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Human-Induced Change in the Antarctic Circumpolar Current

PI: John Fyfe
Institution: Canadian Centre for Climate Modelling and Analysis
Additional Investigators: Oleg Saenko
The latest CCCma CGCM indicates that the poleward shift of the Antarctic Circumpolar Current observed over recent decades may have been significantly human-induced. The
poleward shift is predicted to continue into the future such that by century's end the concomitant shrinking of the Southern Ocean will displace a volume of water close to that presently in the Arctic Ocean. It is also predicted that the transport of water associated with the current will increase by an amount close to the present-day flow of North Atlantic deep water. A simple theory, balancing surface Ekman drift and ocean eddy mixing, largely explains these changes as the oceanic response to changing wind stress. A large ensemble of other CGCMs show similar wind stress changes, from which it is inferred that their ACCs are similarly changed.

In this project we would aim to confirm the last statement by directly analyzing the simulated ACCs from as many models as possible.

Data: Three dimensional ocean T, S, U, V and wind stress fields (monthly or annual) are required.

Fyfe and Saenko, 2004: Human-Induced Change in the Antarctic Circumpolar Current, Submitted to J. Clim. Letters.
  • Fyfe, J.C., 2006: Southern Ocean warming due to human influence. J. Geophys. Res., 33, 10.1029/2006GL027247. Abstract. Full Article. Edit.
  • Fyfe, J.C. and O.A. Saenko, 2005: Human-induced change in the Antarctic Circumpolar Current. Journal of Climate, 18, 3068-3073. Abstract. Full Article. Edit.
  • Fyfe, J.C. and O.A. Saenko, 2006: Simulated changes in the extratropical Southern Hemisphere winds and currents. Geophysical Research Letters, 33, doi:10.1029/2005GL025332. In press. Abstract. Full Article. Edit.
  • Fyfe, J.C., O.A. Saenko, K. Zickfeld, M. Eby and A.J. Weaver, 2007: The role of poleward intensifying winds on Southern Ocean warming. J. of Climate. Abstract. Edit.

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