Lagrangian Views of the Pathways of the Atlantic Meridional Overturning Circulation

Bower, A., Lozier, S., Biastoch, Arne, Drouin, K., Foukal, N., Furey, H., Lankhorst, M., Rühs, Siren and Zou, S. (2019) Lagrangian Views of the Pathways of the Atlantic Meridional Overturning Circulation Journal of Geophysical Research: Oceans, 124 (8). pp. 5313-5335. DOI 10.1029/2019JC015014.

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The Lagrangian method-where current location and intensity are determined by tracking the movement of flow along its path-is the oldest technique for measuring the ocean circulation. For centuries, mariners used compilations of ship drift data to map out the location and intensity of surface currents along major shipping routes of the global ocean. In the mid-20th century, technological advances in electronic navigation allowed oceanographers to continuously track freely drifting surface buoys throughout the ice-free oceans and begin to construct basin-scale, and eventually global-scale, maps of the surface circulation. At about the same time, development of acoustic methods to track neutrally buoyant floats below the surface led to important new discoveries regarding the deep circulation. Since then, Lagrangian observing and modeling techniques have been used to explore the structure of the general circulation and its variability throughout the global ocean, but especially in the Atlantic Ocean. In this review, Lagrangian studies that focus on pathways of the upper and lower limbs of the Atlantic Meridional Overturning Circulation (AMOC), both observational and numerical, have been gathered together to illustrate aspects of the AMOC that are uniquely captured by this technique. These include the importance of horizontal recirculation gyres and interior (as opposed to boundary) pathways, the connectivity (or lack thereof) of the AMOC across latitudes, and the role of mesoscale eddies in some regions as the primary AMOC transport mechanism. There remain vast areas of the deep ocean where there are no direct observations of the pathways of the AMOC.

Document Type: Article
Keywords: Floats; Drifters; Lagrangian methods; AMOC; Atlantic Ocean; Numerical models
Research affiliation: OceanRep > GEOMAR > FB1 Ocean Circulation and Climate Dynamics > FB1-OD Ocean Dynamics
Woods Hole
OceanRep > The Future Ocean - Cluster of Excellence
Refereed: Yes
DOI etc.: 10.1029/2019JC015014
ISSN: 2169-9275
Projects: Future Ocean, SPACES, AGULHAS, CASISAC
Date Deposited: 15 Nov 2019 12:35
Last Modified: 15 Nov 2019 12:35

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