Glacial Atlantic overturning increased by wind stress in climate models Public Deposited

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Abstract or Summary
  • Previous Paleoclimate Model Intercomparison Project (PMIP) simulations of the Last Glacial Maximum (LGM) Atlantic Meridional Overturning Circulation (AMOC) showed dissimilar results on transports and structure. Here we analyze the most recent PMIP3 models, which show a consistent increase (on average by 41 ± 26%) and deepening (663 ± 550 m) of the AMOC with respect to preindustrial simulations, in contrast to some reconstructions from proxy data. Simulations run with the University of Victoria (UVic) ocean circulation model suggest that this is caused by changes in the Northern Hemisphere wind stress, brought about by the presence of ice sheets over North America in the LGM. When forced with LGM wind stress anomalies from PMIP3 models, the UVic model responds with an increase of the northward salt transport in the North Atlantic, which strengthens North Atlantic Deep Water formation and the AMOC. These results improve our understanding of the LGM AMOC's driving forces and suggest that some ocean mechanisms may not be correctly represented in PMIP3 models or some proxy data may need reinterpretation.
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  • Muglia, J., & Schmittner, A. (2015). Glacial Atlantic overturning increased by wind stress in climate models. Geophysical Research Letters, 42(22), 9862-9868. doi:10.1002/2015GL064583
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