Abrupt climate changes: How freshening of the northern Atlantic affects the thermohaline and wind-driven oceanic circulations

Marcelo Barreiro, Alexey Fedorov, Ronald Pacanowski, S. George Philander

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

35 Scopus citations

Abstract

Leading hypotheses for abrupt climate changes are focused on the ocean response to a freshening of surface waters in the north Atlantic. The degree to which such a freshening affects the deep, slow thermohaline, rather than the shallow, swift, wind-driven circulations of the ocean, and hence the degree to which that freshening affects climate in high rather than low latitudes, differ from model to model, depending on factors such as the treatment of diffusive processes in the oceans. Many comprehensive climate models are biased and confine the influence mainly to the thermohaline circulation and northern climates. Simulations of paleoclimates can provide valuable tests for the models, but only some of those climates provide sufficiently stringent tests to determine which models are realistic.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationAnnual Review of Earth and Planetary Sciences
EditorsRaymond Jeanloz, Arden Albee, Kevin Burke, Katherine Freeman
Pages33-58
Number of pages26
DOIs
StatePublished - Jul 1 2008

Publication series

NameAnnual Review of Earth and Planetary Sciences
Volume36
ISSN (Print)0084-6597

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • Earth and Planetary Sciences (miscellaneous)
  • Space and Planetary Science

Keywords

  • Extratropical-tropical connections
  • Heat transport
  • Ocean general circulation
  • Ocean thermal structure
  • Paleoclimates

Fingerprint Dive into the research topics of 'Abrupt climate changes: How freshening of the northern Atlantic affects the thermohaline and wind-driven oceanic circulations'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

  • Cite this

    Barreiro, M., Fedorov, A., Pacanowski, R., & Philander, S. G. (2008). Abrupt climate changes: How freshening of the northern Atlantic affects the thermohaline and wind-driven oceanic circulations. In R. Jeanloz, A. Albee, K. Burke, & K. Freeman (Eds.), Annual Review of Earth and Planetary Sciences (pp. 33-58). (Annual Review of Earth and Planetary Sciences; Vol. 36). https://doi.org/10.1146/annurev.earth.36.090507.143219