An abrupt slowdown of Atlantic Meridional Overturning Circulation during 1915–1935 induced by solar forcing in a coupled GCM
P. Lin1, Y. Song1,2, Y. Yu1, and H. Liu11State Key Laboratory of Numerical Modeling for Atmospheric Sciences and Geophysical Fluid Dynamics (LASG), Institute of Atmospheric Physics (IAP), Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing 100029, China 2College of Earth Science, University of Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing 100049, China
Received: 09 May 2014 – Accepted for review: 02 Jun 2014 – Discussion started: 18 Jun 2014
Abstract. In this study, we explore an abrupt change of Atlantic Meridional Overturning Circulation (AMOC) apparent in the historical run simulated by the second version of the Flexible Global Ocean–Atmosphere–Land System model – Spectral Version 2 (FGOALS-s2). The abrupt change is noted during the period from 1915 to 1935, in which the maximal AMOC value is weakened beyond 6 Sv (1 Sv = 106 m3 s−1). The abrupt signal first occurs at high latitudes (north of 46° N), then shifts gradually to middle latitudes (∼35° N) three to seven years later. The weakened AMOC can be explained in the following. The weak total solar irradiance (TIS) during early twentieth century decreases pole-to-equator temperature gradient in the upper stratosphere. The North polar vortex is weakened, which forces a negative North Atlantic Oscillation (NAO) phase during 1905–1914. The negative phase of NAO induces anomalous easterly winds in 50–70° N belts, which decrease the release of heat fluxes from ocean to atmosphere and induce surface warming over these regions. Through the surface ice–albedo feedback, the warming may lead to continuously melting sea ice in Baffin Bay and Davis Strait, which results in freshwater accumulation. This can lead to salinity and density reductions and then an abrupt slowdown of AMOC. Moreover, due to increased TIS after 1914, the enhanced Atlantic northward ocean heat transport from low to high latitudes induces an abrupt warming of sea surface temperature or upper ocean temperature in mid–high latitudes, which can also weaken the AMOC. The abrupt change of AMOC also appears in the PiControl run, which is associated with the lasting negative NAO phases due to natural variability.
Lin, P., Song, Y., Yu, Y., and Liu, H.: An abrupt slowdown of Atlantic Meridional Overturning Circulation during 1915–1935 induced by solar forcing in a coupled GCM, Clim. Past Discuss., 10, 2519-2546, doi:10.5194/cpd-10-2519-2014, 2014.