Ocean circulation response to anthropogenic aerosol and greenhouse gas forcing in the CSIRO-Mk3.6 climate model

M Collier, L Rotstayn, K-Y Kim, A Hirst, S Jeffrey
2013 Australian Meteorological and Oceanographic Journal  
We use the CSIRO-Mk3.6 coupled climate model to examine the impact of anthropogenic aerosols (AAs) and long-lived greenhouse gases (GHGs) on aspects of the global ocean circulation. Focusing on the second half of the twentieth century, we compare multiple ten member ensembles of historical climate change, which are forced by different combinations of forcing agents; these different simulations enable us to separately diagnose the effects of changes in AAs and GHGs. We also compare ten member
more » ... mpare ten member 21st century ensembles driven by Representative Concentration Pathways 4.5 (RCP4.5) and 8.5 (RCP8.5). To a large degree the pattern of change in the oceans due to the impact of AAs is similar to the effect of increasing GHGs, but of opposite sign. The Atlantic Meridional Overturning Circulation (and associated North Atlantic Deep Water formation) strengthens in response to historical changes in AAs but weakens in response to increasing GHGs. Similarly, the Indonesian Throughflow strengthens in response to AAs, and weakens in response to increasing GHGs. The Drake Passage Transport, however, shows a small weakening (strengthening) due to historical changes in AAs (GHGs) in the ensemble mean. The change in the Drake Passage Transport is much clearer in the 21st century, in which it increases strongly in response to increasing GHGs and decreasing AAs in both RCP4.5 and RCP8.5. The results suggests that without the influence of AAs, changes in ocean circulation would have already followed a path much more like one dominated by increasing GHGs. Considering that the AA levels are expected to decrease during the next few decades, the effects of increasing GHGs on ocean circulation will be amplified accordingly.
doi:10.22499/2.6301.003 fatcat:eg4vmb36gfew3lq4r6gw5wg32e