2A.2 Atlantic Meridional Heat Transports Computed from Balancing Earth's Energy Locally

Monday, 23 January 2017: 1:45 PM
605 (Washington State Convention Center )
Kevin E. Trenberth, NCAR, Boulder, CO; and J. Fasullo

A new estimate is made of the meridional ocean heat transports by the Atlantic Meridional Ocean Circulation (AMOC) for 2000 through 2014 throughout the Atlantic. The method takes advantage of top-of-atmosphere radiation combined with atmospheric reanalyses to estimate surface heat and energy fluxes.  These are then combined with analyses of vertically integrated ocean heat content (OHC) to estimate the divergence of ocean heat transport as a residual.  In turn these are integrated from the north to produce the meridional heat transports.  Results agree well with observational estimates at 26.5°N from the RAPID array, but along with model assessments suggest that the RAPID assumptions and methodology over-estimate the peak transports by about 0.2 PW.  Average peak northward ocean heat transports are 1.1 PW but they vary considerably in latitude and time.  In addition, these results have no hint of a trend, unlike the RAPID results.  The method provides complementary information about the oceans to that from in situ observations and models, and can be implemented throughout the global ocean.

Supplementary URL: Trenberth, K. E., and J. T. Fasullo, 2017: Atlantic meridional heat transports computed from balancing Earth’s energy locally. G

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