Research ArticleOCEANOGRAPHY

Highly variable upper and abyssal overturning cells in the South Atlantic

See allHide authors and affiliations

Science Advances  05 Aug 2020:
Vol. 6, no. 32, eaba7573
DOI: 10.1126/sciadv.aba7573

Abstract

The Meridional Overturning Circulation (MOC) is a primary mechanism driving oceanic heat redistribution on Earth, thereby affecting Earth’s climate and weather. However, the full-depth structure and variability of the MOC are still poorly understood, particularly in the South Atlantic. This study presents unique multiyear records of the oceanic volume transport of both the upper (<~3100 meters) and abyssal (>~3100 meters) overturning cells based on daily moored measurements in the South Atlantic at 34.5°S. The vertical structure of the time-mean flows is consistent with the limited historical observations. Both the upper and abyssal cells exhibit a high degree of variability relative to the temporal means at time scales, ranging from a few days to a few weeks. Observed variations in the abyssal flow appear to be largely independent of the flow in the overlying upper cell. No meaningful trends are detected in either cell.

https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/4.0/

This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial license, which permits use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, so long as the resultant use is not for commercial advantage and provided the original work is properly cited.

View Full Text

Stay Connected to Science Advances