SST gradient when driven with observed atmospheric meridional transports, When the latter are made interactive, the conveyor belt circulation collapses. A Bur adjustment is introduced in which the efficiency of the atmospheric transports is lowered to match the too low efficiency of the ocean component. The feedbacks between the THC and both the atmospheric heat and moisture transports are positive, whether atmospheric transports are interactive in the Northern Hemisphere, the Southern Hemisphere, or both. However, the feedbacks operate differently in the Northern and Southern Hemispheres, because the Pacific THC dominates in the Southern Hemisphere, and deep water formation in the two hemispheres is negatively correlated. The feedbacks in the two hemispheres do nor necessarily reinforce each other because they have opposite effects on low-latitude temperatures. The model is qualitatively similar in stability to one with conventional "additive" flux adjustment, but quantitatively more stable.