A Simple Conceptual Model for the Self-sustained Multidecadal AMOC Variability

Aug. 30, 2022

Multidecadal variability of Atlantic Meridional Overturning Circulation (AMOC) has been reconstructed by various proxies, simulated in climate models, and linked to multidecadal Arctic salinity variability. However, the mechanisms of the multidecadal AMOC variability and its two-way interaction with the Arctic salinity anomaly, as well as the factors affecting the periods and amplitudes of the multidecadal AMOC variability are not well understood from the theoretical perspective using simple conceptual models.

New research, led by AOS Graduate Student Xinyue Wei with Rong Zhang, an AOS faculty member, provides a fundamental understanding of the mechanism of the multidecadal AMOC variability. Using a conceptual model that is as simple as possible, this research provides a novel theoretical framework to understand the mechanisms of reconstructed and simulated multidecadal AMOC variability, its two-way interaction with the Arctic salinity variability, and the different variability periods simulated in climate models. This understanding will help to predict future variations in the AMOC and associated climatic, ecological, and economic impacts.

GFDL Research Highlight