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Ocean Science An interactive open-access journal of the European Geosciences Union
Ocean Sci. Discuss., 3, 1623-1635, 2006
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06 Oct 2006
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This discussion paper has been under review for the journal Ocean Science (OS). Please refer to the corresponding final paper in OS.
Towards measuring the meridional overturning circulation from space
D. Cromwell1, A. G. P. Shaw1, P. Challenor1, R. Houseago-Stokes1, and R. Tokmakian2
1Ocean Observations and Climate, National Oceanography Centre, Southampton (NOCS), UK
2Naval Postgraduate School, Monterey, California, USA

Abstract. We present a step towards measuring the meridional overturning circulation (MOC), i.e. the full-depth water mass transport, in the North Atlantic using satellite data. Using the Parallel Ocean Climate Model, we simulate satellite observations of ocean bottom pressure and sea surface height (SSH) over the 20-year period from 1979–1998, and use a linear model to estimate the MOC. As much as 93.5% of the variability in the smoothed transport is thereby explained. This increases to 98% when SSH and bottom pressure are first smoothed. We present initial studies of predicting the time evolution of the MOC, with promising results. It should be stressed that this is an initial step only, and that to produce an actual working system for measuring the MOC from space would require considerable future work.

Citation: Cromwell, D., Shaw, A. G. P., Challenor, P., Houseago-Stokes, R., and Tokmakian, R.: Towards measuring the meridional overturning circulation from space, Ocean Sci. Discuss., 3, 1623-1635, doi:10.5194/osd-3-1623-2006, 2006.
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