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  1. Abstract

    The pathways and transports of Labrador Sea Water (LSW) within the southward‐flowing lower limb of the Atlantic Meridional Overturning Circulation are studied using 12 years of Argo profiles and subsurface Argo drift data. Consistent with previous studies, the results show clear evidence for interior pathways of LSW that separate from the western boundary near the Grand Banks and flow eastward and then southward around a large‐scale deep anticyclonic gyre in the northern subtropical Atlantic. Most of the LSW exported into the interior recirculates in the Newfoundland Basin (9.3 ± 3.5 Sv). However, approximately 3.2 ± 0.4 Sv cross the Mid‐Atlantic Ridge and flow southward east of the Azores. This branch feeds a westward quasi‐zonal pathway that recrosses the Ridge and returns to the western boundary around 30°N.

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    Abstract. The strength of the Atlantic meridional overturning circulation(AMOC) at 26∘ N has now been continuously measured by the RAPIDarray over the period April 2004–September 2018. This record provides uniqueinsight into the variability of the large-scale ocean circulation,previously only measured by sporadic snapshots of basin-wide transport fromhydrographic sections. The continuous measurements have unveiled strikingvariability on timescales of days to a decade, driven largely bywind forcing, contrasting with previous expectations about a slowly varyingbuoyancy-forced large-scale ocean circulation. However, these measurementswere primarily observed during a warm state of the Atlantic multidecadalvariability (AMV) which has been steadily declining since a peak in2008–2010. In 2013–2015, a period of strong buoyancy forcing by theatmosphere drove intense water-mass transformation in the subpolar NorthAtlantic and provides a unique opportunity to investigate the response ofthe large-scale ocean circulation to buoyancy forcing. Modelling studiessuggest that the AMOC in the subtropics responds to such events with anincrease in overturning transport, after a lag of 3–9 years. At45∘ N, observations suggest that the AMOC may already beincreasing. Examining 26∘ N, we find that the AMOC is no longerweakening, though the recent transport is not above the long-term mean.Extending the record backwards in time at 26∘ N with oceanreanalysis from GloSea5, the transport fluctuations at 26∘ N areconsistent with a 0- to 2-year lag from those at 45∘ N, albeit withlower magnitude. Given the short span of time and anticipated delays in thesignal from the subpolar to subtropical gyres, it is not yet possible todetermine whether the subtropical AMOC strength is recovering nor how theAMOC at 26∘ N responds to intense buoyancy forcing. 
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    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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    Abstract. From ten years of observations of the Atlantic meridional overturning circulation (MOC) at 26° N (2004–2014), we revisit the question of flow compensation between components of the circulation. Contrasting with early results from the observations, transport variations of the Florida Current (FC) and upper mid-ocean (UMO) transports (top 1000 m east of the Bahamas) are now found to compensate on sub-annual timescales. The observed compensation between the FC and UMO transports is associated with horizontal circulation and means that this part of the correlated variability does not project onto the MOC. A deep baroclinic response to wind-forcing (Ekman transport) is also found in the lower North Atlantic Deep Water (LNADW; 3000–5000 m) transport. In contrast, co-variability between Ekman and the LNADW transports does contribute to overturning. On longer timescales, the southward UMO transport has continued to strengthen, resulting in a continued decline of the MOC. Most of this interannual variability of the MOC can be traced to changes in isopycnal displacements on the western boundary, within the top 1000 m and below 2000 m. Substantial trends are observed in isopycnal displacements in the deep ocean, underscoring the importance of deep boundary measurements to capture the variability of the Atlantic MOC. 
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