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  1. Continuous measurements of the Atlantic meridional overturning circulation (AMOC) and meridional ocean heat transport at 26.5° N began in April 2004 and are currently available through December 2020. Approximately 90% of the total meridional heat transport (MHT) at 26.5° N is carried by the zonally averaged overturning circulation, and an even larger fraction of the heat transport variability (approx. 95%) is explained by the variability of the zonally averaged overturning. A physically based separation of the heat transport into large-scale AMOC, gyre and shallow wind-driven overturning components remains challenging and requires new investigations and approaches. We review the major interannual changes in the AMOC and MHT that have occurred over the nearly two decades of available observations and their documented impacts on North Atlantic heat content. Changes in the flow-weighted temperature of the Florida Current (Gulf Stream) over the past two decades are now taken into account in the estimates of MHT, and have led to an increased heat transport relative to the AMOC strength in recent years. Estimates of the MHT at 26.5° N from coupled models and various surface flux datasets still tend to show low biases relative to the observations, but indirect estimates based on residual methods (top of atmosphere net radiative flux minus atmospheric energy divergence) have shown recent promise in reproducing the heat transport and its interannual variability.This article is part of a discussion meeting issue ‘Atlantic overturning: new observations and challenges’. 
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    Free, publicly-accessible full text available December 11, 2024
  2. Abstract

    The system of oceanic flows constituting the Atlantic Meridional Overturning Circulation (AMOC) moves heat and other properties to the subpolar North Atlantic, controlling regional climate, weather, sea levels, and ecosystems. Climate models suggest a potential AMOC slowdown towards the end of this century due to anthropogenic forcing, accelerating coastal sea level rise along the western boundary and dramatically increasing flood risk. While direct observations of the AMOC are still too short to infer long-term trends, we show here that the AMOC-induced changes in gyre-scale heat content, superimposed on the global mean sea level rise, are already influencing the frequency of floods along the United States southeastern seaboard. We find that ocean heat convergence, being the primary driver for interannual sea level changes in the subtropical North Atlantic, has led to an exceptional gyre-scale warming and associated dynamic sea level rise since 2010, accounting for 30-50% of flood days in 2015-2020.

     
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    Free, publicly-accessible full text available December 1, 2024
  3. Free, publicly-accessible full text available September 1, 2024
  4. Abstract

    Detailed descriptions of microbial communities have lagged far behind physical and chemical measurements in the marine environment. Here, we present 971 globally distributed surface ocean metagenomes collected at high spatio-temporal resolution. Our low-cost metagenomic sequencing protocol produced 3.65 terabases of data, where the median number of base pairs per sample was 3.41 billion. The median distance between sampling stations was 26 km. The metagenomic libraries described here were collected as a part of a biological initiative for the Global Ocean Ship-based Hydrographic Investigations Program, or “Bio-GO-SHIP.” One of the primary aims of GO-SHIP is to produce high spatial and vertical resolution measurements of key state variables to directly quantify climate change impacts on ocean environments. By similarly collecting marine metagenomes at high spatiotemporal resolution, we expect that this dataset will help answer questions about the link between microbial communities and biogeochemical fluxes in a changing ocean.

     
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  5. null (Ed.)
    The Mediterranean Sea can be viewed as a “barometer” of the North Atlantic Ocean, because its sea level responds to oceanic-gyre-scale changes in atmospheric pressure and wind forcing, related to the North Atlantic Oscillation (NAO). The climate of the North Atlantic is influenced by the Atlantic meridional overturning circulation (AMOC) as it transports heat from the South Atlantic toward the subpolar North Atlantic. This study reports on a teleconnection between the AMOC transport measured at 26.5°N and the Mediterranean Sea level during 2004–17: a reduced/increased AMOC transport is associated with a higher/lower sea level in the Mediterranean. Processes responsible for this teleconnection are analyzed in detail using available satellite and in situ observations and an atmospheric reanalysis. First, it is shown that on monthly to interannual time scales the AMOC and sea level are both driven by similar NAO-like atmospheric circulation patterns. During a positive/negative NAO state, stronger/weaker trade winds (i) drive northward/southward anomalies of Ekman transport across 26.5°N that directly affect the AMOC and (ii) are associated with westward/eastward winds over the Strait of Gibraltar that force water to flow out of/into the Mediterranean Sea and thus change its average sea level. Second, it is demonstrated that interannual changes in the AMOC transport can lead to thermosteric sea level anomalies near the North Atlantic eastern boundary. These anomalies can (i) reach the Strait of Gibraltar and cause sea level changes in the Mediterranean Sea and (ii) represent a mechanism for negative feedback on the AMOC. 
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  6. Lumpkin, Rick (Ed.)