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Observed Flow Compensation Associated with the MOC at 26.5°N in the Atlantic

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Science  17 Aug 2007:
Vol. 317, Issue 5840, pp. 938-941
DOI: 10.1126/science.1141293

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Abstract

The Atlantic meridional overturning circulation (MOC), which provides one-quarter of the global meridional heat transport, is composed of a number of separate flow components. How changes in the strength of each of those components may affect that of the others has been unclear because of a lack of adequate data. We continuously observed the MOC at 26.5°N for 1 year using end-point measurements of density, bottom pressure, and ocean currents; cable measurements across the Straits of Florida; and wind stress. The different transport components largely compensate for each other, thus confirming the validity of our monitoring approach. The MOC varied over the period of observation by ±5.7 × 106 cubic meters per second, with density-inferred and wind-driven transports contributing equally to it. We find evidence for depth-independent compensation for the wind-driven surface flow.

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