Arctic Field Projects



Project Title: The Arctic ocean control of the Atlantic meridional overturning circulation on multi-decadal and longer timescales (Award# 1741841)

PI: Fedorov, Alexey (alexey.fedorov@yale.edu)
Phone: (203) 432.3153 
Institute/Department: Yale University, Geology and Geophysics 
IPY Project?
Funding Agency: US\Federal\NSF\GEO\OPP\ARC\ANS
Program Manager: Dr. Cynthia Suchman (csuchman@nsf.gov)
Discipline(s): | Oceanography |

Project Web Site(s):
Data: https://www.ncdc.noaa.gov/
NSF_Award_Info: https://www.nsf.gov/awardsearch/showAward?AWD_ID=1...

Science Summary:
A major goal of this study is to understand the impacts of Arctic climate change and their effects on the Atlantic meridional overturning circulation (AMOC). This is of significant practical value because the AMOC can affect the climate of different regions of the globe, ranging from North America, Europe and Greenland to the Sahel and the Indian Ocean. Drs. Fedorov and Liu will conduct outreach activities through the Peabody Museum of Natural History. This includes giving public lectures and symposia, leading Teacher development workshops, and communicating the importance of the results to mass media. This is a modeling project to study the effect of declining Arctic sea ice on the strength and other characteristics of the AMOC - a major element of ocean dynamics and climate. Sea ice decline exposes the Arctic Ocean to anomalous solar radiation and freshwater fluxes, generating positive buoyancy anomalies in the upper ocean. The hypothesis being tested is that, when spreading to the North Atlantic these buoyancy anomalies effectively weaken ocean deep convection, leading to a slow-down of the AMOC on multi-decadal timescales. This hypothesis will be tested with a variety of methods ranging from adjoint ocean modeling to experiments with climate models.

Logistics Summary:
This is a modeling project to study the effect of declining Arctic sea ice on the strength and other characteristics of the Atlantic meridional overturning circulation (AMOC) - a major element of ocean dynamics and climate. This research has several components: (i) An ad joint analysis of the AMOC sensitivity to Arctic heat and freshwater fluxes using an optimal flux perturbation framework; (ii) experiments with a climate model (CESM) wherein researchers will aim to reproduce the observed reduction of Arctic sea ice and study its effects on the AMOC; (iii) CESM sensitivity experiments in which researchers will systematically modify sea ice extent and assess AMOC changes, including an experiment using high ocean resolution; (iv) a comprehensive analysis of preindustrial and future climate simulations using the output from the CESM large ensemble and CMIP5, focusing on the relationship between Arctic sea ice and the AMOC; (v) greenhouse-warming experiments in which researchers will explicitly increase sea ice sensitivity to atmospheric warming. Throughout these analyses, researchers will evaluate the physical mechanisms by which anomalies from the Arctic affect the AMOC. No fieldwork is conducted.




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