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  • Guemas V. and D. Salas-Mélia, 2007: Simulation of the Atlantic meridional overturning circulation in an atmosphere-ocean global coupled model. Part I: a mechanism governing the variability of ocean convection in a preindustrial experiment. Clim. Dyn., DOI : 10.1007/s00382-007-0336-8.

A preindustrial climate experiment was conducted with the third version of the CNRM global atmosphere–ocean–sea ice coupled model (CNRM-CM3) for the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change Fourth Assessment Report (IPCC AR4). This experiment is used to investigate the main physical processes involved in the variability of the North Atlantic ocean convection and the induced variability of the Atlantic meridional overturning circulation (MOC). Three ocean convection sites are simulated, in the Labrador, Irminger and Greenland–Iceland–Norwegian (GIN) Seas in agreement with observations. A mechanism linking the variability of the Arctic sea ice cover and convection in the GIN Seas is highlighted. Contrary to previous suggested mechanisms, in CNRM-CM3 the latter is not modulated by the variability of freshwater export through Fram Strait. Instead, the variability of convection is mainly driven by the variability of the sea ice edge position in the Greenland Sea. In this area, the surface freshwater balance is dominated by the freshwater input due to the melting of sea ice. The ice edge position is modulated either by northwestward geostrophic current anomalies or by an intensification of northerly winds. In the model, stronger than average northerly winds force simultaneous intense convective events in the Irminger and GIN Seas. Convection interacts with the thermohaline circulation on timescales of 5–10 years, which translates into MOC anomalies propagating southward from the convection sites.


Last Updated: 2007-12-13

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