Love Ryan

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  • Article
    Freshwater routing in eddy-permitting simulations of the last deglacial: the impact of realistic freshwater discharge
    (European Geosciences Union, 2021-11-02) Love, Ryan ; Andres, Heather J. ; Condron, Alan ; Tarasov, Lev
    Freshwater, in the form of glacial runoff, is hypothesized to play a critical role in centennial- to millennial-scale climate variability, such as the Younger Dryas and Dansgaard–Oeschger events, but this relationship is not straightforward. Large-scale glacial runoff events, such as Meltwater Pulse 1a (MWP1a), are not always temporally proximal to subsequent large-scale cooling. Moreover, the typical design of hosing experiments that support this relationship tends to artificially amplify the climate response. This study explores the impact that limitations in the representation of runoff in conventional “hosing” simulations has on our understanding of this relationship by examining where coastally released freshwater is transported when it reaches the ocean. We particularly focus on the impact of (1) the injection of freshwater directly over sites of deep-water formation (DWF) rather than at runoff locations (i.e. hosing), (2) excessive freshwater injection volumes (often by a factor of 5), and (3) the use of present-day (rather than palaeo) ocean gateways. We track the routing of glaciologically constrained freshwater volumes from four different inferred injection locations in a suite of eddy-permitting glacial ocean simulations using the Massachusetts Institute of Technology General Circulation Model (MITgcm) under both open and closed Bering Strait conditions. Restricting freshwater forcing values to realistic ranges results in less spreading of freshwater across the North Atlantic and indicates that the freshwater anomalies over DWF sites depend strongly on the geographical location of meltwater input. In particular, freshwater released into the Gulf of Mexico generates a very weak freshwater signal over DWF regions as a result of entrainment by the turbulent Gulf Stream. In contrast, freshwater released into the Arctic with an open Bering Strait or from the Eurasian ice sheet is found to generate the largest salinity anomalies over DWF regions in the North Atlantic and GIN (Greenland–Iceland–Norwegian) seas region respectively. Experiments show that when the Bering Strait is open, the Mackenzie River source exhibits more than twice as much freshening of the North Atlantic deep-water formation regions as when the Bering Strait is closed. Our results illustrate that applying freshwater hosing directly into the North Atlantic with even “realistic” freshwater amounts still overestimates the amount of terrestrial runoff reaching DWF regions. Given the simulated salinity anomaly distributions and the lack of reconstructed impact on deep-water formation during the Bølling–Allerød, our results support that the majority of the North American contribution to MWP1a was not routed through the Mackenzie River.