Session 5B.7 The role of salinity as the primary driver for the Atlantic Ocean's multi-decadal parameter variations

Tuesday, 29 April 2008: 9:30 AM
Palms E (Wyndham Orlando Resort)
William M. Gray, Colorado State Univ., Fort Collins, CO

Presentation PDF (286.1 kB)

Many recent papers have verified the existence of prominent multi-decadal variations in the North Atlantic Basin SST, SLP, NAO, wind-ocean gyre strength, major hurricane activity, and other features. All these multi-decadal parameter variations can be related to variations in the strength of the Atlantic Ocean Thermohaline Circulation (THC) or MOC. The strength of the Atlantic THC varies with the magnitude of the subsidence of high latitude North Atlantic upper-water to deep levels. This subsidence is dependent upon salinity specified negative ocean buoyancy.

We had previously developed a proxy signal for THC that specified that its strength was directly related to high latitude Atlantic SST minus Atlantic SLP (0- 50°N). The availability of new Atlantic salinity data sets shows remarkable agreement with our previously developed THC proxy parameter and with the above listed Atlantic multi-decadal parameter variations. Salinity is shown to vary on multi-decadal time scales and is hypothesized to be the primary driver for the Atlantic's many multi-decadal parameter variations.

- Indicates paper has been withdrawn from meeting
- Indicates an Award Winner