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.