McCarthy Gerard D.
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ArticleGulf Stream variability in the context of quasi‐decadal and multidecadal Atlantic climate variability(John Wiley & Sons, 2018-10-20) McCarthy, Gerard D. ; Joyce, Terrence M. ; Josey, Simon A.The Gulf Stream plays an important role in North Atlantic climate variability on a range of timescales. The North Atlantic is notable for large decadal variability in sea surface temperatures (SST). Whether this variability is driven by atmospheric or oceanic influences is a disputed point. Long time series of atmospheric and ocean variables, in particular long time series of Gulf Stream position, reveal differing sources of SST variability on quasi‐decadal and multidecadal timescales. On quasi‐decadal timescales, an oscillatory signal identified in the North Atlantic Oscillation (NAO) controls SST evolution directly via air‐sea heat fluxes. However, on multidecadal timescales, this relationship between the NAO and SST changes, while the relationship between the NAO and Gulf Stream position remains consistent in phase and resonant in amplitude. Recent changes in the Gulf Stream Extension show a weakening and broadening of the current, consistent with increased instability. We consider these changes in the context of a weakening Atlantic overturning circulation.
ArticleThe Canary Basin contribution to the seasonal cycle of the Atlantic Meridional Overturning Circulation at 26°N(John Wiley & Sons, 2015-11-07) Perez-Hernandez, M. Dolores ; McCarthy, Gerard D. ; Velez-Belchi, Pedro ; Smeed, David A. ; Fraile-Nuez, Eugenio ; Hernandez-Guerra, AlonsoThis study examines the seasonal cycle of the Atlantic Meridional Overturning Circulation (AMOC) and its eastern boundary contributions. The cycle has a magnitude of 6 Sv, as measured by the RAPID/MOCHA/WBTS project array at 26°N, which is driven largely by the eastern boundary. The eastern boundary variations are explored in the context of the regional circulation around the Canary Islands. There is a 3 month lag between maximum wind forcing and the largest eastern boundary transports, which is explained in terms of a model for Rossby wave generated at the eastern boundary. Two dynamic processes take place through the Lanzarote Passage (LP) in fall: the recirculation of the Canary Current and the northward flow of the Intermediate Poleward Undercurrent. In contrast, during the remaining seasons the transport through the LP is southward due to the Canary Upwelling Current. These processes are linked to the seasonal cycle of the AMOC.
ArticleThe relationship between U.S. East Coast sea level and the Atlantic Meridional Overturning Circulation: a review(American Geophysical Union, 2019-08-09) Little, Christopher M. ; Hu, Aixue ; Hughes, Chris W. ; McCarthy, Gerard D. ; Piecuch, Christopher G. ; Ponte, Rui M. ; Thomas, Matthew D.Scientific and societal interest in the relationship between the Atlantic Meridional Overturning Circulation (AMOC) and U.S. East Coast sea level has intensified over the past decade, largely due to (1) projected, and potentially ongoing, enhancement of sea level rise associated with AMOC weakening and (2) the potential for observations of U.S. East Coast sea level to inform reconstructions of North Atlantic circulation and climate. These implications have inspired a wealth of model‐ and observation‐based analyses. Here, we review this research, finding consistent support in numerical models for an antiphase relationship between AMOC strength and dynamic sea level. However, simulations exhibit substantial along‐coast and intermodel differences in the amplitude of AMOC‐associated dynamic sea level variability. Observational analyses focusing on shorter (generally less than decadal) timescales show robust relationships between some components of the North Atlantic large‐scale circulation and coastal sea level variability, but the causal relationships between different observational metrics, AMOC, and sea level are often unclear. We highlight the importance of existing and future research seeking to understand relationships between AMOC and its component currents, the role of ageostrophic processes near the coast, and the interplay of local and remote forcing. Such research will help reconcile the results of different numerical simulations with each other and with observations, inform the physical origins of covariability, and reveal the sensitivity of scaling relationships to forcing, timescale, and model representation. This information will, in turn, provide a more complete characterization of uncertainty in relevant relationships, leading to more robust reconstructions and projections.
ArticleAtlantic meridional overturning circulation: Observed transport and variability(Frontiers Media, 2019-06-07) Frajka-Williams, Eleanor ; Ansorge, Isabelle ; Baehr, Johanna ; Bryden, Harry L. ; Chidichimo, Maria Paz ; Cunningham, Stuart A. ; Danabasoglu, Gokhan ; Dong, Shenfu ; Donohue, Kathleen A. ; Elipot, Shane ; Heimbach, Patrick ; Holliday, Naomi Penny ; Hummels, Rebecca ; Jackson, Laura C. ; Karstensen, Johannes ; Lankhorst, Matthias ; Le Bras, Isabela A. ; Lozier, M. Susan ; McDonagh, Elaine L. ; Meinen, Christopher S. ; Mercier, Herlé ; Moat, Bengamin I. ; Perez, Renellys ; Piecuch, Christopher G. ; Rhein, Monika ; Srokosz, Meric ; Trenberth, Kevin E. ; Bacon, Sheldon ; Forget, Gael ; Goni, Gustavo J. ; Kieke, Dagmar ; Koelling, Jannes ; Lamont, Tarron ; McCarthy, Gerard D. ; Mertens, Christian ; Send, Uwe ; Smeed, David A. ; Speich, Sabrina ; van den Berg, Marcel ; Volkov, Denis L. ; Wilson, Christopher G.The Atlantic Meridional Overturning Circulation (AMOC) extends from the Southern Ocean to the northern North Atlantic, transporting heat northwards throughout the South and North Atlantic, and sinking carbon and nutrients into the deep ocean. Climate models indicate that changes to the AMOC both herald and drive climate shifts. Intensive trans-basin AMOC observational systems have been put in place to continuously monitor meridional volume transport variability, and in some cases, heat, freshwater and carbon transport. These observational programs have been used to diagnose the magnitude and origins of transport variability, and to investigate impacts of variability on essential climate variables such as sea surface temperature, ocean heat content and coastal sea level. AMOC observing approaches vary between the different systems, ranging from trans-basin arrays (OSNAP, RAPID 26°N, 11°S, SAMBA 34.5°S) to arrays concentrating on western boundaries (e.g., RAPID WAVE, MOVE 16°N). In this paper, we outline the different approaches (aims, strengths and limitations) and summarize the key results to date. We also discuss alternate approaches for capturing AMOC variability including direct estimates (e.g., using sea level, bottom pressure, and hydrography from autonomous profiling floats), indirect estimates applying budgetary approaches, state estimates or ocean reanalyses, and proxies. Based on the existing observations and their results, and the potential of new observational and formal synthesis approaches, we make suggestions as to how to evaluate a comprehensive, future-proof observational network of the AMOC to deepen our understanding of the AMOC and its role in global climate.