Poleward shift of the major ocean gyres detected in a warming climate


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hu.yang [ at ] awi.de

Abstract

Recent evidence shows that wind‐driven ocean currents, like the western boundary currents, are strongly affected by global warming. However, due to insufficient observations both on temporal and spatial scales, the impact of climate change on large‐scale ocean gyres is still not clear. Here, based on satellite observations of sea surface height and sea surface temperature, we find a consistent poleward shift of the major ocean gyres. Due to strong natural variability, most of the observed ocean gyre shifts are not statistically significant, implying that natural variations may contribute to the observed trends. However, climate model simulations forced with increasing greenhouse gases suggest that the observed shift is most likely to be a response of global warming. The displacement of ocean gyres, which is coupled with the poleward shift of extratropical atmospheric circulation, has broad impacts on ocean heat transport, regional sea level rise, and coastal ocean circulation.



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ISI/Scopus peer-reviewed
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Published
Eprint ID
51601
DOI 10.1029/2019GL085868

Cite as
Yang, H. , Lohmann, G. , Krebs-Kanzow, U. , Ionita, M. , Shi, X. , Sidorenko, D. , Gong, X. , Chen, X. and Gowan, E. J. (2020): Poleward shift of the major ocean gyres detected in a warming climate , Geophysical Research Letters, 47 (5), e2019GL085868 . doi: 10.1029/2019GL085868


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