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Overturning Pathways Control AMOC Weakening in CMIP6 Models
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  • Jonathan A. Baker,
  • Mike J. Bell,
  • Laura C. Jackson,
  • Richard Renshaw,
  • Geoffrey K. Vallis,
  • Andrew J. Watson,
  • Richard A. Wood
Jonathan A. Baker
Met Office

Corresponding Author:[email protected]

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Mike J. Bell
Met Office
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Laura C. Jackson
Met Office
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Richard Renshaw
Met Office
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Geoffrey K. Vallis
University of Exeter
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Andrew J. Watson
University of Exeter
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Richard A. Wood
Met Office
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Abstract

Future projections indicate the AMOC will weaken and shoal in response to global warming, but models disagree widely over the amount of weakening. We analyse projected AMOC weakening in 27 CMIP6 climate models, in terms of changes in three return pathways of the AMOC. The branch of the AMOC that returns through diffusive upwelling in the Indo-Pacific, but does not later upwell in the Southern Ocean, is particularly sensitive to warming, in part, because shallowing of the deep flow prevents it from entering the Indo-Pacific via the Southern Ocean. The present-day strength of this Indo-Pacific pathway provides a strong constraint on the projected AMOC weakening. However, estimates of this pathway using four observationally-based methods imply a wide range of AMOC weakening under the SSP5-8.5 scenario of 29% to 61% by 2100. Our results suggest that improved observational constraints on this pathway would substantially reduce uncertainty in 21st century AMOC decline.
24 Feb 2023Submitted to ESS Open Archive
27 Feb 2023Published in ESS Open Archive