25. Nov. 2010, 16:15 Uhr, Gebäude NW1, Raum H3
On the asymmetry of the present ocean circulation
Dr. Anna von der Heydt, Institute for Marine and Atmospheric Research, Utrecht University
Open ocean convection is forced from above by the atmospheric buoyancy flux. In the present climate, deep convection occurs only in very localized areas in the Atlantic. These convective areas feed the global meridional overturning circulation of the ocean, which is responsible for about half of the equator-to-pole heat transport in the global climate system. In this talk, we investigate using ocean model studies to what extent the location of the convection regions in the world ocean depend on (i) the continental geometry and (ii) the surface buoyancy forcing. During the last 35 million years, various ocean gateways have opened and closed, thereby influencing the exchange of heat and salt between the different ocean basins. We expect, therefore, different patterns of the meridional overturning circulation to have existed with strong implications for climate.