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Weakening of the Gulf Stream at Florida Straits over the past century inferred from coastal sea-level data
  • Christopher Piecuch
Christopher Piecuch
Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution

Corresponding Author:cpiecuch@whoi.edu

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The Florida Current marks the beginning of the Gulf Stream at Florida Straits, and plays an important role in climate. Nearly continuous measurements of Florida Current transport have been made at ~27N since 1982, but these data are too short to allow an assessment of possible centennial changes. Here I reconstruct Florida Current transport during 1909-2018 using probabilistic methods and principles of ocean dynamics applied to available transport measurements and longer coastal sea-level data. The Florida Current transport very likely (probability P=0.93) has weakened since the 1920s, such that modern measurements made within Florida Straits since 1982 likely (P=0.87) portray the transport in a reduced state. The weakest decadally averaged transport during the last 110 y probably (P=0.74) took place sometime in the last two decades. Weakening of Florida Current transport is consistent with a hypothesized steady reduction of the deep Atlantic meridional overturning circulation during the past century.
07 Aug 2020Published in Nature Communications volume 11 issue 1. 10.1038/s41467-020-17761-w