Mean Circulation and Transports in the Atlantic

26N section

The 26 N Hydrographic Section

A major role of the oceans in the coupled climate system is the meridional transport of heat and freshwater and the subsequent exchange with the atmosphere through air-sea fluxes. Hydrographic sections across a selected few latitudes in the Atlantic sector (such as 26 N) provide us with "snapshots" of these meridional transports.

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subtropical sst

SST in the western subtropical gyre of our 1/12 resolution model

Ocean models such as OCCAM provide information at all latitudes, but discrepancies remain between simulated and observed transports. Due to the short length scales associated with narrow boundary currents such as the Gulf Stream, accompanied by rings and eddies, we believe that one way to improve our models is by increasing horizontal resolution. We are presently developing and running a 1/12 version of OCCAM.

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adjusted climatology

The latest adjusted SOC heat flux climatology

The meridional oceanic heat transport declines polewards as heat is progressively transferred from the ocean to the atmosphere. This air-sea exchange is captured in the SOC surface flux climatology. The accuracy of such surface flux estimates is known to vary from region to region. Hydrographic estimates of ocean heat transport are therefore used to adjust and improve the air-sea flux fields. Our overall goal is to reconcile hydrographic estimates of heat and freshwater transport with corresponding fields of surface flux, using and improving our ocean models in the process.