Clim. Past Discuss., 6, 2455-2482, 2010
www.clim-past-discuss.net/6/2455/2010/
doi:10.5194/cpd-6-2455-2010
© Author(s) 2010. This work is distributed
under the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License.
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This discussion paper has been under review for the journal Climate of the Past (CP). Please refer to the corresponding final paper in CP.
The global ocean circulation on a retrograde rotating earth
V. Kamphuis, S. E. Huisman, and H. A. Dijkstra
Institute for Marine and Atmospheric research Utrecht, Utrecht University, Utrecht, The Netherlands

Abstract. To understand the three-dimensional ocean circulation patterns that have occurred in past continental geometries, it is crucial to study the role of the present-day continental geometry and surface (wind stress and buoyancy) forcing on the present-day global ocean circulation. This circulation, often referred to as the Conveyor state, is characterized by an Atlantic Meridional Overturning Circulation (MOC) with deep water formation at northern latitudes and the absence of such deep water formation in the North Pacific. This MOC asymmetry is often attributed to the difference in surface freshwater flux: the North Atlantic is a basin with net evaporation, while the North Pacific receives net precipitation. This issue is revisited in this paper by considering the global ocean circulation on a retrograde rotating earth, computing an equilibrium state of the coupled atmosphere-ocean-land surface-sea ice model CCSM3. The Atlantic-Pacific asymmetry in surface freshwater flux is indeed reversed but the ocean circulation pattern is not an Inverse Conveyor state (with deep water formation in the North Pacific) as there is strong and highly variable deep water formation in the North Atlantic. Using a fully-implicit, global ocean-only model also the stability properties of the Atlantic MOC on a retrograde rotating earth are investigated, showing a similar regime of multiple equilibria as in the present-day case. These results demonstrate that the present-day asymmetry in surface freshwater flux is not a crucial factor for the Atlantic-Pacific asymmetry in the global MOC.

Citation: Kamphuis, V., Huisman, S. E., and Dijkstra, H. A.: The global ocean circulation on a retrograde rotating earth, Clim. Past Discuss., 6, 2455-2482, doi:10.5194/cpd-6-2455-2010, 2010.
 
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