The transient response of the Atlantic Meridional Overturning Circulation (AMOC) to a deglacial ice-sheet retreat is studied using the Community Climate System Model version 3 (CCSM3), with a focus on orographic effects rather than meltwater discharge. It is found that the AMOC weakens significantly (41%) in response to the deglacial ice-sheet retreat. The AMOC weakening follows the decrease of the Northern Hemisphere ice-sheet volume linearly, with no evidence of abrupt thresholds. A wind-driven mechanism is proposed to explain the weakening of the AMOC: lowering the Northern Hemisphere ice sheets induces a northward shift of the westerlies, which causes a rapid eastward sea-ice transport and expanded sea-ice cover over the subpolar North Atlantic; this expanded sea ice insulates the ocean from heat loss and leads to suppressed deep convection and a weakened AMOC. A sea ice-ocean positive feedback could be further established between the AMOC decrease and sea-ice expansion.
AWI Organizations > Graduate Research Schools > POLMAR
Helmholtz Research Programs > PACES II (2014-2018) > TOPIC 3: The earth system from a polar perspective > WP 3.2: Earth system on tectonic time scales: From greenhouse to icehouse world