The Mean State and Variability of the North At-lantic Circulation: A Perspective From Ocean Reanalyses

Jackson, L.C., Dubois C., Forget G., Haines, K., Harrison, M., Iovino, D., Köhl, A., Mignac, D., Masina, S., Peterson, K.A., Piecuch, C.G., Roberts, C.D., Robson, J., Storto, A., Toyoda, T., Valivieso, M., Wilson, C., Wang, Y., Zuo, H. 2019: The Mean State and Variability of the North Atlantic Circulation: A Perspective From Ocean Reanalyses. JGR Oceans. .

Summary: The observational network around the North Atlantic has improved significantly over the last few decades revealing changes over decadal time scales in the North Atlantic, including in heat content, heat transport, and the circulation. However, there are still significant gaps in the observational coverage. Ocean reanalyses fill in these gaps by combining the observations with a computer model of the ocean to give consistent estimates of the ocean state. These reanalyses are potentially useful tools that can be used to understand the observed changes; however, their skill must also be assessed. We use an ensemble of global ocean reanalyses in order to examine the mean state and variability of the North Atlantic ocean since 1993. In particular, we examine the convection, circulation, transports of heat and fresh water, and temperature and salinity changes. We find that reanalyses show some consistency in their results, suggesting that they may be useful for understanding circulation changes in regions and times where there are no observations. We also show improvements in some aspects of the ocean circulation as the observational coverage has improved. This highlights the importance of continuing observational campaigns.

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