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Has the Gulf Stream Slowed or Shifted in the Altimetry Era?
  • Lequan Chi,
  • Christopher Lee Pitt Wolfe,
  • Sultan Hameed
Lequan Chi
University of Georgia
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Christopher Lee Pitt Wolfe
Stony Brook University

Corresponding Author:[email protected]

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Sultan Hameed
Inst. for Terrestrial and Planetary Atmospheres
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The Gulf Stream is expected to slow and shift poleward over the next century due to climate change. We investigate whether such changes are already observable in the altimetric record (1993–2018) using along-track altimetry. Trends in latitude, speed, transport, and width are calculated in stream-following coordinates to avoid aliasing possible increases in variability into changes in the Stream’s intrinsic structure. Statistically significant trends are few and apparently randomly distributed. Further, small changes to the length of the record lead to large changes in the trends and their significance. These results indicate that the probability there have been systematic change in the properties considered is low. Assuming that there may be physical reasons for the trends, we estimate that 22–23 additional years of observations are required detect trends in latitude and transport, and 54 additional years for trends in speed for at least half of the altimetry tracks.