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Oceanic pathways of an active Pacific Meridional Overturning Circulation (PMOC)

Matthew D. Thomas 1, * Alexey V. Fedorov 1, 2 Natalie J. Burls 3 Wei Liu 4 
* Corresponding author
2 VARCLIM - Océan et variabilité du climat
LOCEAN - Laboratoire d'Océanographie et du Climat : Expérimentations et Approches Numériques
Abstract : In contrast to the modern-day climate, North Pacific deep water formation and a Pacific meridional overturning circulation (PMOC) may have been active during past climate conditions, in particular during the Pliocene epoch (some 3–5 million years ago). Here, we use a climate model simulation with a robust PMOC cell to investigate the pathways of the North Pacific deep water from subduction to upwelling, as revealed by Lagrangian particle trajectories. We find that similar to the present-day Atlantic Meridional Overturning Circulation (AMOC), most subducted North Pacific deep water upwells in the Southern Ocean. However, roughly 15% upwells in the tropical Indo-Pacific Oceans instead—a key feature distinguishing the PMOC from the AMOC. The connection to the Indian Ocean is relatively fast, at about 250 years. The connection to the tropical Pacific is slower (∼800 years) as water first travels to the subtropical South Pacific then gradually upwells through the thermocline.
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Submitted on : Tuesday, August 9, 2022 - 2:14:59 PM
Last modification on : Wednesday, August 10, 2022 - 3:42:57 AM


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Matthew D. Thomas, Alexey V. Fedorov, Natalie J. Burls, Wei Liu. Oceanic pathways of an active Pacific Meridional Overturning Circulation (PMOC). Geophysical Research Letters, American Geophysical Union, 2021, 48 (10), pp.e2020GL091935. ⟨10.1029/2020gl091935⟩. ⟨hal-03279860⟩



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