Multiyear Prediction of Monthly Mean Atlantic Meridional Overturning Circulation at 26.5°N

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Science  06 Jan 2012:
Vol. 335, Issue 6064, pp. 76-79
DOI: 10.1126/science.1210299

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Attempts to predict changes in Atlantic Meridional Overturning Circulation (AMOC) have yielded little success to date. Here, we demonstrate predictability for monthly mean AMOC strength at 26.5°N for up to 4 years in advance. This AMOC predictive skill arises predominantly from the basin-wide upper-mid-ocean geostrophic transport, which in turn can be predicted because we have skill in predicting the upper-ocean zonal density difference. Ensemble forecasts initialized between January 2008 and January 2011 indicate a stable AMOC at 26.5°N until at least 2014, despite a brief wind-induced weakening in 2010. Because AMOC influences many aspects of climate, our results establish AMOC as an important potential carrier of climate predictability.

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